## Mathematics tools

### Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Petr is now apparently making dragmath moodle 2 core. While this is a giant step forward, the process seems in some respects far from the discussions to date in tracker, so I am frankly clueless as to what the specifics are going to be, and whether SEE will be included.

I suggest that people with questions for Petr post them to this thread.

For those playing with moodle 2, be advised that the code there is dragmath 0.7.7. Current dragmath us at 7.7.8 and the zip I posted us 7.7.1 (I had hoped to post a zip of 7.7.8 by months end but was delaying in part to consider transitional code realigning dragmath and asciimath to what might be expected in moodle 2).

Tip o' the hat to chris and alex and STACK folk for all their hard work and as others have noted hope that this move also affords STACK some increased attention.

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues
Hello,

I have updated the DragMath today to 7.7.8, tested it, fixed some regressions and added full localization support. I also discovered potential show stopper issue - compatibility with GPL v3 MDL-19524.

You can track my progress in MDL-19521 and related MDL-19211, I would welcome suggestions related to new icon proposal in MDL-19528.

In the next few days I am going to work on full description of new support for editors in core and some spec of text formats.

I hoped I would work today on this, but got distracted by general plug-in support issues

In any case thanks a lot for all your contribution and sorry for any short term problems my changes might have caused, I am learning every day

petr

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Mauno's comments at http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-19516?focusedCommentId=71899&page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels%3Acomment-tabpanel#action_71899 are so well written (though he is getting close to be as discursive as I am - LOL) that I thought they bore citing here (in fact the tracker discussion raises the question of whether such discussion should take place in the tracker or this forum...)

Additionally, since the question of the future of ther algebra filer has likewise been repeatedly raised, I am creatin a separated thread on Algebra filter in Moodle 2 and would like to hear from ALgebras Filter users on the matter.

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues

What about the users that have created their first Math quizzes with "Algebra"? It has a much simpler encoding than TeX for the novice, so most likely many of us used Algebra encoding for our first tries until we learned the more powerful TeX. Are we going to lose all the Algebra material we accumulated over the years? Of course each question (or each resource page) can be re-written in TeX, but we need to find them, and go through the work.

As a general rule in support of easy migrations, I think that all available features should remain active to make users' life less complicated. I vote against Marc's suggestion of dumping the Algebra filter.

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Christina,

I set up a separate thread for algebra filter issues.... and there is no formal voting option save via the tracker and no tracker item was set up yet...

Obviously I do not want moodle 2 to result in a loss of functionality, and I asked for comments in the separate thread to determine if there is some functional difference other than the use of double @ sings as tokens.....

My point is that is the only diff is the use of @ signs than this can be addressed via new tokens for the tex filter...... if there are actual diffs in the text expression usage, then this needs to be specifically addressed somewhere so that the specifics of the differing text syntax ussed is identified..... certainly if there is a difference and that difference can be addressed more effectively through a different backend application that should be examined, and a review of the licensing for the old webworks code should be entailed....

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Hello Marc,

The text expression is different for the "Algebra" filter and for the "TeX" filter. The examples that come to my mind (I am not an expert by any means, so do not expect the full coverage of differences) are:

for the fraction expression (display of something in numerator over something in denominator separated by a fraction line), "Algebra" uses a simple forward slash "/" while TeX uses "\over"

The grouping symbols for Algebra are parentheses, while for TeX are curly brackets.

The structure for writing the square of a trig function in Algebra is quite different from the TeX syntax.

Limits and Integrals (both, indefinite and definite) have a quite different syntax in Algebra and in TeX (the first one uses more of a "function structure" like in standard graphing calculators while the second one does not).

Most functions, special symbols and Greek letters in TeX are preceded by a backward slash "\" while in Algebra they are not.

The syntax for the "smaller than or equal to" and "larger than and equal to" symbols are quite different also.

In brief, most of the "Algebra" syntax will not be properly interpreted by the TeX filter by just changing the ""@@"" into "."

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Christina,

no need to worry, it is not really necessary to dump any filters anywhere - but it is quite reasonable to ask if algebra filter is needed as CORE FILTER in moodle 2.0? I proposed that we could take algebra filter away from core files mainly as a comment to what Petr said in http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-19516 :

"We do not need advanced math tools in core imo. I think we need simple user friendly tool that lets you enter formulas in HTML editor. We already have two basic filters for displaying of formulas in core - tex and algebra. Up until now you had to learn tex to enter formulas - like in older version of Openoffice where you have to type it in some weird syntax too (not weird for me but for very many people yes). Majority of people know how to add formulas in MS Word, that is why I keep mentioning it (not because I like/dislike it personally)."

Petr may be right - all moodlers do not need advanced features - yet people need options to be able to select/install/uninstall/upgrade advanced features like math tools in core moodle. We can as well give the download link in http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=334&filter=1 (modules and plugins database) for those people who want to add algebra filter to new installs of moodle 2.0.

An ordinary math teacher does not know syntax of TeX although TeX filter makes it possible to render almost any kinds of mathematical notations you like as gif or png images - but the main benefit of TeX is that it is pretty well documented in www, you just need to know if your site is using Mimetex or some other distribution of latex (Tex Live, TeTeX, MikTeX, MacTeX etc) and you will find good tutorials about possible syntax and commands. To make use of "complex" TeX easier we need tools like Dragmath that allow you to render mathematical equations and notations WYSIWYG.

If you visit http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=123806 we have some ideas there about some possible helpful new tools for teaching and rendering maths in the future - the main problem is just that if we can have only limited number of tools in core moodle which tools are the most useful and necessary for most moodlers and which ones should be left outside core files and can be installed separately... For example if we can some day use tools like http://www.wolframalpha.com/ to add graphs and formulas directly to our content it is a lot of easier than using algebra filter that has a very limited set of rules for writing maths and it is in practice not at all documented.

And we have many, many other relics from the past years in core moodle 2.0 too - for example block loancalc - I wonder who is using it nowadays... but it has of course some historical reason for staying in core code...

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Re: Moodle 2 core math tool issues

Ahhhh, and your points are some of the reasons I started the new thread to address the future of the algebra filter.

I have been sifting through moodle forums and docs and found quite a few requests for details of syntax, but moodle docs offer nothing. One poster inquired if the filter was even supported anymore....

As I said, I don't want to break anything, and I would like to see math notation and display completely transparent, but.... that doesn't mean we should not look at how such a vision informs the decisions of how we get there. ;=}

I think a major issue facing us is the breadth of notational choices, and a big plus in my book for dragmath is that it can produce text expressions in multiple mathematical languages. It is technology like that (and similarly the ability of asciimathml) that will most effectively promote use of math notation in moodle and online (as Mauno and I have mentioned while wolfram uses it's own notation system, their impact is potentially much greater now with WA coming.)

I for one would love to see a plugin based universal translater that would pull symbol libraries based on parsed tokens resulting in one filter but support of many languages.... And I would like to keep moving towards mathml.

So I again invite algebra filter users to use the thread I created to further the discussion and documentation of algebra filter features so that intelligent decisions can be made

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