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Re: How to write a "proper" math document

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg120195] Re: How to write a "proper" math document
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 07:00:19 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <201171105157.314838@jfultz3winlap>
  • Reply-to: murray at

Then this greater generality of interactive content possible in a .cdf 
is a well-kept secret -- and contrary to the documentation!

In fact, the Mathematica 8.0.1 Documentation Center page



   "Almost all of the functions available in Mathematica can be used to 
build applications for CDF Player, but there are a few programming 
restrictions to keep in mind.

     -- All interactive content must be generated with the Manipulate 
command and may only use mouse-driven elements, such as Slider, Locator, 
Checkbox, PopupMenu, etc."

Same thing is stated in the WRI web site version of that HowTo page.

On 7/11/11 1:51 AM, John Fultz wrote:
> No, David pointed out that in a previous iteration of Wolfram's deployable
> content initiative (which he didn't name, but was in fact .nbp, processed
> through the "Publish for Player" mechanism on the web), only Manipulates were
> supported.  That was our stated policy for .nbp, although, in fact, it always
> worked with a large class of Dynamics generally.
> That is no longer true for .cdf files.  CDF supports Dynamic and DynamicModule
> as well as Manipulates (although you'll find the marketing materials still
> emphasize the use of Manipulate...and for good reason since it is so easy to
> generate interfaces using it).
> Sincerely,
> John Fultz
> jfultz at
> User Interface Group
> Wolfram Research, Inc.
> On Sat, 9 Jul 2011 07:35:11 -0400 (EDT), Murray Eisenberg wrote:
>> 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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