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This post is going to be of a technological nature rather than a mathematical one.

Several years ago (long before the advent of “Web 2.0“), I wrote a number of Java applets (in Java 1.0!) to illustrate various mathematical operations (e.g. Mobius transforms or honeycombs, the latter being a joint project with Allen Knutson), or to help my undergraduate students self-test their mathematical knowledge (via my multiple choice applet that tested them on several prepared quizzes).  I had generally received quite positive feedback on these (the logic quiz on my multiple choice applet, in particular, seemed to be particularly good at identifying weaknesses in one’s mathematical reasoning skills).  However, being largely self-taught in my programming skills (beyond a handful of undergraduate CS classes), I did not manage to make my code easy to maintain or upgrade, and indeed I have not made any attempt to modernise these applets in any way for many years now.

And now it appears that these applets are slowly becoming incompatible with modern browsers.  (IE7 still seems to run these applets well enough, but my version of Firefox no longer does (in fact, I should warn you that it actually freezes up on some of these applets), and only certain versions of Sun Java Virtual Machine seem to run the applets properly.)  It also appears that the Java language itself has changed over the years; I have found that the most recent Java compilers have some minor issues with some of my old code.

But I would be interested in seeing some version of these applets (or at least the concepts behind these applets) to persist in some more stable and modern form (which presumably would mean using a different language than Java 1.0), as they seem to occupy a niche (viz., interactive demonstrations and testing of higher mathematical concepts) that does not appear to be well represented on the internet today.  Given that I have much less time to devote to these things nowadays, I would be more than happy to somehow donate these applets to some collaborative or open source project that might be able to develop them in some better (and more Web 2.0 compatible) format, but I do not have much experience with these things and am not sure how to proceed.  So I’m asking my technologically inclined readers if they have any suggestions for what to do with these old pieces of code. (I’m particularly interested in building up my multiple choice applet, as this seems well suited to some collaborative project in which multiple contributors can upload their own quizzes on various topics (which need not be restricted to mathematics) that could aid in students who wish to self-test their understanding of a given topic.  And there are various features I would have liked – e.g. support for mathematical symbols – that I simply did not have the time or expertise to put into the applet, but which would have been very nice to have.)  I would particularly prefer suggestions which might require some one-time work on my part, but not a continued obligation to maintain code indefinitely.

[Also, any suggestions for relatively quick fixes that would allow these applets to be runnable on most modern browsers without too much recoding on my part would be greatly appreciated.]


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