MathTools Update

For my mathematical followers (if any) I’ve just released the last stable beta version of Matt’s MathTools. For those of you not familiar with it, MathTools is my other hat: open-source Java developer. Right now book sales are down, WAY down and so am I. Therefore, for this blog entry I shall ramble on about my math software.

Matt’s MathTools is an open-source Java program designed to assist math teachers, or anyone else, in creating tests or worksheets. The package itself consists of a group of core tools and a LOT of others designed to support them. The core tools are designed to simply the handling and formatting of mathematical things like fractions, radicals and matrices.

At its heart, MathTools is a text-formatting package. To that end it allows a LOT of flexibility in how mathematical entities are handled. It includes two templating engines, one of which is used in all the formatting methods. For example, the MFraction class, designed to handle fractions, allows fractions to be handled AND FORMATTED as fractions. Anyone who has tried to deal with fractions properly using only a typewriter or, worse yet, M$ Orifice, knows exactly what I mean. MFraction makes EVERY ASPECT of a fraction accessible as a formatting token. What’s more, the fraction is handled fractionally: numerator and denominator, and not as a floating-point (double) approximation. (Although that IS available!)

The true power of MathTools comes from its scripting capability. The package itself, written in Java, comes as an executable JAR file. The GUI contains a passle of demo panels and graph paper generators. The demo panels are intended to demonstrate the tools themselves and how they work. The graph paper generators produce SVG markup that can be rendered into graph paper, all of which is highly customizable.

The last panel in the demo is ScriptPanel. That’s where the real magic happens. ALL of the MathTools tools are exposed to scripts, meaning you, the teacher, can customize your problems to whatever granularity you desire! The default scripting language is JavaScript but MathTools is designed around JSR-223 so any compliant scripting language can be used!

If I have piqued your interest then hop on over to Sourceforge and download the program. Oh. Also download the tutorials: demo panel, graph paper and scripting. All three are in the ‘Tutorials’ ZIP file as are a bunch of sample scripts. Download, experiment and maybe give me some feedback! As my last ‘MattsMathBlog’ entry (at Sourceforge) says, I intend to keep this version for a while and concentrate on my book sales.

Matt’s MathTools:  http://sourceforge.net/projects/mattsmathtools/

One more thing. This is open-source software. IT’S FREE!!! Enjoy!

-matt

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