I wondered if it is appropriate to ask on mathematica stack exchange a question about what they think about the ergonomy of mathematica in comparison to other softwars (matlab etc).

Because I find mathematica very unfriendly in comparison of everything I learnt but I would have to have other point of view to understand if it is just a question of what languages/software experienced before.

  • 8
    You can ask on community.wolfram.com but provide an explanation why do you think so. Here such question would be closed as 'too broad', 'opinion based'.
    – Kuba Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 11:24
  • I think how you would phrase the question is critical depending on what you really want to know. For example, if I were to move to France from the US and found things very different (as they seem to have a different word for everything - to copy a joke from the comedian Steve Martin), I don't think I'd immediately blame the French for making things difficult. I hear such questions all the time from folks who originally learned SAS and are now trying to use R (and vice versa). It might be less about the software and more about the user.
    – JimB
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 13:52
  • In fact I found mathematica seriously lack of basic and simple tools. You have to write a line of code for everything (for example graphs don't come by default with zoom tools, bars). To write a multiline function you have to write a Module (it is not natural), there is no possibility to split screen, to select multiple cells you have to precisely select the bracket on the right, you can't "simply" select the code with the mouse, the debugger is not very efficient yet etc (I have a lot of other examples). I wanted to know if I am the only one to think this or not
    – StarBucK
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 14:20
  • 4
    @StarBucK Your comment shows some of the problem with the breadth of the question. -- BTW: There are zoom tools for graphics (key modifiers + drag). You can write a multiline (CompoundExpression[]) function with parentheses, which is more natural as it is a question of syntax. (For instance, in C, you cannot write a multiline function without braces; in Python you have def & newline/DEDENT delimiters....). [There are problems, of course, but I thought you'd like to know about out these tricks.]
    – Michael E2
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 15:28
  • I'm wondering what the real question is. Because, what would it matter to you what I think about Mathematica?: "What do you think about Mathematica?" - "It's great." You already asked about the multilining, but the syntax feels unnatural to you.
    – Karsten7
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 8:46
  • I think it could be interesting to discus the pro & cons (+ ways around the cons) in chat from the perspectives of other languages, but it would only matter if there are opportunities for real takeaways.
    – Karsten7
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 8:49
  • You might find the FAST INTRODUCTION FOR PROGRAMMERS helpful. It is available in multiple languages and has notes for users of other languages (currently Java and Python).
    – Karsten7
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 10:13
  • Ok I'll try the chat. But the answers here made me figure out that indeed it is probably more a question of habit so I will be more patient. I was used to matlab,C++ (and php even if it is not for the same purpose at all). I figure out that mathematica has'nt the same philosophy than these languages (Matlab and C++ are different but in fact I found easy to pass from C++ to matlab whereas I am struggling from c++/matlab to mathematica)
    – StarBucK
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 15:38
  • But I still think that for display purpose, like graphs, matlab is way simpler (when you plot smthing you already have a lot of tools in the menu to zoom, put cursors etc without writing a single line of code).
    – StarBucK
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 15:41
  • In Mathematica we solve problems writing short programs that can be re-evaluated in order to recreate your work. Initially it may be more work than pointing an clicking here an there but it is less work if you need to do it again, and again. The short programs are documented in notebooks that allow someone to easily reconstruct the steps taken to solve a problem. Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


I believe that the Mathematica chat room is the appropriate place to discuss your concerns.

As Kuba noted your question is both too broad and opinion based, two canonical reasons to close a Question.

I think that Wolfram Community cannot be expected to be nonpartisan so I wouldn't personally ask such questions there.


How user-friendly any particular part of Mathematica appears to any particular new user is intimately bound up with the previous programming experience of that user. That means the kind of question you are proposing will get very different answers from users with different backgrounds. Thus, such a question would have to be closed as "opinion based".

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