Mathematica notebooks are today's most sophisticated manifestation of the
document-centered approach to user interfaces and are a departure from the
normal dialog-box-based approach. With a document-centered interface (DCI)
approach, control elements, their associated specifications, and structural
information all reside together inside the document itself alongside the
user data--text, typeset math, graphics, interface elements, programs, and
As well as providing an optimized, highly interactive environment for
performing and presenting technical work, the notebook structure has proved
ideal as a superset container for technical information, a hub for an
individual's or group's technical knowledge.
Most application software separates users from developers. With the DCI
approach this is no longer necessary: users working on a problem are
automatically creating a notebook document that is itself an application to
utilize in solving similar problems in the future.
With a DCI, all end-user and developer
elements, interactive and text-based interfacing can all occur in one
document: the Mathematica notebook.