Sunday, August 28, 2011

MathJax

I'll be wanting a lot of mathematical content here, so took a look around to see what the current state of that art is.  Was delighted to find MathJax:
"No more setup for readers.  No more browser plugins.  No more font installations...  It just works."
Nice; the above tag-line is pretty much the exact opposite of MathML (ha!)  Basically, they've got client-side LaTeX typesetting via JavaScript.  I'm a big fan of LaTeX.  A few years ago I started working on my own server-side LaTeX-on-the-web solution via JSP, but it was rather involved and a bit of a pain.  MathJax seems to perform much better than my prototype system did, and has additional client-side niceties (dynamic scaling, cut and paste, etc.)

To get this up and running in a system like Blogger, one just sources a single script from MathJax' CDN in the blog template (see here for details).  Then type LaTeX source in your blog posts; MathJax will scrape it and re-render it right in the client's browser.  Here's a sample: \[ \int\limits_M{\partial\omega} = \int\limits_{\partial M}{\omega}. \]

There are a few niceties for poor suffering MathML users thrown in as well.

Introduction

Buried in the personal projects folder on my laptop are any number of technical things that I periodically pick up, play with, and put down again over the course of months and years: electronics and programming projects, mathematical explorations, technical rants, fragments of research, etc.

Sometimes in discussions with friends and colleagues, I'm prompted to go rooting around in there to find some bit of related work or code.  Additionally, some of the work in there (e.g. exercise sets from math books I'm working through) could really benefit from comments, suggestions, and participation by a broader audience.

I thought it might be nice to organize some of this stuff in a more public fashion, and also to have a more technically geeky outlet for stuff that just doesn't seem appropriate for my facebook feed (and conversely, to have a place that is more technically concentrated with less social fluff for friends or colleagues who might prefer that.)

I'm thinking to start off with a few posts relating to things that have been sitting around on my laptop for a while, and then make this into more of an ongoing technical journal.