January 27, 2022

Interactive Search Results to the Max: Wolfram|Alpha Launches Experimental CDF (Computable Document Format) Demo

The following technology will be of interest to all. You might not use it today but the technology itself is what’s important. Science and math info pros might want to start using and demonstrating its availability via Wolfram|Alpha.


From a Blog Post by Stephen Wolfram

Two weeks ago we made a major announcement: building on technology that we’ve been developing for more than 20 years, we released Computable Document Format (CDF). I think CDF is going to have a big effect on the way all sorts of things can be  communicated. Because for the first time it makes it practical to include live computation as a routine part of a document.


Starting today, as soon as you have the free CDF plugin installed (or if you have Mathematica 8 on your system) you can go to the top right-hand corner of the Wolfram|Alpha website, and set CDF on, with the result that Wolfram|Alpha will generate not just a static web page, but instead full CDF output—that you can directly interact and compute with.

There are some immediate consequences—like rotating 3D graphics, interactively reading off values in plots, and resizing graphics inline.

But where Wolfram|Alpha with CDF really starts to get exciting is in letting you interactively manipulate parameters—and actually do computations right inside your browser. Wolfram|Alpha without CDF might just give you one particular plot. Wolfram|Alpha with CDF will automatically  sprout sliders or other controls that let you immediately change parameters, and continuously update the plot.


If one looks at different applications of CDF, some typically involve human authoring of CDF—say to create interactive Demonstrations of the kind in the Wolfram Demonstrations Project. But other applications involve automatic generation of CDF—say in producing interactive reports

Much More Info, Searches to Try, and Screen Caps To Look at in the Remainder of the Blog Post

See Also: 7000+ Live Demos of CDF In Action

See Also: Launching the Computable Document Format (CDF): Don’t Compress the Idea, Expand the Medium
(July 27, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.