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Re: Getting a pure text widget?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg61380] Re: Getting a pure text widget?
  • From: "ragfield" <ragfield at>
  • Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 02:29:48 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <disln4$mj7$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

> The literature for MathLink suggests that I could create my own GUI for
> Mathematica using MathLink.  I have not been able to convince myself this
> is really true by looking over the API.  For example, is there a way to get
> a "pure" text widget?  By text widget, I mean - in terms of X - an X window
> that presents the content of a Mathematica notebook without any menubar,
> toolbar, scrollbar, statusbar, etc.


> Are my perceptions in error here?

MathLink is a library that can be used to transmit Mathematica
expressions from one application to another, or even from one
application to itself.  It does not encompass all of Mathematica's
functionality (i.e. it does not perform computations, and it does not
allow for embedding of Mathematica notebook content inside other

That having been said, it is entirely possible to create a GUI
application to communicate with the Mathematica Kernel via MathLink.
It would be the responsibility of such an application to completely
manage the user interface and interaction between that interface and
the Mathematica Kernel via MathLink.  This is exactly what the
Mathematica FrontEnd does.

It would be completely straightforward for a C++ developer to create an
application to take plain text input from a user, evaluate it in the
Mathematica Kernel, then display plain text results.  Such an
application would have limited utility though.  It would be
considerably more difficult to write from scratch graphics rendering
capabilities and sophisticated typesetting that is already available in
the Mathematica FrontEnd.  I estimate it would take dozens of
developers around 17 years to complete such a task ;)


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