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Re: Wolfram|Alpha Lookup Tool for Mathematica


On May 20, 11:59 pm, mark mcclure <mcmcc... at unca.edu> wrote:
> On May 20, 4:58 am, "gigabitbuc... at BrockEng.com"
>
> <gigabitbuc... at BrockEng.com> wrote:
> > 1.) Presumably, at some point under some conditions, the (XML?) output
> > of Wolfram|Alpha will be made available to Import[]. Does anyone have
> > any comment, rumor, or progress to report?
>
> I think that Wolfram|Alpha will definitely be linked tightly into Mathematica.
> I've watched a few of Stephen Wolfram's video introductions and he makes
> it clear that Mathematica will likely be the largest user of the
> forthcoming API.
>
> Mark McClure

This is as good a thread as any to summarize what an outsider can know
(here on May 22nd) about the future implementations of the W|A /
Mathematica connection.

If we naively ask for:

In[5]:= Import["http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=pi","Elements";]

we get a familiar and promising result.

Out[5]=
{Data,FullData,Hyperlinks,Images,ImageURLs,Plaintext,Source,Title,XMLObject}

Asking for

In[6]:= Import["http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=pi","FullData";]

we get an almost fully masked, but still promising, result:

Out[6]= {{{}},{{{},{},{}}},{=A9 2009 Wolfram Alpha LLC \[LongDash] A
Wolfram Research Company,Terms of Use,Privacy Policy,Participate},{{}},
{},{},{},{},{},{},{}}

No big surprises there, considering the way the dialog is structured
at launch.

What does encourage speculation though is

http : // www41.wolframalpha.com/developers.html

which invites prospective developers (presumably Mathematica licensees
but maybe not) to apply for an API ID number:

http://www41.wolframalpha.com/apiapplication.html

Reading

WolframAlphaAPI.pdf

suggests that W|A page data might be accessed using the developer's ID
in a form like:

http://api.wolframalpha.com/v1/query?input=pi&appid=xxxxx

Attempting to Import[] from this page won't get a return nowof course,
but the return forms described in the API documentation resemble those
accessible to Import[], even though I couldn't find any mention of
Import[] or any use of Mathematica at all.

The API documentation discourages the idea of trying writing general
purpose parsers for the data, but what the heck? Most of what I would
be interested in doing would be ad hoc, just as we do for any unmasked
web pages now.

This is about all I can come up with and speculate about. I think we
just have to wait for this to evolve.

All this makes so much sense to me that I hope it comes to pass.

Cheers,
Fred Klingener


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