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Introducing Mathwright Microworlds

James E. White

I describe in this paper a new type of web document -- the Mathwright Microworld -- that appeared recently at the New Mathwright Library and Café. I will discuss the Mathwright Microworld from the points of view of both

  • its readers -- typically students of mathematics -- and
  • its prospective authors --typically teachers of mathematics.

James E. White is Director of The New Mathwright Library and Café and President of Bluejay Lispware.

A Mathwright Microworld is an HTML document (i.e., a web page) that an author may create with any handy HTML editor. The document becomes a Mathwright Microworld when the author embeds a "portal" that he or she creates independently with the Mathwright32 Author program. The portal in a Mathwright Microworld is a rectangular region of the web page which is, in some ways, like a Java applet. Its content is automatically downloaded -- just once -- from the author's web site when the reader comes to the page, and it is then cached on the reader's machine. This portal may be designed to blend with the background, so that only its content distinguishes it. But unlike most Java applets, this rectangle can hold as many "story pages" as the author wants to create. These story pages remain in the portal on the web page as the reader enters this new dimension of that page. Thus, the reader who is finished with a story page presses a button or clicks a hyperlink and is taken to another story page that is displayed in the same portal.

Before you can view a Microworld, you must be using Internet Explorer 5.0 or later, and you must download and install the (free) Personal MathwrightWeb ActiveX Control. Please do that now.

In the next section, our first example, Transformations of a Function, illustrates the appearance and behavior of a Microworld. If you would like a more detailed explanation, go to our Definitions of Terms.

Published June, 2002
© 2002 by Bluejay Lispware

James E. White, "Introducing Mathwright Microworlds," Convergence (December 2004)