Cantor--whiteboard interface

Mark Kuster mjk at
Tue May 15 19:36:04 UTC 2012

Hi, Alexander & Martin

I used Mathcad forever before switching to Linux and still use it at work and 
so could help from that angle. The Mathematica-style interface most packages 
have works well enough, but Mathcad's whiteboard interface doesn't constrict 
the user to a linear progression. You simply plop an equation, definition, 
text, script, graph, or whatever anywhere on the screen. It also works more in 
WYSIWYG fashion (like writing on a real whiteboard)--the user sees a formatted 
entity, not a textual entry, even while editing.

In terms of implementation,it might do something like record the (x,y) 
entry position entry, facilitate math entry and editing, and (here's the key) 
show the typeset result on the screen at the location chosen. If the
user indicated something to evaluate (using "=", shift-enter, or whatever), 
then it would show {typeset user entry} = {typeset result from the backend 
math package}. Optimally, the user's raw keystrokes never appear anywhere. The 
possibilities break wide open after that.

I attached a couple examples made by printing Mathcad documents to pdf to help 
visualize how it works. Except for menus & toolbars, the screen looks just 
like the pdfs without the page breaks. The Mathcad web site 
( may help also. You will notice that 
Mathcad typesets poorly compared to Cantor-Sage-LaTEX. Adding the Mathcad 
interface to what you already have would probably blow everything else 
away. With Cantor's export-to-LaTEX feature,or a Cantor-Kile combo, one might 
then effortlessly turn a free-form creative flow into a typeset paper ready 
for publication, homework, web post, whatever.

To answer your questions after all that wind, implementing the ideas interests 
me greatly, but I would have trouble finding enough time. Happy to help, 
though, if you broke off a small enough chunk for me. Certainly would help 
with any Mathcad or other questions.

Best Regards,


On Monday, May 14, 2012 09:43:28 PM Alexander Rieder wrote:
> On Sunday 06 May 2012 16:29:07 Mark Kuster wrote:
> > Hi, just took a look at Cantor--nice idea, kudos to Alexander. A
> > Mathcad-style (free placement whiteboard) interface option would work 
> > too. A choice of front ends along with the back-end choices Cantor already
> > offers would probably attact more users too.
> > 
> > Thanks,
> > 
> > Mark
> Hi,
> sorry it took me so long to reply, I must have somehow missed this mail.
> I'm not familiar with Matcad so I don't know what advantages that interface 
> brings. But there is currently a project ongoing to rewrite the worksheet 
> interface (but the changes are mostly technical, not visual), maybe that 
> will enable us to do some "free placement". Do you have any interest in 
> implementing this mathcad-interface, or did you mean this message just as a 
> suggestion for us for future developement?
> best regards,
> Alexander
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