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RE: [Axiom-developer] Local MathAction

From: Page, Bill
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Local MathAction
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 18:30:21 -0500

On Thursday, January 05, 2006 12:07 PM Peter Würmli wrote:
> It's a long time I had installed AxiomWiki on my computer.
> In the mean time I don't use it anymore, because I would
> have had to find some way to automatise the set-up, because
> updates on the software used to overwrite the changed files.

The proper way for me (us?) to do this would be to re-write
the MathAction extensions of LatexWiki in a portable way so
that it is self-configuring and/or easily configurable.
Since MathAction was originally just an experiment - not
intended as "releasable" software - I did not bother to do

In the mean time, Bob McElrath also decided that he no longer
wanted to maintain the LatexWiki extension of ZWiki. He and
I have discussed the possibility of actually merging the
MathAction extensions with LatexWiki and maybe even doing a
fork of ZWiki specifically for this purpose. Then there would
only be one Zope product to install that would include
everything (except Axiom itself). But neither Bob nor I seem
to have found enough time or motivation to do this yet.

The recent interest expressed on this list in a local version
of MathAction by Ralf Hemmecke and possibly Cliff Yapp and
Martin Rubey, plus the possible use of the MathAction ideas on
the Doyen CD (Alfredo Portes), suggests that maybe we should
examine this possibility again. From the point of view of Axiom
we might consider this as just another type of user interface.
I would be very happy if someone else wanted to take responsibility
for such a project. I am willing to help anyone in as much detail
as necessary, but I am very reluctant to take the lead.

> Anyway: I doubt that you can use AxiomWiki locally without 
> having Zope installed

That is correct (plus a lot more ;).

> (and Plone is built on top of Zope, but I didn't understand
> what you referred to).

Plone is not required in order to run the Axiom Wiki. I don't
think the Plone portal software is of much interest for stand
alone use.

> From where you got to, you need to restart Zope. Create a 
> new Zope document and choose "AxiomWiki" as its format. 
> Within that document you can do the
> \begin{axiom} ...\end{axiom}.

Right now, I think the best way to get to this point is
one-step-at-a-time. I will try my best to describe this below.
If someone besides me can get this to work, I will eventually
update the instructions on the Axiom Wiki appropriately.

Your first goal should be to get a running version of ZWiki.


for details.  Current Zwiki requires Zope version 2.7 or 2.8.

In all open source software such as this I recommend going for
the newest version of everything possible even though this
sometimes will cause some headaches later concerning compatibility
of other components. Since most open source software is "released
early and released often", in most cases this strategy will result
in the most stable and best performing system. In particular this
would mean using the newest version of Zope (2.8) and Python (2.4).

All of this is made quite easy on Debian (use Debian version
Sarge/testing to get the newest versions):


Using apt-get, e.g.

   $ apt-get install zope2.8
   $ mkzope2.8instance
      Directory: zope1 (for example)
      Username: (an initial manager username
      Password:  and password)
   edit /var/lib/zope2.8/instance/zope1/etc/zope.conf
      uncomment debug-mode and set it off, for better performance
      make note of the http port number (9673) or change it
   $ /var/lib/zope2.8/instance/zope1/bin/zopectl start

At this point you should be able to use a web browser to locally
access the Zope Management Interface (ZMI):


(enter manager username and password).

Refer to the Zope documentation:

for more information about using ZMI.

Now get the newest version of ZWiki:

   $ apt-get install darcs
   $ cd /var/lib/zope2.8/instance/zope1/Products
   $ darcs get
   $ zopectl restart

In ZMI you should be able to add a plain ZWiki web site:

1) choose "ZWiki" in the select list (upper left corner of page)
   and click "Add",
2) choose and Id and Title (e.g. plainwiki),
3) click "Create Wiki"

This should allow you to create and edit vanilla wiki pages.


Verify that this works!

Now it gets a little harder. :)

The second goal should be to add the LatexWiki extensions. This
is described quite well at Bob McElrath's web site:


Notice especially the requirements for the installation of
related packages. Again Debian makes this quite easy:

  apt-get install tetex-base tetex-bin tetex-extra gs zope \

To install LatexWiki itself try this:

     cd /home/LatexW
     darcs get
     cd /var/lib/zope2.8/instance/zope1/Products
     cp -r /home/LatexW/latexwiki/LatexWiki .
     cp -r /home/LatexW/latexwiki/ZWiki .

Since Bob is no longer maintaining an LatexWiki in sync with the
latest version of ZWiki, you might experience some problems getting
LatexWiki to work properly with the current version of ZWiki. If
you get to this stage, I am willing to try to help and if we get
stuck again then we can probably bug Bob McElrath for more help.

At this point you should be able to add a ZWiki of Type:

  (*) LatexWiki

1) choose "ZWiki" in the select list (upper left corner of page)
   and click "Add",
2) choose and Id and Title (e.g. latexwiki)
3) click the Type (*) latexwiki, and then
4) click "Create Wiki"

It should be capable of displaying LaTeX symbols and equations.


Verify that this works!

Finally, the hardest part. Te-read the instructions at:

Keep in mind that these instructions are a little out of date.
You have already done Step 1 above.

For the newest version of ZWiki I suggest the following variation
on Step 2:

     cd /home/AxiomW
     darcs get

     cd /var/lib/zope2.8/instance/zope1/Products/ZWiki

     cp /home/AxiomW/latexwiki/LatexWiki/ReplaceInline* .
     cp /home/AxiomW/latexwiki/LatexWiki/* .
     cp /home/AxiomW/latexwiki/LatexWiki/texbreaker* .
     cp /home/AxiomW/latexwiki/LatexWiki/useproto.h .

Be sure to make the specified edits as appropriate to your

Then finally you should be able to

1) restart Zope.
2) In ZMI add another ZWiki object
   with Id and Title (e.g. axiomwiki)
   click the Type (*) latexwiki, and then
   click "Create Wiki".
3) Acess it at http://localhost:9673/axiomwiki
   (Or just use the 'latexwiki' from your previous test.)
4) Create a new wiki page or edit an existing one and choose
   page type "Pamphlet". 
5) Within that page you should be able to do pamphlets

   \documentclass ... \end{document}

   and all of the usual LatexWiki "structured text + latex"
   things plus the axiom/spad/aldor/boot/lisp commands:

   \begin{axiom} ... \end{axiom}

Verify that this works!

> I haven't followed some of the threads, so I might have 
> missed something. If you want the existing MathAction
> locally, the admin of the Axiom wiki will have to export a
> Zope object for you (as far as I remember, because Zope uses 
> a local object store; I don't think that users can initiate 
> the export).

It is possible for me to export the current contents of the
Axiom Wiki site in a way that would allow it to be imported
into a local version of mathaction. The contents however is
already quite large (about 200 Mbytes or so) and nearly 500
pages. Maybe it would be better to move only a few selected
pages at first. This can be done by the same export and import
procedure (by wiki manager) or by simple cut-and-paste from
the edit page of Axiom Wiki to the edit page on the local wiki
(by any user).

Concerning export and import, there is a small complication of
the generated png image files that represent the LaTeX output.
These are not actually stored in the Zope object store (data
base) but rather in a special directory in the file system. If
we wanted to make a complete copy of the current contents of
Axiom Wiki, we must also include these files. However given the
data exported from the database it is possible to regenerate
the image files locally by running the upgradeall command. If
the desire is to re-create the entire contents of Axiom Wiki,
this could take a long time since the local system would have
to run Axiom and LaTeX on every page.

Bill Page.

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