Mathematica 9 is now available
Technology Guide--The Technology Inside Matters
Document-Centered Interface (DCI)

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 so forth.

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.

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