- The Short Story: Choose the red Maple icon for the Standard interface, not the yellow one for the Classic interface [welcome to the new world of almost syntax-free Maple!] Use the Help Menu "New User's Tour" to get acquainted with Classic Maple if you are a new user who wants to learn more about the 1d math notation used in the help pages, but otherwise just stick with Standard Maple where an even quicker tour introduces you to it from its help menu: only the 10 Minute Tour and the Symbolic and Numerical Computations modules are necessary because of the palettes and right-click menus.
- The Long Story: Maple 10 has introduced a whole new level of mathematical document preparation (dubbed "Clickable Calculus") that allows a person knowledgeable about mathematics to accomplish most (not all!) of the Maple calculations needed without knowing any syntax, only by mouse-clicking and choosing from palettes or context dependent right-click menus and using a few keystrokes, with the option to do this all in the context of a normal looking document like MathCad but with a much bigger engine under the hood! This Document mode is only available, together with many other extra features that aid the user, in the Standard interface, which should be the first impact any new user has with Maple and seems remarkably easy to use with only elementary computer literacy.
The same ease of input of the Standard Document mode applies to the simpler Standard Worksheet Mode which retains the input/output/text region worksheet structure. From the Help menu, a quick user tour now introduces these new features with a 10 minute tour and a Numerical and Symbolic Computation tour, while a Quick Reference now summarizes the features of the Standard Document and Worksheet interfaces. See the Maple examples and tips page and the worksheet cmdlist1.mw for an introduction to using Standard Maple.
One can still type into Standard Maple the same command lines written for Classic Maple in calculus/DEQ Maple supplement books and occasionally in calculus/DEQ textbooks, but combining them with the ease of entering 2d math expressions instead of the 1d expressions, or one can first click on the leftmost "Text" icon on the lower toolbar to switch temporarily to 1d math to enter literally type character for character what you see in Classic Maple syntax, and then select the whole input and use the Format Menu, Convert to 2d math input selection to convert automatically to the updated style.
Information about these extras in the Standard interface are accessible through the Help Menu, including details of how to create "Document" files instead of "worksheets" which look like MathCad worksheets where the mathematics and text are combined like a report. And all of the tutorial commands which invoke Java windows to interactively evaluate mathematical calculations are accessible from the new TOOLS menu. The default entry of the Standard Interface is Document mode, but clicking on the |> icon for the Maple prompt seems to convert it to Worksheet mode at a given point, or you can use the menu Open > Worksheet Mode selection to start out in this mode, which separates input and output, while document mode allows you to run all your calculations one after the other from left to right. [You can also "Expand" a Document Block using the View menu to see its hidden operations.]
The one obvious downside of the Standard Interface is that it can take about 15 seconds to load the program due to preloading of Java stuff, even when you have a single user copy on your own machine, but this is a small price to pay for the increased power available to the user. Citrix and network delivery of Maple can occasionally lead to temporary multiuser competition for server resources making this startup time even longer, but this has improved considerably. These properties will become clearer with experience.
Both instructors and students alike need to be aware of these two interfaces since the Citrix, UNIT public site and Mendel computer classroom delivery offers both versions.