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John McSweeney - picture detail

John McSweeney

April 17, 2014, 4:25 pm

Website Design

Mathcad and MathML

 

In 2001 MathSoft integrated MathML into Mathcad. At the time I wanted to discover whether it was possible, by clicking a couple of buttons, to transfer a Mathcad .mcd file to the Web. I discovered that it was possible, but not in the way that I expected.

I was able to save a Mathcad "worksheet", or .mcd file, as HTML, by using File/Save As and selecting the .htm file extension from a drop down menu in the Save As dialogue box.

Mathcad creates a folder of jpegs to solve the problem of displaying notation that cannot be achieved by use of HTML. This is similar to Microsoft's process of converting a Word document into a web page. It works, it's easy, but it's not pretty, as this example of a converted Word document demonstrates.

So, what about MathML? Well this is where it became interesting.

Returning to the File/Save As option, and this time opting for the "HTML/MathML for IBM techexplorer" format, one can, once more, save the file as a .htm file. Again an image folder is created, but I also discovered that a data folder is constructed, which holds a .dat file. This enables the .htm file to be viewed in the techexplorer Hypermedia Browser. This browser is a MathML renderer that works as a plug-in for a web browser. When installing Mathcad 2001 one can also install a special version of this plug-in. It is then a simple process of selecting a browser, Internet Explorer, Netscape etc., to associate with the plug-in.

For those who wish to test techexplorer, take a visit to the Integre website (they purchased the plug-in from IBM) and download techexplorer Hypermedia Browser v3.2. Besides MathML markup, it will also enable a browser to display TeX and LaTeX. Integre have now made this available for MS Windows, Linux and Mac. Furthermore, they are supplying a free download of a MathML equation editor, but currently this is only available for Windows.

The .dat file that I referred to is needed when certain regions of a worksheet cannot be converted into HTML or MathML. For example there is no way to construct tags for a 2-D or 3-D graph. Consequently if such a graph exists on a worksheet, Mathcad will convert it into a jpeg. This data file enables all the functionality of the worksheet to be preserved. Also, and this is important, a HTML/MathML formatted .htm file can be opened in Mathcad 2001 without any loss of functionality.

The consequences of this mean that tutors, for example, can upload HTML/MathML formatted .htm files to a server and invite students, or colleagues, to view those files in a web browser. Any visitor running Mathcad with the plug-in can use the File menu in their browser and select Edit with Mathcad Application before editing the file and saving it in the HTML/MathML format.

Once the plug-in has been installed, you can try viewing this example as a test.

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