[pdftex] TeX output as Java graphic
toddobryan at mac.com
Fri Dec 5 03:33:44 CET 2003
This may not be the right place to ask this question, but I'll ask
anyway and have someone re-direct me...
I teach computer programming in a high school, and I have several
seniors who've had two years of programming before, so I have them all
working on projects that I think would be useful to the world at large.
One group is working on an algebra tutor, and for that group, I have my
heart set on math that looks good.
We're coding in Java, and I'd like a way to get pretty math in a
generic graphic environment. PDF is probably not the way to go since
(as far as I know; I'm a relative neophyte) it doesn't have a
reasonable way to interact graphically with images. I've thought about
writing routines that hard code Java graphics calls, but it seems like
then we'd be creating stuff that would only be useful in Java. I've
also thought about writing SVG and then using something like Batik to
display the SVG easily.
Here's my question: Knuth's algorithms are just about the prettiest
thing I'm likely to find anywhere, even after 20 years. I have a copy
of _TeX: The Program_, and a student who got a perfect score on the ACT
who's interested enough in the project that he's willing to learn some
Pascal and wade through the problem.
How hard would it be to pull out the code from TeX that typesets small
snippets of text (the primitives, I guess it would be) so that I could
pass a string like "$x^2+y^2=25$" (or its MathML equivalent) and a
starting point and have that small image be typeset correctly at that
point. Is anyone aware of anybody doing something like this or leaning
in that direction?
I've looked at MathML and I must say I'm rather disappointed in the
lack of open source tools, and the relatively low quality of the
renderers that currently exist. Maybe I've missed something. If so,
please correct me. If not, would someone be willing to answer questions
about how everything hangs together in TeX so my student and I could
get a handle on what data structure we'd need to set up and which
primitives we'd have to implement so that we could do small snippets of
arbitrary math fairly easily.
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