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[Axiom-developer] [MathAction]

From: billpage
Subject: [Axiom-developer] [MathAction]
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 23:17:27 -0600


-MathAction provides an over-the-web graphical interface for Axiom (see 
-and Reduce (see ReduceWiki).
-MathAction is based on LatexWiki - an extension of ZWiki.
-ZWiki in turn, is based on "Zope": .
Welcome to !MathAction - The Interactive Mathematical Web!

  MathAction is a wiki with support for LaTeX and computer algebra.
It is the main web site supporting the development of the open source
version of Axiom. MathAction provides an over-the-web graphical
interface for Axiom (see AxiomInterface) and Reduce (see ReduceWiki).

  MathAction is based on LatexWiki - an extension of ZWiki which is
based on "Zope": MathAction works both as a
stand-alone wiki and as part of the AxiomPortal.


Web Site

  The !MathAction development home page is --

  The Axiom Portal is at --

  This web site is --

  The test and development version of !MathAction is --

How it Works

  You can comment on the content or "edit":ExternalEdit these pages
but please identify yourself using "preferences":UserOptions first.
You can enter mathematics using $\text{\LaTeX}$, Axiom commands or
Reduce commands and display the results as properly formatted
mathematics. For example see AxiomInterface and ReduceAppendixB.

The Axiom MathAction wiki is also able to operate like a mailing
list. Basically, anyone can "subscribe" to the individual web pages
or to the whole web site. First they must identify themselves by
clicking preferences (or logging in) and specifying their name (or
psuedonym) and email address. Then all they have to do is click the
"subscribe" link at the top right side of the page. Any comments
subsequently attached to a page will be automatically distributed
by email to all subscribers.

**Note:** The whole of the Axiom-developer email list itself is
automatically subscribed to the MathAction website. This means
that if you are subscribed to axiom-developer, then you do not
need to separately subscribe to MathAction.

It is also possible for you to use email to reply directly to
the emails sent out by MathAction. These replies will in turn be
attached to the original MathAction web page and again sent out
to subscribers. This way a chronological record of the discussion
is kept with the web page and later (if desired) this discussion
can be editted and kept for posterity.

This is an **interactive** web site so please feel free to
There is a [Help Page] and a page to get you going with LaTeX.

!MathAction Software

  The software used in MathAction is based on the LatexWiki
extension of ZWiki which is an open source Zope application.
This same application can run inside of a Plone portal.

"Zope": is an "integrated application
development environment" consisting of a web server (Zserver)
and an object-oriented database (ZODB) based on the idea of
persistent objects and classes. Zope is written in Python and
was originally a commercial product of Zope Corporation before
it went "open source" (It is still a commercial product in the
sense that Zope Corporation continues to make money from it's
earlier effort, albeit in a different way.)

ZWiki and "Plone": are two of quite a
large number of applications built using Zope. More
specifically these applications are (usually) built according
to a "layered" architecture that takes full advantage of the
object-orientation at a fairly high level (almost everything
is an object or an attribute of an object, including web pages,
images, files, etc.). Each object has associated "methods" etc.

Plone is a portal application that is built on top of a layer
called the Content Management Framework (CMF). CMF provide the
object model for distributed management of website contents.
CMF is built directly on Zope.

ZWiki fits into the hierarchy roughly at the same layer as
CMF - just above Zope. Both CMF and ZWiki  define object types
that are inherited by Plone.

Now, are you more confused or less? :) Actually, if you
look at some of the correspondence and history of Zope,
you will find that many (most?) developers start out being
quite confused and challenged about this approach. Some
can't stand it and turn to very different tools which have
similar functionality but are more conventional in design
such as PHP. Other people are more willing to forget a
lot of the things they thought they knew about computer
systems design and start over, learn Zope from the ground
up (starting with Python). Often these people seem to love
it so much they go one to proselytize about it to others.


  Let's try defining these tools one more time:

Zope is a pile of python code that is a web server and set
of classes for manipulating web-data stored in its
object-oriented database via what one could think of as a
merging of server-side scripting and object orientation.

Plone is a very pretty and popular "portal" application
built on top of Zope that allows high-level control like
multiple users, owners, access rights, publication rules,
and web-based site management.

ZWiki is a powerful wiki implementation that allows several
forms of input type (StructuredText, WikiWikiWeb, MoinMoin,
and now Latex) and because it is built on Zope it is more
powerful but not as simple as the original Wiki idea.

The wiki concept: it is intended to be a website that is
editable by anyone, simple enough that when anyone runs
across it they can contribute meaningfully by creating content
or organization, the pages themselves have a simple syntax
that resembles the web-page output, and pages are automatically
interlinked via the use of camel-case noun-phrase WikiWord .
This openness and chaos counter-intuitively *does* result in
organization, widespread contribution, and high-quality content.
In some sense it is the opensource philosophy applied to



The software for this web site is still
"under development":MathActionDevelopment.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome!

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