We all know Wolfram for their Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha products, so the arrival of Computational Document Format (CDF) shouldn’t come as much of a surprise:
The idea is to provide a knowledge container that’s as easy to author as documents, but with the interactivity of apps—for CDFs to make live interactivity as everyday a way to communicate as spreadsheets made charts.For too long, authors have had to aggressively compress their ideas to fit down the narrow communication pipe of static documents, only for readers at the other end to try to uncompress, reconstruct, and guess at the original landscape of information. Static documents are like a very lossy format, fuzzifying clear and fuzzy thinking alike, disguising problems, and often resulting in overwhelming communication failures: undeployed R&D, misunderstood risks, and wrong management decisions, not to mention limiting the flow of information intrinsic to education.Static documents take their share of the blame in making us “information rich, but understanding poor”, to repurpose the common saying.With CDFs we’re broadening this communication pipe with computation-powered interactivity, expanding the document medium’s richness a good deal. Actually we’re also improving what I call the “density of information” too: the ability to pack understandable information into a small space—particularly important on small screen devices like smartphones.
via Wolfram Blog : Launching the Computable Document Format CDF: Don’t Compress the Idea, Expand the Medium.
What’s interesting here is the attempt to add learning and knowledge traits to an actual knowledge container. One initial downside of this new format is that it requires yet another browser plug-in (and a large one at that). Anyway, this is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
- Wolfram Launches Computational Document Format (news.slashdot.org)
- New file format allows journalists to create interactive infographics (blogs.journalism.co.uk)
- Wolfram starts up CDF format for ‘live’ documents (electronista.com)