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[Axiom-developer] RE: Axiom wiki

From: Bill Page
Subject: [Axiom-developer] RE: Axiom wiki
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2004 23:55:38 -0400


On Friday, July 09, 2004 7:43 PM you wrote:
> ... Here are some of the thoughts that Bill's work inspire.
> Axiom is based entirely on pamphlet files. Pamphlet files are
> just standard latex with a couple extras to support "inline"
> code in the file. They are the basis of the literate programming
> style in Axiom. So every file in Axiom is a pamphlet. I'm not
> familiar with the details of "page types" but perhaps a pamphlet
> page type is needed.

We could define a new page type, but right now what I have done
is just extend the functionality of the existing StructuredText+LaTeX
and HTML+LaTeX page types to include the Pamphlet-style "code-chunk"
concept /begin{axiom} ... /end{axiom} and the ability to run Axiom

> If the Axiom wiki effort can support pamphlet <=> webpage
> translations it would have two benefits. First it would provide
> an interesting front-end to Axiom, especially with Bill's
> automation of running Axiom on a wiki web page. This turns out
> to be nearly as powerful as Mathematica and Maple notebooks.
> In fact, with some clever web page buttons we could probably
> reproduce their complete functionality.

As a user of both of these commercial systems, I would say that
in some ways the Axiom Wiki interface is already superior -
especially when it comes to online web-based collaborative
computer algebra. And since it allows full access to LaTeX,
it's ability to display mathematics is also superior to both
M and M.

> If web pages could be converted to, or written originally on 
> the wiki as, pamphlet files then it would be possible to
> maintain Axiom directly on the wiki which would practically be
> a research breakthru. It would eliminate the hard-to-use CVS
> mechanism, enable people to use Axiom directly as a "service"
> and encourage open math development on the wiki.

In fact this is *already* possible with what has been implemented.
It would be quite easy to load all of the existing Axiom algebra
pamphlet files as Axiom Wiki pages in an "algebra" folder. Editing
these pages would cause the .spad files to be created in the
LatexWiki "images" folder/directory. These spad files could then
be accessed as part of the Axiom build script.

And with a simple extension to the current "images" folder naming
conventions (discussed in a previous email to Bob), this would
also allow people to maintain there own separate variants of the

> I've been struggling with the issue of how to develop a browsing 
> structure for Axiom's pamphlet and this wiki has great potential
> to solve that problem in a truly novel way.

I agree completely! For example the Search box at the top right
hand corner of the portal page allows you to search for Axiom
Wiki "pamphlet" files based on their content. One can easily
insert links between these pages using the standard wiki

> Axiom uses a fairly limited range of Latex mostly because my
> Latex talents are limited. Support for the \begin{array}
> environment or the \begin{thebibliography} environment are
> about the most difficult of the parts of the Latex used.
> (Actually, if the \bibitems in a bibliography were automatically
> turned into hyperlinks that would be sweet).

This shouldn't be too hard (in principle). But I also agree with
Bob's previous point about not necessarily trying to (or maybe
even deliberately not to) reproduce all of the LaTeX functionality.
Some things are more easily done a new way (StructuredText).
> In any case the whole Axiom wiki idea opens up a lot of
> excellent, creative directions that I think we need to
> explore further.

Great. Let's do it. :)

Bill Page.

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