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newRPL - Ideas for "graphical" programming of math problems
04-30-2021, 09:16 PM
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RE: newRPL - Ideas for "graphical" programming of math problems
(04-27-2021 04:11 PM)vanLudwig Wrote:  Have you seen the macro mode in Acron RPN Calculator? That's how I solved the same problem. It's not as powerful as a programmable calculator, but not so intimidating for average users.

It's an interesting take, but it seems to only allow you to replace constants and variables in a formula without re-typing it. I'm looking for something more along the lines of organizing the inputs to a problem, organizing the formulae and code needed to solve the problem, and organizing the solutions presented. A more 'human" way to code FORMS.

I think we can take a few hints from the HP Prime too, actually. For example the "Inference" app has 3 "Views". The Symbolic and Numeric view both make the user either select or provide some form of input variables (I consider the "method to use" also a variable of the problem here, for example). Then there's the "Calc" screen in the numeric View that presents some output and some other graphical output is presented in the Plot View.

I don't like the organization too much, to me it seems quite chaotic to find some results in one place, the graphic in a different place, some inputs in another place, etc.
In my opinion there should be 3 sections (views?): input data, solution, output. Solution would show you formulae and step by step resolution (for students, and also professionals that need to generate human readable output for others to review). In most cases you are interested in the final number, and you can skip to output.

But there's some concepts that are worth looking at on this "Inference" app of the Prime:

* One variable per row: We have vertical lists of items, each taking the whole width of the screen. It shows variable name on the left, a value on the right. For newRPL I'd like value on the center, units on the right for example. I like this organization, seems very clean.
* One "status line" at the bottom with a description of each line, displayed only when the user highlights this line.
* Some inputs are numeric variables, but some are selection lists, check boxes, etc. This is very flexible but it's really all the same: one variable taking a number with the index of the selection, or 1/0 if it's checked or not, just presented to the user with a different "look" in the UI.
* Each row/variable has a type (data validation), but it accepts flexible input, so if I want to enter a formula based on another variable I'm allowed to. For example in the same inference App I have to enter an integer for 'n' but I have a variable N with the value 10, I'm allowed to type N/2 as input. For newRPL, I'd like to accept the formula AND keep it as symbolic, only evaluating to a numeric type when it's time to recalculate. For example, if I type on the Prime N/2, the input variable n becomes 5 instantly. I'd like to keep the 'N/2' formula, so that if I change N=8, n would automatically recalculate as N/2=4.

Looking back to the Acron calculator macro mode you suggested, it seems a simplified "keystroke" version of what we see on the Prime, where you have a one-liner and change the inputs, while you see the outputs immediately displayed on the same row. This is quick to type and almost the same (as long as your whole problem is a single formula), but doesn't really allow you to package and publish that as an application.
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RE: newRPL - Ideas for "graphical" programming of math problems - Claudio L. - 04-30-2021 09:16 PM

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