New interactive mathematics website based on Sage
If you have an interest in mathematics, you’ve almost certainly stumbled across The Wolfram Demonstrations Project at some time or other. Based upon Wolfram Research’s proprietary Mathematica software and containing over 8000 interactive demonstrations, The Wolfram Demonstrations Project is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in mathematics and related sciences; and now it has some competition.
Sage is a free, open source alternative to software such as Mathematica and, thanks to its interact function, it is fully capable of producing advanced, interactive mathematical demonstrations with just a few lines of code. The Sage language is based on Python and is incredibly easy to learn.
The Sage Interactive Database has been launched to showcase this functionality and its looking great. There’s currently only 31 demonstrations available but, since anyone can sign up and contribute, I expect this number to increase rapidly. For example, I took the simple applet I created back in 2009 and had it up on the database in less than 10 minutes! Unlike the Wolfram Demonstrations Project, you don’t need to purchase an expensive piece of software before you can start writing Sage Interactions….Sage is free to everyone.
Not everything is perfect, however. For example, there is no native Windows version of Sage. Windows users have to make use of a Virtualbox virtual machine which puts off many people from trying this great piece of software. Furthermore, the interactive ‘applets’ produced from Sage’s interact function are not as smooth running as those produced by Mathematica’s Manipulate function. Finally, Sage’s interact doesn’t have as many control options as Mathematica’s Manipulate (There’s no Locator control for example and my bounty still stands).
The Sage Interactive Database is a great new project and I encourage all of you to head over there, take a look around and maybe contribute something.