First of all wxMaxima can be used as a calculator and a notebook. Not only can simple algebraic operations be performed, but variables of any names can be assigned values and can be further processed as well, e.g. (fig. 1: Calculations with variables)
Comment on the basics:
- A single piece of work for Maxima is called a cell. A cell is designated with a bracket on the left side of the screen.
- User input is designated by '(%in)', where n stands for consecutive number. A single cell can have multiple input rows.
- Each row must end either with semicolon ';', or dollar sign '$'. '$' makes the input invisible/silent - without input value printed in the output - helps preserve clarity.
- If decimal format of the calculation is preferred, the input must be followed by comma and 'numer' keyword: ' , numer;'
- Blue cells in the picture are text cells (inserted from the 'Cell' menu). Putting a comment inside the input is possible through '/* ... */' - before the ending colon.
- After opening a Maxima file, there is possibility of executing all cells by hitting 'Ctrl+r'.
The second picture shows somewhat real life task calculations (ch01Garden.wxm; the idea came up while setting the lawn in the garden).
The first cell contains basic dimensions and calculations. The second cell contains seed and safety coefficients ('seedCoef' and 'JICCoef'). The first one stands for the area of the land per one kg of the grass seed (1kg per 30m^2 - I think Maxima has got units built in - there should be an update to this instructable). The second one represents uncertainty in the operation - in case places in the garden would need to be resown (that was the case with the real garden, though surplus grass seed was bought by mistake...). The third cell contains desired result: the amount of the grass seed needed for planting the lawn.
Both examples illustrate the possibility of performing basic calculations with the results that can be saved or/and printed.