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Re: [Axiom-developer] Graphics and user interfaces

From: Jason White
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Graphics and user interfaces
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 21:08:30 +1100

With thanks to Tim for setting out the short-term and longer-term
plans, I now understand where Axiom is headed in the graphics

In the medium term I would consider both Postscript and SVG to be
desirable output formats for the purpose of integrating Axiom into the
infrastructure of the Web. However, I am also cognisant of Tim's
concerns, as expressed on the mailing list recently, that there is
little advantage to be gained from integrating XML too tightly into
Axiom. On the other hand, there are interoperability-related
advantages in having XML import/export capabilities at least
sufficient to cover OpenMath/MathML and SVG. This is of course
distinct from the question that initially arose of what languages,
software and standards should be used to construct future user
interfaces for Axiom. That is, one could decide to have XML
import/export facilities without necessarily building default user
interfaces on Web-based components such as Zope.

My personal inclination would be to retain as much flexibility as
possible in the design of the system to accommodate a variety of user
interface options, including the execution of Axiom in a Web server
environment for interaction via a Web user agent, as a straightforward
text terminal application and integrated into a graphical user

As to tactile and auditory interfaces, I don't have much to offer at
present. Various projects are working on the production of braille and
speech output from MathML input, but this hasn't been integrated into
Mozilla or any of the other free/open-source solutions as yet.
Consequently there isn't a reliable platform in this area to which
Axiom can connect. The most straightforward (admittedly primitive)
improvement I can think of would be to allow Axiom to produce output
in the same language that is used as input, since in a linear medium
this is more readable than TeX, Fortran or the default output format.
It isn't clear whether being able to feed Axiom output expressions
back into Axiom (in a later session) would have broader advantages to
the general user, however.



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