The MathSpad Editor

The editing tool MathSpad has been developed to facilitate writing mathematically oriented documents. At first, the main goal was to create an interface for editing structured expressions combined with plain text. The editor was built so as not to restrict the user to any mathematical convention, notation or symbol set, since the initial target group often created new notations and symbols. The principle design element introduced in order to realise this requirement was the notion of a stencil consisting of a number of templates. The flexibility built into the original design has meant that the system is also useful for the creation of structured texts other than mathematical texts, such as HTML documents, these applications not having been envisaged when work on the project began.

The standard document preparation system used by this group was the LaTeX markup language. LaTeX is a great system for preparing mathematical documents but the ascii documents quickly get unreadable if you use a lot of expressions. In order to be able to edit existing LaTeX documents as well, the editor should produce LaTeX and the plain text must allow LaTeX macros. This resulted in an hybrid editor where the expressions were very readable (almost WYSIWYG) and the other elements were still plain text. By adding more power to the template utility, the editor has become increasingly WYSIWYG.

The editor will convert a document to LaTeX by default. However, if you redefine your templates, you can also create documents in other markup languages. A small collection of HTML templates is available and was used to create this document.

Some of the available features:

Some extra information is also available.

MathSpad is freely available. To install MathSpad, you need a UNIX operating system, the X window environment, an (ANSI) C compiler and a C++ compiler. If you don't have them all, you should not try to install it. The program is very portable and does not contain system specific code, so you should be able to install it without any problems. An installation script tries to solve most of the problems and you can send me a message if something doesn't work.

The README file is here and if you want to download the system, click here. (If you experience problems with the download set the options to "load to local disk" or equivalent and click again.)

This page should contain more information and some extra sales hype.
Richard Verhoeven.