Computable Data Functions: A Crazy Idea That Just Works
Sometime rather alarmingly late in the Mathematica 6 release cycle it started to emerge that Stephen had a bunch of people working on an insane idea: including in Version 6 an entirely new set of features never before considered and definitely not on the release plan. Somehow this didn’t surprise anyone. It was to be a system whereby people could access large amounts of useful data by way of simple function calls inside Mathematica, with those calls automatically going off to our servers to get updated information, or even real-time feeds like current stock prices. Needless to say, none of the server- or client-side technology to make this possible existed, but hey, it sounded like a good idea. It turned out to be a very good idea.