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Re: How to write a "proper" math document

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  • Subject: [mg120146] Re: How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 07:35:11 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: murray at

David pointed out that if you want interactive content in a .cdf, you 
have to do so by means of Manipulate. But there are situations where 
Manipulate is much too restrictive and you want other Dynamic content, 
including DynamicModule.

Also, to promote the .cdf format and CDF Player and plug-in, surely a 
more attention-getting name than "CDF" or "Computable Document Format" 
is desirable? Yes, "CDF" has a nice analogy to "PDF", but so what. (And 
just wait for Adobe to catch on and sue over the use of "DF"!)

On 7/8/11 4:54 AM, John Fultz wrote:
> David,
> I wanted to respond to one particular point you made in your recent post:
> On Thu, 7 Jul 2011 07:28:02 -0400 (EDT), David Park wrote:
>> One path is to produce a free easily obtainable Mathematica Reader on the
>> model of the Adobe Acrobat Reader. The reader could read the document,
>> operate the controls (with maybe some minor restrictions) but not much
>> else. The idea is that once users could publish in Mathematica they would
>> write more literate documents. More people would see them and decide they
>> really wanted to do the same (or use the generated knowledge) and so
>> would buy regular Mathematica themselves. I despair that WRI will ever
>> make this approach work. (A free Mathematica PlayerPro would be close but
>> they don't want to do that.) WRI puts too many restrictions and caveats
>> in their approaches such that it will never convince people that it will
>> be a general method of publication. For example, it looks as if all
>> dynamics must be via the Manipulate statement and one cannot write custom
>> dynamics. I was once hopeful, but now have doubts that this approach will
>> ever work.
> You've made this criticism before, and the criticism was much more valid then
> than now.  It's not clear to me from what you wrote above whether you know or
> appreciate how much things have changed.  One of your previous criticisms has
> long been that Mathematica could not simply create and maintain a native
> document which would be readable and executable by Player.  I.e., because Player
> could "play" .nb files, and Mathematica could not create .nbp files (without
> submission to a website, and all that this entails).  My understanding is that
> this a large part of why you believed Player Pro to be the superior
> solution...because Player Pro can play .nb files.
> But, in version 8, the situation has changed significantly.  Mathematica can now
> directly create and maintain CDF (or sometimes called "FreeCDF") files.  Player
> can play CDF files.  CDF, as they might say, is the new NBP.  There remain, of
> course, some restrictions as to what can be accomplished in the Player.  The
> broadest category of items is that CDF files created directly by Mathematica
> cannot store new content to disk.  They can't use Export[], save files, etc. (*)
> But they do support much of what you've suggested before, and much more than
> Mathematica 7 did.
> That you may not be aware of this isn't your fault.  Wolfram hasn't said much
> about it yet because we've been in the process of making sure that we can launch
> the right message about CDF in a strong way.  There will be a lot more to be
> said about CDF soon...I expect that before long plenty will be said on the
> Wolfram website and elsewhere describing it in much more detail.  But the
> functionality is already there, in version 8, and I encourage you to play with
> it.
> Sincerely,
> John Fultz
> jfultz at
> User Interface Group
> Wolfram Research, Inc.
> (*) It is possible, incidentally, to create CDF files with the capacity to,
> while running in Player, create content using Export[], saving, etc.  But that
> functionality can't be unlocked directly from within Mathematica, and more will
> be said about that later, as well.

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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