14

What other Wolfram Research products are relevant to the scope of this site? Can we talk about Workbench issues - quite closely related to Mathematica, or something like the Wolfram Alpha API - less so. Where do we draw the line? (Or is it safe to ask about all WRI products?)

19

My take on this is that the site should:

  • exclude Wolfram|Alpha the web site, the Wolfram|Alpha API and the Wolfram|Alpha apps on iOS and Android, but
  • include Mathematica, [added] gridMathematica, Wolfram Workbench, Player Pro, CDF format and the CDF Player, and
  • include questions about using the WolframAlpha[] functionality inside Mathematica

I think webMathematica should also be excluded, except where the questions relate to Mathematica-specific functionality in that product.

  • even configuration questions for webMathematica? What about gridMathematica? – rcollyer Jan 20 '12 at 2:10
  • good point - gridMathematica I would include, but there are things about webMathematica that aren't really Mathematica but webserver or JSP, which belong on ServerFault or StackOverflow respectively. – Verbeia Jan 20 '12 at 2:13
  • that's livable. – rcollyer Jan 20 '12 at 2:16
  • should include webMathematica while we are at it @Verbeia – R Hall Mar 16 '12 at 14:06
14

If this is a request for opinions, I can offer mine. I would prefer we restrict this to mathematica (and the workbench as an IDE that supports it). Wolfram Alpha questions that relate to interfacing mathematica to it would also be perfectly fine.

I am, however, not much in favour of answers like "ask Wolfram Alpha", even if they really do answer the question (and are clearly made in a constructive spirit) like here. Note that I have absolutely nothing against the person answering or the method he proposes, however, I believe this is not a good direction to go towards if we want to discuss mathematica. It's like asking "how do I do this integral numerically in mathematica" and being told "the answer is on page X of Gradshteyn and Ryzhik" (I appreciate that others may think this is a perfectly valid answer, but I do not).

I have not thought much as to whether it would make sense to include other Wolfram products (questions on interfacing them to or driving them from mathematica clearly should be allowed, though).

I must admit that I suspect I am in a minority here, but that is my opinion.

  • 3
    +1, I agree mostly that this site should be restricted to Mathematica-related things. If anything about WolframAlpha is allowed, then someone might ask "How do I use the WolframAlpha API from JavaScript or Python?", which I think should be completely off topic. Similarly, questions about what to enter into WA to get some result should be off topic. – Szabolcs Jan 19 '12 at 14:48
  • 4
    But I'd like to note that since WA is so tightly integrated with Mma, to a question like "What function computes X in Mma" I think an answer like "You can use the WolframAlpha[] function like so and so" is a useful answer. WA is not that general, so it won't solve most tasks anyway. – Szabolcs Jan 19 '12 at 14:50
3

I vote yes.

Any Wolfram product that uses Mathematica (which is basically all of them) should be fair game.

Actually, questions about any product that uses Mathematica should be allowed. Provided the question is focused on a Mathematica aspect of that product or is directly useful to Mathematica users (such as questions about how to use Workbench).

  • 3
    Wouldn't it be better to say, "any Wolfram product that Mathematica can use?" :-) The WA API (as used from e.g. JavaScript) really isn't something that I'd like to see questions about. Also, we never know what WRI will come up with in the future, and perhaps it's better to avoid the impression that this is a Wolfram forum. This should be a Mathematica forum. – Szabolcs Jan 19 '12 at 17:02
  • 1
    Looking back at some old products, would CalculationCenter or Publicon have been on topic? – Brett Champion Jan 19 '12 at 19:27
  • @BrettChampion I would think so – Verbeia Jan 19 '12 at 22:08
  • @Szabolcs: That sounds reasonable... – Simon Jan 19 '12 at 22:26
2

I understand the initial sentiment towards excluding W|A the website, particularly as this might naturally lead to questions about web technologies like JavaScript and such. In practice, however, these products are closely linked and will only become more so.

Folks have obviously mentioned the WolframAlpha command in Mathematica. But a full understanding of the WolframAlpha command requires knowledge of the W|A API used by both the website and Mathematica. What, for example, are pods and how do you extract the results of a specific pod? Likewise, use of the website is becoming more closely linked to Mathematica. Note the CDF button in the upper right corner of the website, for example. Enabling this, causes the website output to be rendered in CDF using Mathematica or CDF Player.

Looking back, I remember when the *Data functions arrived in V6 from 2006. I liked them right away, but they seemed absurdly broad at the time. In hindsight, it seems clear that this was just a step towards making data easily available for Wolfram|Alpha. Thus, the fact is, these products really are strongly linked.

  • 1
    It doesn't matter if they are strongly linked from the Wolfram perspective. This site is not for Wolfram, but for the users of Mathematica. Therefore the only relevant question is: Is the information relevant for using Mathematica? – celtschk Feb 9 '12 at 23:00
  • @celtschk Good point. Of course, the answer is virtually always yes. As a teacher of mathematics, I frequently try to hook students by asking, how might a command like Integrate work? Given that WolframAlpha is basically a huge Mathematica package linked to the internet via webMathematica, the same question arises for really any Alpha query. – Mark McClure Feb 10 '12 at 1:51

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