Q&A about webMathematicaTechnology | Deployment and Administration | Licensing | Support
Q: Do webMathematica users need to be familiar with Mathematica?
Those who are using webMathematica to develop a website need to know Mathematica well enough to implement the calculations they plan to use. Visitors to a webMathematica-based site generally need to know only how to operate a web browser.
Q: What is new in webMathematica 3?
webMathematica 3 implements revolutionary capabilities—including instant interactivity—for server-based web deployment. Included too are a range of enhancements for optimizing high-traffic sites. Please refer to the New Features page for detailed information.
Q: Can I use webMathematica for the same calculations for which I use Mathematica?
Any calculation done in Mathematica can be done using webMathematica, with two noteworthy limitations. First, when using webMathematica, you will not have access to the full capabilities of Mathematica's front end. Second, license restrictions may prohibit you from enabling certain calculations when you use webMathematica.
Q: Does webMathematica make a browser work like a Mathematica notebook?
No, webMathematica does not offer notebook simulation through a browser. However, noninteractive front-end functionality is accessible. Technology will be available in the future to link a client-side notebook front end through the web to a webMathematica server.
Q: How thoroughly has webMathematica been tested?
Quite thoroughly. The same industry-leading testing procedures used for Mathematica and other Wolfram Research products have been used to test webMathematica.
Q: What security is included with webMathematica?
Security is built in to prevent unauthorized Mathematica computations from being executed. Because webMathematica was created using standard web technologies, it is fully compatible with standard security techniques and takes full advantage of security features of your web server and operating system. A number of suggestions to keep your site secure are covered in the security section of the documentation.
Q: Is webMathematica compatible with Mathematica application packages?
Yes, but you will need to obtain special web licensing for any application package you want to deploy with webMathematica. Contact us for more information.
Q: Can I connect webMathematica to a database?
Yes, you can. You can either use the built-in DatabaseLink, which lets you connect to databases in any major format, or any Java database technology.
Q: Can webMathematica output graphics?
Yes, it can output graphics in a number of formats, including Flash, PNG, GIF, animated GIF, and JPEG. Using the Java applet LiveGraphics3D, you can create and manipulate three-dimensional graphics interactively in your web browser.
Q: Can webMathematica output typeset mathematics?
Yes, it can—as images, SVG, MathML, TeX, and others.
Q: Can webMathematica support other output formats?
Yes, it supports hundreds of data, sound, and image formats, including Flash, HTML, XHTML, MathML, SVG, PDF, XML, Mathematica notebooks, and TeX/LaTeX.
Q: Does webMathematica support XML?
webMathematica has full support for import, export, and manipulation of XML documents, as well as support for XHTML and MathML.
Q: Can a web-enabled phone or PDA interact with webMathematica?
Yes, any web-enabled device can access a webMathematica site.
Q: Does webMathematica work with 16-bit character encodings such as Shift-JIS?
Yes, it does.
Q: How do I upgrade my webMathematica site to the current version?
To obtain the most recent version of webMathematica Amateur, please fill out the upgrade request form. For webMathematica Professional, contact us.
Q: What level of expertise do I need to develop and administer a webMathematica-based site?
Administrators of a webMathematica-based site must be able to maintain a Java Servlet site. Authors of webMathematica applications must be familiar with HTML and the aspects of Mathematica relevant to their applications.
Q: Do users of a webMathematica-based site have to install web browser plug-ins or any other client-side software?
No, everything is handled on the server side. However, you may want to use applets to provide additional functionality, such as interactive graphics.
Q: How many Mathematica processes do I need to provide adequate throughput on my site?
There are a number of factors that determine how many Mathematica processes you will need to run. One important issue is the number of visitors that you anticipate to your site. Another related issue is the types of evaluations these visitors will be running. If the calculations they will access are lengthy, then you may want to have a pool of Mathematica processes available. However, if you run a number of Mathematica processes, it would be beneficial to have a dedicated CPU process for each one.
Q: How many processes are used for the webMathematica sites at Wolfram Research?
It varies. Wolfram|Alpha, for example, uses hundreds of processes, but sites like the Wolfram Mathematica Online Integrator use four. The Integrator alone solves approximately 1.5 million integrals per month.
Q: How many computations can webMathematica handle at a time?
Each webMathematica session can handle as many requests simultaneously as you have webMathematica Control kernels. Additional Compute kernels can speed up response times for parallelizable tasks, but do not affect the number of user requests that can be handled at the same time.
Q: How many webMathematica sessions can be run at once?
You can run concurrently as many sessions as you have licensed Mathematica processes.
Q: Does webMathematica run faster if I utilize more processes?
Typically it does, unless multiple processes have to share a single CPU process. If they share, operating systems will task-switch among the processes, negating most performance gains.
Q: Do I need to dedicate a web server for webMathematica?
No, you don't. webMathematica runs as a service similar to CGI or Java Servlets.
Q: Can I separate my web server and my webMathematica server?
Yes, you can. webMathematica does not have to run on the same physical machine as your web server.
Q: Do I have to install webMathematica on the web server?
No, you don't. webMathematica sessions can run on other computers connected to the web server.
Q: Can requests be distributed across multiple Mathematica processes?
A particular request will not be split across different processes. However, as each request is received, it will be sent to the next available Mathematica process.
Q: Compared to running Mathematica locally, what is the performance overhead of webMathematica?
Other than normal internet delays, there is minimal overhead when using webMathematica. When webMathematica is accessed for the first time, Mathematica is launched with its normal start-up time, causing a delay when the system is first launched. As Mathematica is kept running between requests, subsequent requests do not have this overhead.
Q: How does the performance of webMathematica scale with different load levels?
It scales linearly with the speed or number of CPUs and processes. In other words, as the usage level increases, you need only to scale your installation proportionally to maintain the same level of performance.
Q: Can webMathematica be installed at my ISP?
Yes, it can. There are no technical or licensing reasons why this could not be done.
Q: What happens if a calculation takes too long? Will it time out?
You can set a parameter that interrupts and stops the calculation after a given length of time, and can configure a message to be returned in the event this occurs.
Q: If I currently own Mathematica, can I upgrade to webMathematica?
Yes. Contact us for details.
Q: Can I get webMathematica as part of a Wolfram Research license program?
Yes, you can get webMathematica as part of an existing or new Wolfram Research license program, and you can usually take advantage of the same discounts. For existing license programs, contact your site administrator for details. To start a new license program, contact us.
Q: I am a student. How can I get a copy of webMathematica?
If you are at a school that has a Mathematica license program, please contact your computer services department. If your institution does not have webMathematica available for student use, you may apply for a Wolfram Research Student Program grant—contact us for details.
Q: Are there any restrictions on how I use webMathematica?
Yes, there are. See the licensing page for requirements and restrictions.
Q: I am a sales partner/service provider and would like to sell Mathematica time online. Can I use webMathematica for this?
There are special licenses available for these purposes. Please contact us for more information.
Q: What is the current version of webMathematica?
webMathematica is at Version 3.3. If you have an earlier version and wish to upgrade, please see the "How do I upgrade to the current version?" question below.
Q: If I currently own an earlier version of webMathematica, how do I upgrade to the current version?
For webMathematica Amateur, please fill out the upgrade request form. For webMathematica Professional, please contact us for details.
Q: Can you help me set up a web server?
Due to the vast variety of hardware and software combinations and the different requirements for websites, Wolfram Research cannot offer individual support for web server installation, configuration, or maintenance. The webMathematica User Guide details recommended configurations. Further help is available, for example, from The Apache Software Foundation.
Q: Does Wolfram Research offer webMathematica consulting?
Yes. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Outside consultants are also available.
Q: Does Wolfram Research offer a service contract for webMathematica Professional?
Q: Is service available for webMathematica Amateur?
Wolfram Technical Support only offers installation assistance for webMathematica Amateur.