Wednesday, April 13, 2022

WordMat v. 1.24

This is a major release with a number of new featues, focusing on a stronger interaction with GeoGebra

News in this version:

  • Alternate CAS engine: GeoGebra
  • Maxima version aligned and updated to 5.45.1 for Windows and both Mac-versions
  • New Plotting option: 'GeoGebra Browser'
    • Much faster than GeoGebra 5
    • Still runs offline and does not require internet access 
  • GnuPlot removed from the Mac version. It never really worked well on Mac. The new 'GeoGebra browser' plotting option replaces it.
  • Simultaneous equation solving now works on Mac-M1
  • Volume of revolution now works on Mac with GeoGebra
  • 3D plot now works on Mac
  • Numeric differential equation solver now works on Mac
  • Convertion to GeoGebra syntax now also works for vectors and matrices (dot product, has to be applied using dot(u,v), not by using a dot-operator)
  • Latex template now works on Mac
  • Many minor bug fixes

GeoGebra Browser plotting option

WordMat now ships with 'GeoGebra-math-app-bundle' which is used for the 'GeoGebra Browser' plotting option. It is easy to insert a screenshot of the plot:
  • From the GeoGebra menu choose 'Export image' and 'copy to clipboard'. Finally paste into Word.
  • On Windows GeoGebra will open in Edge.
    Click 'ctrl+chift +s' to take a screenshot and choose from 'Capture area' or 'Capture full page'
  • On Mac GeoGebra will open in Safari.
    Click Shift+Command+4 to capture a selected portion of a screen.

GeoGebra for CAS

The 'GeoGebra-math-app-bundle' is also used as an alternative/backup CAS engine. In the settings menu on the CAS-tab, you can now choose between

  1. Maxima
  2. GeoGebra
  3. GeoGebra broweser

If you do any calculation or solve an equation, the chosen CAS engine will be applied.
An alternative CAS engine has a couple of obvious benefits:

  • If one engine fails to solve a particular problem, you might have better luck trying the alternative. 
  • Maxima has been shown to be very vulnerable to changes in updates to MacOS. Now there is a backup. 

GeoGebra CAS option

With this option WordMat operates just as with Maxima. The result is written directly in Word. The user will in most cases not see any difference.
The input syntax in Word is basically the same for both engines, but there are some differences.

Generally Maxima is a stronger CAS tool, and more consistent. It also has a larger library of functions to draw from. However GeoGebra also has functions which are better than Maxima's. GeoGebra is also faster.

Key points to be aware of:

  • Be careful when using variables of more than one letter, when using GeoGebra. ab can be interpreted as a*b or the variabel ab, depending on the circumstances. 

  Note on GeoGebra CAS on Mac

On Mac GeoGebra runs in a tab in safari, which is automatically opened. WordMat can then send and receive commands in the background.
Unfortunately it requires a special setting in Safari to allow 3rd party programs to send commands to Safari.

  1. Open Safari settings
  2. Click advanced
  3. At the bottom click 'show developer menu'
  4. Open the newly available Safari developer menu
  5. Click 'Allow javascript from Apple events' (near the bottom of the list)
  6. When doing the first calculation with WordMat you will be prompted to allow it.

Make sure not to allow javascript communication from other programs you don't trust.

GeoGebra browser CAS option
Will open GeoGebra in a browser and show the answer to a calculation, equation solving etc.. Definitions are applied just as in the Maxima case. The syntax is converted to GeoGebra syntax. trig functions are applied according to the radian setting in WordMat. Just as the 'GeoGebra browser' plotting option, you can then copy the result to Word.

It is important to stress that WordMat does not communicate via internet when using the GeoGebra options, even though it works via a browser. All required files are installed and run on the local computer.