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New Feature requests

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New Feature requests

I'm going to start a new thread, because lots of the stuff that is going into Explicit Units has nothing to do with explicit units, or any other units. In Stuart's most recent list of feature requests, I saw some things that we are working on (UI stuff too, it just takes longer), and some things that I hadn't heard before, like a vector product operator. I wasn't aware that anyone cared about this.

So maybe we can open up a new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all. Note that this is not a promise to build anything, or to build it in any particular order. That is a function of staffing, length of development time required for any particular feature, requests from other user constituencies, general market trends, and interoperability requirements with other PTC products. But at least we can be sure we've got the same list.

So maybe it's time to remake the list, which I've been stockpiling for several years now.

Leslie Bondaryk
Technical Product Manager
PTC
41 REPLIES 41
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New Feature requests

On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
== I'm going to start a new thread, because lots of the stuff that is going into Explicit Units has nothing to do with explicit units, or any other units. In Stuart's most recent list of feature requests, I saw some things that we are working on (UI stuff too, it just takes longer),
== So maybe we can open up a new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all. Note that this is not a promise to build anything, or to build it in any particular order. That is a function of staffing, length of development time required for any particular feature, requests from other user constituencies, general market trends, and interoperability requirements with other PTC products. But at least we can be sure we've got the same list.
== So maybe it's time to remake the list, which I've been stockpiling for several years now

Excellent Idea!

The problem with such a thread, though, is that it is likely to get difficult to follow (just look at some of the examples in the Midgard Feature Suggestions Forum).

Can I propose that (swiftly taking 2 steps back) someone publishes an up-to-date list of the suggestions and makes that list available (eg, an Excel workbook linked to a message in Announcements (where it won't be 'hidden'))?

As an input to your decision making process, perhaps we could have some means of indicating our personal priorities (top 5, say)?

== and some things that I hadn't heard before, like a vector product operator. I wasn't aware that anyone cared about this.

Sure, I've used it a few worksheets. The top of the head example that comes to mind is in my MDA Library, where I use it to calculate the size of an MDA from its shape vector. Oh, and a couple of number theoretic worksheets. (I've defined it at the top of my standard vector utility area.)

Stuart
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Re: New Feature requests

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Re: New Feature requests

I support Stuart's statement that there should be in the Announcements a thread which has, as an attachment, the list of recieved requests.

This way we can see what requests have been recieved. I know I made a load during the various betas but it's not clear if they have been
'considered and forgotten' or
'considered and deferred' or hopefully,
'considered and being worked actively'.

I would expect that it would be split over a few excell sheet based on what type of feature was being requested.

It will be important to capture the need, rather than a particular solution style (see the confounding of issues in the Explicit Units thread!)

Philip Oakley
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Re: New Feature requests

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Re: New Feature requests

On 7/3/2007 6:53:56 AM, Ted Diehl wrote:
== 3.) For all the file wrting methods, I want an argument (preferred), or other ability, to set a "property" such that the function will NOT write out to a file if it already exists (default is "no overwrite"). Yes, I need the ability to override the property to overwrite the file when I want it to do that.

As an addendum, system file manipulation / information functions would be useful, eg fileDelete, fileRename, fileExists.

I get round Ted's problem in a couple of ways:

1. define the case number at the start of the calcs and construct the file name from that; in Ted's case, that would be the first thing I'd change so the new results would not overwrite the 'case 1'. However, it would still overwrite an existing case 2.

2. write a component that checks for existence. I often use this with a bit of code to auto-create the new file name(eg, strip off number, increment number, add new number back).

That's not to say that there is no need for Ted's request, as that would often better suit the user. However, the addition of these facilities allows more flexibility in dealing with already extant files.

Stuart
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Re: New Feature requests

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Re: New Feature requests


>3.) For all the file wrting
>methods, I want an argument
>(preferred), or
>other ability, to set a
>"property" such that the
>function will NOT write out
>to a file if it already exists
>(default is "no overwrite").
>Yes, I need the
>ability to override the
>property to overwrite the file
>when I want it to do
>that.
>Reason for need: You have a
>typical doc with some calcs
>and below those a a
>file writing method (WRITEPRN,
>or a data File Output icon
>thingy). You use
>the doc once, and write out a
>file called "case1.out". Now
>you go up to the
>top and change a few numbers
>for "case2" and then scroll
>back down to the
>file writing section.
>Unfortunately, Mathcad has now
>Overwritten case1.out
>with the case2 data. Not
>knowing this, the user changes
>the file name to
>case2.out and lets Mathcad
>output the data. The user
>continues this
>adventure for say 10 cases.
>Problem, the output files are
>shifted as
>follows:
>case1.out has case2 results
>case2.out has case3 results
>etc.
>but the last case is correct.
>casen.out has casen results.
>Current workaround: User has
>to actively disable writing
>methods to avoid
>this - they have to be taught
>this. Many newbies get burned
>by this
>behavior.

The attached worksheet shows how to use a button to prevent files being written to disk automatically when the worksheet is edited.

The spline functions are from Tom. The get folder button is a Xavier creation. The spline routines and all the components (including the write files button, the component for saving the state of controls, and the file list button) have been posted to the Collaboratory, so they can be distributed or used without upsetting anyone. Please do NOT distribute the worksheet outside of this group.

It would be easy to write another function using a scripted component, that would check for the existence of files. I'm really busy at the moment though, so it will have to wait.

Richard

ADDENDUM:
Damn! I meant to change the path at the top of the file, and forgot. I just edited and reposted it, but could anyone that got the first version please delete that path and forget they saw it.

Thanks
Richard
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Re: New Feature requests

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I agree with your points. I offered this as a better-than-nothing solution. If the problem is ease of use of a worksheet that is written by a well versed Mathcadder, but used by a newbie, this is a solution. If the problem is ease of writing a worksheet for a newbie, it is certainly not a solution.

Scripting is useful, and has it's place. I have to say though, that all too often I use it as a work around for something that is lacking in Mathcad (good examples are better string handling functions, and better file handling functions). The right solution is to put this stuff in Mathcad, but until then....

Richard
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WRITE and READ.
Ted Diehl asked for better write and read options that can be
programmed and not overwrite existing files without consent. I would
like to endorse his request as I use experimental data in a similar
way and generate files, including WAV files to be used in signal
generators for testing.
I have been through the same problems :-\.
Mike.

Mike McCann.
Please record and use mjmccann@iee.org for replies
1 302 654-2953
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New Feature requests

Along side the Read/Write problem is the need to be able to iterate a whole section of a work sheet, without resorting to putting everything into a programme.

In some sense it would be like the workaround using FRAME to bacthc up a set of calculations, but should be more texturally obvious and fit the 'printed page' text book analogy.

It should avoid any pretention at being a "subroutine", though it could be an "algorithm block" (i.e the jargon of maths, not the jargon of software).

This would allow a vector (or matrix) of results to be filled from multiple passes through the algorithm block.

Within the algorithm block only the most recent result set would be available.

One way of thinking would be to: (a) use the Area construct to create the block and (b) make the Area indexable, that is, an index variable is associated with the Area, and then is used to indicate those places where the current value is utilised. FRAME is the index variable for an animation area.

a simple example would be to do a Gaussian eliminatation sheet, for a large M x N matrix, without resorting to a programme.

Philip Oakley
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New Feature requests

In Gaussian Elimination we need row extraction - another for the feature list.

Philip Oakley
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New Feature requests

I'd like a 'Magic Area' at the top of the sheet which would neatly show all the 'in use' Built in Constant values, etc.

That is, it would document the values Mathcad had used. It only shows built in variables etc. actually used in the worksheet.

And it can be both invisible (as present) or made visible (the request).

For fancyness the area could have check boxes for selecting units, constants, variables, functions for display 😉

This would be part of the self documenting capability of mathcad.

Philip Oakley
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New Feature requests - Format attribute setting

On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
== So maybe we can open up a new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all.

Re: On 7/6/2007 4:23:10 PM, Tom Gutman wrote:
== ... If a particular result has had its own format result applied, then it gets the zero tolerance (along with all other parameters) from that set of parameters. If it hasn't had a specific format result applied, it gets the zero tolerance (along with all other parameters) from the default format results, automatically picking up any changes.

Suggested Feature change:

Modify results formatting so that a user can change a single-attribute only, without setting all of the other attributes on the dialog to whatever is in force at the time.

ie, if I change a single region numeric format to 4 digits, that is all I want to change. If I change a global for other attributes at some later stage, I would like the 'modified' region to pick up the new global setting unless I have also actively set that attribute at some other time.

This has been something that's annoyed me on and off for some time.

Stuart
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New Feature requests - significant digits

On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
== new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all.

Add significant digits option to result format.

Request history:

http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?21175,12e#21175
http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?38609,11
http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?97103,12e#97103 (*)
http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?100098,77e#100098

Stuart

(*) this thread is missing some of the original messages, as one of the 'Collabs' (no names, no pack drill, n'est pas?) has seemingly deleted some of his responses.
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New Feature requests

On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
== new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all.

Here's a summary of some feature requests, in no particular order ...

Stuart

add plot component programming interface:
... allow component to return complete parameter set (eg, as one nested array or by specific functions)
... allow user to programmatically set parameters (eg, pass back complete parameter set or by specific function)
... add capability to return plot image
... add capability to return plot data (eg, surface co-ordinates)
... see threads:
http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?94485,12 (worksheet shows potential for enhancement using (undocumented) 3D plot component to set titles, define axes, etc)
http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?58646,12 (original request)

add multi-dimensional array capability, should:
... support hyper-rectangular arrays
... provide ragged nested array index support
... have an empty array
... support tensor operations
... should support tensor notation (eg superscript)
... accept string input and provide string output of array values (for example of this see http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?74389,11 )

add set support (eg, array to set, set inclusion, set join)

provide mnemonic names for functions defined as operators (eg, '+' available as 'add')

enhance definition and display capability:
... provide keyboard shortcuts for prefix, infix, postfix and tree operators
... allow user to replace standard operator symbols with other function names (eg, 2+3 could become 2 div 3)
... allow tree display of nested vectors
... convert expression between Mathcad and 'standard' programming string (eg, MuPad, Excel or C)

enhance symbolic capability:
... allow deferred evaluation (useful for passing expressions to functions rather than trying to evaluate them first)
... allow user to create names programmatically (eg, string to variable, so could write a:=3, b:=4, c:=a+var("b"), where var provides the conversion)

allow direct access to region properties (including values)
see thread starting at message http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?66893,77

provide multiple views onto a worksheet (eg, similar to MS Excel's multiple windows or split view (top/bottom)

provide automatic region numbering schemes (eg, global paragraph numbering, equation/figure/table numbering)

allow programmatic access to a component's script (both read and write)

allow direct means of viewing a component's script (ie, without opening it)

provide symbol concordance

(to support the latter 2 features, provide a view onto the worksheet that lists all 'hidden' attributes (such as ORIGIN, TOL or default result settings)

improve page breaks to avoid splitting text over a page break (particularly wrt programs)

provide rectangular area / sub-worksheet capability

ability to extend Mathcad by adding worksheets / e-books as libraries in a similar way to extension packs, rather than having to 'include' them.

provide programmatical control of animation (in addition to the clunky and ancient dialog method)

add subvector function to complement submatrix (I use my subvector implementation fairly frequently)

add 'sequences' as a proper data type that the user can define outside of a for-loop definition and can use in place of a range (as a range is a sub-type of a sequence).

formalize and make available the Mathsoft Programming Language.
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New Feature requests


Allow saving of worksheets without replicating all the data in them.

Example problem: Yesterday, a client gave me a 15.3MB data file from
a test run. I pulled it in to MC14 (Insert>Data>FileInput). I didn't
use any special MC12,13 or 14 features and, knowing how big the
resulting file would be and how slow the MC14 "XMCDZ" save process
would be, I saved it as MC11. The MC11 file is about 30kB.

It loads the data from the data file as needed. I see no purpose in
storing all the data with the file as it gets overwritten anyway on next use.

Extra Problem: Just in case I had trouble with the MC11 version, I
tried a save as XMCDZ (MC14). After clogging up my machine for a
while it failed to save. So... please fix that too for the people
who want to make pointlessly massive MC files..

Mike.

Dr Michael J. McCann, Date: 2007.07.11 10:44gmt
BSc(Eng), DIC, PhD, CEng, FIEE.
McCann Science.
Tel: +1 302 654-2953 (Land line)
Fax: +1 302 429-9458
Mobile: +1 302 377-1508 (in USA)
Mobile: +44 (0)7876 184538 (if in a GSM zone)
Email: mjmccann@iee.org
W: //www.mccannscience.com/
POB 902, Chadds Ford PA 19317 USA.
"Practical solutions to problems in business, engineering and science
through quantified analysis."
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New Feature requests

On 7/11/2007 6:51:01 AM, Michael J McCann wrote:
== Allow saving of worksheets without replicating all the data in them.
== Example problem: Yesterday, a client gave me a 15.3MB data file from a test run. I pulled it in to MC14 (Insert>Data>FileInput). I didn't use any special MC12,13 or 14 features and, knowing how big the resulting file would be and how slow the MC14 "XMCDZ" save process would be, I saved it as MC11. The MC11 file is about 30kB.

Mike,

I think there may be an option already not to save large amounts of data. Unfortunately, I can't remember where you set it (try Properties or maybe a flag in SaveAs).

Stuart
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RE: New Feature requests

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New Feature requests

On 7/10/2007 6:22:15 PM, Stuart Bruff wrote:
== On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
== new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all.
>>Here's a summary of some feature requests, in no particular order ...

Here's a few more ...

Stuart

allow user to set any attributes that are common to a set of selected regions (eg, style for text regions)

allow user to select all regions that match a given search criteria (eg, have the same variable)

allow user to search for any (possibly styled) expression and replace it with another (possibly styled) expression (eg, look for "{user1}a+{user2}b" and replace it with "{normal}array1[2*sin({user7}x)"

provide user-assignable toolbar
provide user-assignable keyboard shortcuts

implement Mersenne Twister random number generator

limit scope of vectorization operator to evaluated arguments (eg, {vectorize} sin(A*B)*cos(C*D){/vectorize} should evaluate the two trig expressions before applying the vectorize rather than vectorizing A*B and C*D before multiplying the results of sin and cos)

allow 2D plot to plot an array as if it were a collection of individual (column) vectors (ie, each column would be a different trace)

when saving a worksheet in a previous version, highlight potential incompatibilities
when loading a worksheet saved in a previous version, highlight potential incompatibilities

allow user to create components (including plots) in xml (to aid auto-creation / modification of worksheets)

improve wrapping of long expressions (including symbolic results)

provide separate Help and Quicksheet windows

add magnitude/angle form for complex numbers
to result format menu and as an input option

create simple 'Mathcad text input language' and add an eval function to evaluate (or convert to standard region) such expressions; see threads http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?88721,11 and http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?88333,12

formally add state-preserving variables to Mathcad (at least in functions, useful for building up lists without having to recalculate all previous entries (eg, streams))

provide ability to apply a different template to a worksheet (eg, apply new header/footer, redefine styles).
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New Feature requests

I'd still like the symbolic engine to be able to be directed to do equation manipulation, so that the equation gets into the right form before a solve is requested. (e.g. 'add x to both sides, then divide through by y')

It would also allow users to have expressions on both sides of an equals to get started, as they try to do this quite often.

Philip Oakley
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New Feature requests

This is a problem because of the overloading of the = operator. Sometimes it is a test for equality, to be evaluated to a value, sometimes it is the assertion of an equality, an equation. For an equation just about all operators should distribute, applying separately to each side of the equation. But there is no way to tell Mathcad that an equality is being used to create an equation, there are a few specific contexts in which it is interpreted as such, otherwise it is taken as the predicate.

But if you are going to use the solve keyword there is not much point to manipulating the equation first. The solution will be the same. Indeed, that is the point to the manipulations -- to generate a sequence of equations all of which have the same solution(s), and where the solution to the last of them is obvious. If you have a tool that extracts the solution no matter what the form, there is little point to generating a different form.

� � � � Tom Gutman
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New Feature requests

On 7/14/2007 4:16:03 PM, Tom Gutman wrote:
..
>But if you are going to use
>the solve keyword there is not
>much point to manipulating the
>equation first. The solution
>will be the same. Indeed,
>that is the point to the
>manipulations -- to generate a
>sequence of equations all of
>which have the same
>solution(s), and where the
>solution to the last of them
>is obvious. If you have a
>tool that extracts the
>solution no matter what the
>form, there is little point to
>generating a different form.

Part of the problem is that mathcad doesn't generate a visible sequence of equations during the solve, and certainly not a sequence that normally be recognised by many typical users.

The user need is to actually see and control the sequence of resulting equations so as to present a case within a report. The final step may be a solve, but in some cases it could be that a suitable functional solution has been obtained that a numeric computation can then be performed (i.e its says to the reader, I've shown you the derivation, now 'code this').

The purpose (of my request) is to ensure that the derivation is correctly performed and avoid silly user errors of substitution and the like.

Also in some cases the solver can't find its way to a solution from the starting point (e.g. having to include an extra 'collect' on an irrelevant expression to ensure that it is cancelled out)

Philip
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New Feature requests

On 7/10/2007 6:22:15 PM, Stuart Bruff wrote:
== On 7/2/2007 10:31:07 AM, Leslie Bondaryk wrote:
== new thread for feature requests, to make sure we've heard them all.
>>Here's a summary of some feature requests, in no particular order ...

Here's another ...

Allow users to disable warnings on a worksheet rather than global basis.

See Mundane thread: http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?97003,12e#97003

Stuart
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New Feature requests

I was going to make a list - like what Stuart has started, but I think we need another place to make this list or else this thread will be ugly in a short while.
Can't you set up a web page or a share point document with a table where we all can add items and comment on the already mentioned.

I still believe the top priority to be updating the GUI, though I have several issues in other areas. The latest I have banged into is that the vector field plot is completely useless.

Steen Gro�e
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New Feature requests

On 7/11/2007 10:21:17 AM, Steen Grode wrote:
== I was going to make a list - like what Stuart has started, but I think we need another place to make this list or else this thread will be ugly in a short while.
== Can't you set up a web page or a share point document with a table where we all can add items and comment on the already mentioned.

That's why I suggested PTC add a thread to the Announcements (or wherever won't get lost) that captures the list, in Excel say.

http://collab.mathsoft.com/read?99860,77

Stuart
Announcements