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Re: [Axiom-developer] html formatter

From: Tim Daly
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] html formatter
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 19:36:23 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090302)

Martin Baker wrote:
On Saturday 30 Jan 2010 13:41:09 Tim Daly wrote:
Are you aware of the work in Axiom Volume 11: The Axiom Browser?
It uses mathml for mathematics display.

I did come across it although I did not fully take it in at the time, so much to learn when first looking at the Axiom documentation. The documentation probably needs a bit more overview at the start of volume 11 before jumping into build instructions so that newcomers can see what its all about.

At the moment all of the energy is going into moving the source code from the tree-of-tiny-files format into books. It takes a while to move a million-things-of-code, along with rewrites and refactoring. I'm into the final stretch though as I only have to consolidate the interpreter and compiler. I hope to have it finished by the end of the year.

Once that happens I will revisit each book with an eye to writing decent documentation See the book Lisp In Small Pieces for the ultimate goal I hope to achieve. The books only contain the source code for the most part. There will be much more once I get rid
of the 1960s-PDP-11-64K-sea-of-tiny-little-files organization.
It does seem a very nice idea, using the browser for what it is good at and use Axiom for doing the maths. Is this is what provides calculations for the Axiom wiki? It would be a good way to show new users the advantages of Axiom if there were a page where they could type in a formula ,or sequence of axiom commands, and see the result immediately on the web page.
Actually when you run the browser from the Axiom command line you can input expressions into the browser and the computed result will open up a <DIV> in your browser with the results. This works now. All of the Javascript/AJAX/mathml/axiom-interpreter code works so it is easy to add new pages. Once I got a proof of concept working I went back to building up
the other books.

Arthur Ralfs is the person to credit for the mathml connection.

More of the hyperdoc pages have to be converted and there are plans for deeper documentation in the browser format. The browser form already contains pages which are not in hyperdoc. There are newly written pages and code examples from the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions. There are other pieces of work stacked up to put into the Axiom browser. We really want to support the bra and ket notation from quantum theory. (I've been playing with that for a
while and it would be nice if Axiom supported it better.)

Looking at the dates it looks like development on this stopped around 2007, so I guess interest must have declined, which seems a pity. Using the command line interpreter has pros and cons, I wonder if this could be a way to overcome the cons, for instance: allowing the user to enter mathematical symbols such as the Greek alphabet directly into the formula using buttons on the web page?

The browser will certainly support unicode I/O. The question would be whether the lisp system will support unicode, which would be nice because then you could input/output symbols like sigma as though it were any other character. Since Axiom is listening on
the host end it can interpret unicode any way it likes.
Martin Baker


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