This document provides a guide to the installation and operation of web*Mathematica* and the development of a web*Mathematica* site.

This introduction considers the reasons for using *Mathematica* in a website, examines a few areas in which you might use web*Mathematica*, briefly discusses the underlying technology, and outlines the requirements for running web*Mathematica*.

web*Mathematica* adds interactive calculations and visualization to a website by integrating Mathematica with the latest web server technology. The diagram below shows a view of a web*Mathematica* site, http://library.wolfram.com/explorations/webUnrisk/index.html.

There are various important features that *Mathematica* can offer to a website, including computation, an interactive programming language, connectivity, the *Mathematica* front end, and enhanced support for MathML.

Many web technologies, so powerful in many areas, are not well suited to scientific computation; it is simply not their main focus. *Mathematica*, on the other hand, is very suitable for scientific computation and can provide this on the web.

The *Mathematica* notebook user interface (front end) has long provided the premium mechanism for working with the *Mathematica* kernel. Now, web*Mathematica* provides an alternative interface via the web. Even in a web environment, the front end is extremely useful. It is used to typeset mathematics and render two- and three-dimensional graphical objects into images. In addition, the front end can generate notebook documents on the server to send to the client.

Some of the benefits that a web interface brings to *Mathematica *include ease of use and delivery, as well as the large number of web development professionals and the many web technologies.

To use a web*Mathematica* site, all you need is a web browser. User interfaces can use standard web GUI elements, such as text fields, checkboxes, and drop-down lists. This reduces training time because users no longer have to learn different software applications. In many cases, no *Mathematica* experience is required.

There is no software to buy, install, or maintain in order to use web*Mathematica* sites. All end-users need is a web browser and, for advanced features like interactive 3D graphics, a Java Runtime Environment. This leads to significant savings over buying and maintaining user software and also ensures that every end-user always has the most recent version. An additional advantage is that web*Mathematica*-enhanced websites can be accessed from many different types of computers.

There are many people who are experts in working with servers and developing dynamic websites. They can choose from the many web technologies and tools to develop *Mathematica*-related sites. Thus, development is easier and the applications they build are more powerful.