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Re: Mathematica Programming

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  • Subject: [mg108951] Re: Mathematica Programming
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 08:00:37 -0400 (EDT)

webMathematica is something VERY easy to run on a server -- provided that:

   (1) you have sufficient access and permissions for that server, 
including putting scripts in certain locations there;

   (2) that server has:

      (a) the free Java run-time environment;
      (b) the free Apache Tomcat (or another "Java Servlet container";
      (c) Mathematica (actually, only a Mathematica kernel);

   (3) a licensed webMathematica (of course!);

   (4) you install on the server the webMathematica files in the
       appropriate locations (e.g., with Tomcat, in its webapps
       subdirectory); and

   (5) you edit one of the files from (4) so as to reflect the situation
       of the relevant files on that server, including the location of

The webMathematica files themselves consist of various .m packages, .jar 
Java executables, an Apache loadable module (Linux) or .dll (Windows) 
along with .html files for examples and documentation, etc.

The communication between the web page served up to your browser (or, if 
on a public server, to the user's browser) by Tomcat, on the one hand, 
and the Mathematic kernel, which does the actual dirty work, is by means 
of JLink.

I can do this even on my own local Windows XP PC -- for my own 
development purposes (since my machine is not open to the world as a 

As its shipped, webMathematica comes with a copy of Mathematica; for use 
on your own machine for local, experimental purposes only, your existing 
Mathematica installation suffices.

For use on a public server, the issue would be what kind of license you 
buy.  And part of the price is determined by how many instances of the 
kernel you're allowed to run concurrently to handle the user load. (The 
webMathematica interface makes a call to start a kernel, do the 
calculation, and then releases the kernel. So this is fairly efficient.)

Obviously, WRI will be happy to quote a price for different levels of 

Some site licenses, e.g., at educational institutions, include an 
"amateur edition" that puts various restrictions on use.

I hope this helps to shed a little light, even if I cannot quote any 
dollar figures.

On 4/7/2010 3:21 AM, David Park wrote:
> Very interesting question.
> I have never been able to understand the promotional material for
> webMathematica. Can one run webMathematica from a standard user web site
> provided by an ISP? Or does one have to have one's own server setup, and
> what would that consist of? Where would the Mathematica engine that drives
> webMathematica actually reside? (It would be nice to have an answer that I
> could operationally understand and not in some jargon.) Is webMathematica
> something accessible for ordinary Mathematica users and developers, or is it
> ultimately a high priced institutional type application? Is it available to
> Premier subscribers?
> If I recollect correctly, there is a possibility that in the near future WRI
> will provide a way so that anyone can read a Mathematica notebook on line in
> a web browser. Would this include the use of active controls and be able to
> utilize private packages?  Would this be an alternative to webMathematica?
> Lots of questions, but being able to communicate efficiently with people who
> don't presently have Mathematica is still the missing link.
> David Park
> djmpark at
> From: Nicholas Chung [mailto:nchung66 at]
> I have Mathematica 7 but I was wondering how it compares to
> WebMathematica and WorkBench? Can I create full applications and
> interactive websites with Mathematica? How much control do I have over
> the user interface design?

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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