[Maxima] Interested in a Mac OS X (Cocoa) interface?
msarnoff at andrew.cmu.edu
Sat Jul 14 20:34:34 CDT 2007
You might remember me from a while ago: last summer, I created a comprehensive Web interface for Maxima at math.msarnoff.org. Unfortunately, due to technical issues and lack of a server, I had to take the site down.
I'm now interested in writing a Maxima environment in Cocoa for Mac OS X. wxMaxima and the TeXMacs interface are pretty good, but getting either of them up and running on a Mac is no simple task. (I still haven't gotten wxMaxima to work perfectly yet) And while both interfaces have sufficient functionality, they aren't very pretty, and aren't the easiest to use for novices.
Maxima is probably the best computer algebra system I've used (I've always hated Mathematica's syntax), and I'd like to make it look great on the Mac. Some of the ideas I had in mind are:
- a built-in equation renderer with WYSIWYG editing (similar to the one in the OS X Grapher application)
- a palette of commonly-used functions and operators
- graphing support (maybe interactive)
- everything rolled into one package for easy installation
About the last point: Rather than requiring an installed Maxima and Lisp, I'd like to include Maxima with the GUI. Is it possible to build a standalone binary version of Maxima that doesn't require a Lisp interpreter to run? I think this is really a key point and will expand Maxima's audience beyond the command-line techies. The user should just be able to drag the downloaded app into the Applications folder and get right down to business.
Do you think this would be a worthwhile project for me to undertake? Other projects have benefited greatly from Mac interfaces/ports (the Mac version of Graphviz won an Apple Design Award), and I think this is an opportunity to make Maxima the best-looking and easiest-to-use CAS on the Mac.
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