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Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: [Gcl-devel] Re: axiom porting

From: Bill Page
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] RE: [Gcl-devel] Re: axiom porting
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 15:22:14 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 (Windows/20050317)

Camm Maguire wrote:

Here are my summary opinions at this point -- feedback most
appreciated!  (Just a note of clarification -- tcl/tk, which exists in
GCL now and is a portable scripting language, is *not the same* as
GTK+, an extremely widely used C library with multi-language bindings
running 'in-process')

Goal: generic GCL gui  -- short term

1) get the somewhat clunky but serviceable gcl-tk (i.e. tcl/tk)
  working on all platforms as quickly as possible (Need feedback from
  Mike and/or Bill)
For axiom's purposes on Windows I am not fond of this idea until and
unless we already had a gcl-tk frontend for Axiom working under Linux.
So I wouldn't push the "all platforms" requirement until we see how far
this can go on a platform where this would (in principle) be easier (Linux).

But as I said before, perhaps there are good reasons to pursue this
in GCL other than Axiom.


Goal: portable axiom hypertex


This would appear best served by Bill Page's browser idea with GCL
server sockets.  For now, I will work on providing
fork()/CreateProcess() options, and select/stdio multiplexing options,
to the si::socket function call. ...
I would like to understand how this "stdio multiplexing" thing will
work. Will it allow Axiom to simultaneously answer both command
line input and input/output via HTTP in a manner similar to Axiom's
current HyperTex browser?

Or do we only have to modify the read-process-output loop in
Axiom so that it accepts HTTP input instead of Axiom's native
HyperTex session input?

Of course besides the HyperTex documentation, tutorial and Axiom
library navigation, there is still the issue of mathematical notation support
in the browser. NAG also did a lot of work on OpenMath which in
principle could be salvaged to provide math output in MathML
format which is now becoming quite mature in the newer browsers.
Techexplorer provided inline LaTeX rendering in the browser and
that would be hard to duplicate on the desktop without adding
much more overhead with things like LaTeX and dvipng (the way
we work now on the MathAction server).


Goal: portable axiom graphics


This is unlikely to be well serviced by a web browser, and only
modestly well-serviced by a standard gui, as axiom's demands on plot
manipulation are likely to require such detail as canned 'widgets' are
unlikely to be available.

As I currently understand in theory Axiom graphics can be served using
NAG's OpenInventor extensions of to the Axiom graphics program together
with either OpenInventor itself (now open source) or a compatible VRML
plug-in for a standard browser.

I really feel gnuplot is the best tool here
in the medium term, which can be fully accessed cross-platform under
GCL at the present time via run-process.  Please check out the maxima
webpages for soem very pretty pictures (aka dazzling eye candy :-))!
I have nothing against gnuplot per se, and I think it would be great
to have it as an add-on to Axiom (as is currently done in Maxima
and Reduce).. But I do not think that it in any way replaces Axiom's
native graphics capabilities - especially when it comes to 3-d graphics.

Bill Page.

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