Randa Results: New Maxima backend for Cantor

September 25, 2012

It’s been some very busy last few days here in Randa for the Cantor project, and today you’ll get the first big result in the form of  a completely rewritten Maxima backend. I’ve started the work on this a couple of weeks ago, and with the help of Martin I’ve finally been able to get it to a state that is (IMHO) quite remarkable and merge it into what will be KDE SC 4.10.

The old backend suffered from some weird design decisions I made in the early days of Cantor and my limited knowledge of Maxima, so it involved quite a lot of guesswork and magic to do its job. For example it used a separate instance of Maxima just to convert results into a latex-format. This of course caused a lot of problems and looking back I’m sometimes surprised it worked at all.

But not anymore! The new and all shiny maxima backend should not only be much more stable (i don’t seem able to break it(here at least (for now anyway)), with a lot less guessing going on behind the scenes, it also should be faster and it has a much higher code quality, hopefully keeping it maintainable for a long time. And the best of all, you get some new features with it as well. The Maxima backend now supports the Variable-Management-Panel so you always have all your defined variables and functions in view. Also this functionality allows the syntax-highlighter and the tab-completion to show your custom variables.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible by supporting the Randa meeting. Enjoy the new old backend. The Meeting is only a little more than half-way over, so expect a lot of other interesting things to happen.