Best way to implement interactive math content in a website

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by fivetoadsloth, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    I've developed a mathematical tool in Mathematica/MATLAB that I need to port to a web based version. Ideally every user would have Wolfram's CDF player technology. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I've been able to use approximation methods, and I think as long as I have access to basic functions (+,-,/,x,^,etc) and a random number generator I should be fine.

    I'm looking to create an interactive tool where the user is able to enter some numbers into text boxes, hit calculate, and have it display the results.

    I'm not very familiar with creating interactive web content and I'm a little unsure what language you guys would recommend. I'm familiar with the basics of a few programming languages. I'd probably opt to do this in Java, but I've been told that Java applets are becoming a bit data.

    Could someone tell me a language that is commonly used that would be able to do this and would be the most compatible with as many browsers as possible?

  2. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    I don't know about for math, but PHP is server side, so it works with any browser. And it's very, very common.
  3. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    A few years ago (actually, quite a few years ago) this would have been a good option. A lot of Universities/tutorial sites used Applets. However, the problem today is device support. iOS won't. WinRT won't. Android (even though it makes extensive use of Java elsewhere) also won't.

    commonly used?
    most compatible?

    That would be, um, JavaScript, the language of the web.
  4. SteppingStone macrumors member


    Aug 6, 2012
    It depends if you are OK with making a round-trip to the server each time you need to do something.

    If you can do your computations on the server, you've got a ton of choices and don't need to worry about client compatibility since your engine only needs to run on your server. You could actually run MATLAB or Octave there, for example, to do the computations. Write a little PHP script to invoke it and present the results. The downside is the network round-trip, which makes things less responsive (and less interactive). Whether this matters or not can't be said without more information.

    If you can rewrite your engine and want/need a more responsive UI, then the Javascript suggestion is indeed the best bet.

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