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Differences Between Sketchpad and JavaSketchpad

Differences from the User's Perspective

If you've visited the demo gallery, you already understand the fundamental difference between JavaSketchpad and The Geometer's Sketchpad: Where desktop Sketchpad is a full-fledged environment for creating, exploring, and presenting mathematics dynamically, JavaSketchpad is technology for viewing and interacting with dynamic visualizations created by someone else.

JavaSketchpad has no menus, dialog windows, or toolboxes. Its interface simplicity is also its chief virtue: Users—visitors to Web pages that feature JavaSketches—need no directions other than to click on all geometric illustrations and drag them about!

Differences from the Author's Perspective

As a lightweight Java applet designed for rapid downloading over the Internet, JavaSketchpad supports only a small subset of the mathematical functions and capabilities of The Geometer's Sketchpad. While this set grows and changes with new releases of JavaSketchpad, in general, the applet supports fewer mathematical constructions than the desktop software, although there are ways of working around these differences.

There are also several features available in the applet that have no corresponding feature in the desktop program. Most of these are accessed by hand-tuning the HTML tags that invoke the applet to present a dynamic geometry construction, or by adding details manually to the CONSTRUCTION parameter embedded in the Web page. These applet-only features are described in detail in the JavaSketchpad developer's grammar, which specifies the language in which JavaSketchpad Web pages must be written. They include:

While most users will never want to look at this language (and instead rely on desktop Sketchpad to create Web pages automatically), authors who want to know the intimate details of how a JavaSketch is specified can examine the complete developer’s grammar.