> That’s great, that they do this. This is the grand vision, that one day
> all textbook-like material will be available in hypertext form. That’s what
> the visionaries of hypertext had thought it should be like, long before the
> internet actually came into being.
We share you vision at PlanetMath and have been working on it for nearly
a decade now. You can get some idea of our plans and progress from the following document:http://metameso.org/~joe/docs/previews.pdf
Joe and I have been inspired by Ted Nelson and other pioneers of hypertext
and much of what we are working on has been informed by their ideas.
> Can you tell me how the conversion is done, I mean from the book text to
> the hyperlinked PlanetMath pages?
The process went something as follows:
* Use csplit to cut up the chapters into individual files, one per section.
* Use a custom script to split up the preamble into individual preambles for
each section and exercise.
* Upload these files en masse to PlanetMath.
* Use the collections facility of Planetary to organize these pieces into a
The NNexus component of the Planetary system automatically generated the links.
As it turns out, because the system is under development, things did not
work all that smoothly and a fair amount of elbow grease and
work-arounds were necessarry. However, one of our development goals
for this year is to work on these shortcomings and get things to the point
where one can take the TeX source for a book and upload it to PlanetMath
automatically. Once this is in place, we intend to reupload the HoTT book in an improved version which will be easy to keep synchronized with the master version in the Git repository. In addition, we plan to upload mathematical classics from Project Gutenberg and various free textbooks then.
> As it tries to faithfully mimic TeX (which, I should add, is impossible), it
> is not suitable for running in a "live" environment and should only be
> used for one-shot conversions.
The latter assertion is not correct. PlanetMath currently is powered by Planetary, a program built atop the Drupal CMS which accepts input at LaTeX (not XML) and calls LaTeXML to generate displayed output. This is
a live environment in which one can edit pages in real time just as one would on a wiki or a blog.
> The nLab has plenty of pages that would usefully cross-link with it,
> many more than PlanetMath.
One of the things we have been thinking of doing is automatically generating links to nLab pages from PlanetMath. To do that, we would want to know what is the proper way to obtain the requisite metadata from nLab. To find that out as well as to discuss common interests and opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration, were were
thinking of contacting you at some point. Now that this discussion is happening, maybe this is as good as any such opportunity to introduce ourselves and plan to meet. If any of you participating in this discussion thread is available this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time (06:30:00 p.m. GMT), you are welcome to join us at our weekly PlanetMath conference call:http://planetmath.org/node/88020