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Interactive Mathematics on the Web: LiveMath - LiveMath on the Web

Carl Spitznagel

Once you have figured out how to use LiveMath to create an interactive notebook, posting the notebook on the web is straightforward if you have even rudimentary knowledge of HTML. If you are interested in seeing how easy it is, just go to one of the examples and view the HTML source. A single HTML statement is all that is needed to embed the notebook. In fact, LiveMath can generate this HTML line and can even write a simple web page for you, with the interactive notebook embedded. My own choice for creating interactive web pages for student use is to write most of the instructions in the ordinary HTML portion of the web page, where I have total control over the formatting, and then to embed a relatively short LiveMath notebook, trying whenever possible to limit the LiveMath portion of the web page so that it will fit on a computer screen without scrolling.

Although LiveMath can be used as a standalone CAS on your desktop or in a lab, it is my opinion that its best feature is the ability to embed interactive notebooks in web pages and to have the interactivity inherent in those notebooks accessible over the web at no cost to the user. The total cost to the creator of those notebooks is moderate, as LiveMath Maker -- the software used to create notebooks -- sells for $249 over the web (academic price), with an additional charge for e-mail or telephone support, if desired. The company even offers a free 30-day trial. And remember that the browser plug-in for web interaction is free, so viewers of these interactive pages incur no charge. Although the price for LiveMath Maker is substantially more than its former "bargain-basement" price, it is still well below the cost of using the new client-server systems announced recently by Mathematica and Maple.

Carl Spitznagel, "Interactive Mathematics on the Web: LiveMath - LiveMath on the Web," Convergence (November 2004)