Mathematica Online Now in Full Release
February 15, 2016 — Andrew de Laix, Director, Distributed Systems Engineering
If you have recently visited Mathematica Online, the cloud version of our flagship software, you may have noticed something missing. That’s right—we dropped the “BETA” tag, and I am pleased to announce that we have a product we can proudly call release ready. It has been a long road from when we debuted the Wolfram Cloud to where we are today; we have made some really great progress toward bringing to the cloud the kind of experience you are used to on the desktop—and enabling you to seamlessly work and share documents across your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices.
One of the benefits of developing software in the cloud is the ability to constantly make updates and improvements, and every couple of weeks we have been able to add updates to deliver increased speed, increased stability, and increased usability. Regular users have probably noticed and been pleasantly surprised, I hope, by all that we have been doing to upgrade the cloud, but for those of you who haven’t dropped by in a while, let me tell you a little more about some of those improvements.
One of the biggest changes we have made is hard to miss: a full-on graphic redesign of our online suite. We have a great design team and they have done an outstanding job of giving you a clean, modern, and distinctive design for the cloud. We have tuned every aspect of the user interface to a consistent look and feel throughout.
One thing I especially appreciate is how our new design increases the amount of real estate we dedicate to the notebook without compromising access to important features. Of course, I also think the design is quite attractive, and while being pretty does not change functionality, it does make for a nicer working experience.
The focal point of Mathematica is the notebook, a flexible way to document ideas. There are any number of situations where you’d want to work with a notebook in a browser, and now you have a great way to do just that. We’ve also put in a lot of effort to ensure that even when editing large code blocks or content-laden notebooks, typing and editing will just flow. We have improved scrolling for larger notebooks so that cruising through your content is smoother. And speaking of content, we have been steadily increasing our support for typesetting and graphics so you can include just about every kind of content you can create in a notebook. A particular area that has really benefited from this effort are our dynamic objects, like Manipulate. We have made great strides in enabling rich and complex control interfaces for building Demonstrations and sharing interactive content in the cloud.
Another way we have tried to help you when working with notebooks is to make it easier for you to access your notebooks quickly. We have added a fast preview to notebooks that lets you see a static snapshot of the contents while the fully editable and interactive cells are loading. Now you can see right away what is in your notebook without having to wait for everything to load, a nice feature when you want to browse lots of notebooks or just take a quick look at what’s inside.
The improvements aren’t all just in the interface. The cloud always offers the latest in Wolfram Language features. We update the Wolfram Engine in the cloud nearly simultaneously with our desktop product release, so we stay on the cutting edge. If you hear about some great new Wolfram Language feature in our latest release, it is going to be there for you in the cloud with nothing to download and nothing to install.
An added benefit of our cloud products is how they also let us enable greater on-the-go access and convenience for mobile and wearable device users via the free Wolfram Cloud app, which is available in the Apple store. The Wolfram Cloud app provides a more optimized experience using Mathematica Online on your iOS phone or tablet, so you can access your notebook files, write Wolfram Language code, and run interactive content from virtually anywhere.
It has been an amazing experience for me to see Mathematica Online come together like it has in the cloud. Web application development is tough, and I sometimes joke that by building inside a browser we’re working with little more than stone knives and bearskins. It is impressive to see what we have already done with them, and the job isn’t done. Our colleagues who develop desktop Mathematica have had a nearly quarter-century head start on us on the web side, and we haven’t caught up to them yet. Here are some features you can look forward to seeing:
- Structured input support so you can enter complex typesetting like math formulas.
- Continued support for typesetting, dynamic content, and graphics to capture more features and support even more options that we also support on the desktop.
- Enhanced options to support sharing of full directories and automatic copying of notebooks to recipients.
- Versioning of notebooks so you can recover earlier revisions of your work.
Of course, we will continue to add new features to enhance the overall user experience to make creating and working with notebooks in the cloud as seamless and easy as we can. We are always improving and updating the cloud, and like I said at the start, every few weeks we add features and improvements to our cloud products, including Mathematica Online.
If you haven’t tested Mathematica Online for yourself, you should do so by requesting a free trial. If you have Mathematica on your desktop and are looking to add Mathematica Online, now’s the time to do it by adding Premier Service Plus to your license. It provides you free access to Mathematica Online along with the other primary benefits of Premier Service like free upgrades and technical support for your desktop and online usage.