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“My name is John, and I am a genius when it comes to math,” says John in his introduction. “I can tell you how much to borrow, save, and spend within seconds, and for a small fee I will show you how to pack your lunch,” he continues. “All you need to leave me is the answer to a quick question and the name of the person you want the advice for”.

First, a parser analyzes the mathematical function. It transforms it into a form that is better understandable by a computer, namely a tree (see figure below). In doing this, the Derivative Calculator has to respect the order of operations. A specialty in mathematical expressions is that the multiplication sign can be left out sometimes, for example we write "5x" instead of "5*x". The Derivative Calculator has to detect these cases and insert the multiplication sign. Displaying the steps of calculation is a bit more involved, because the Derivative Calculator can't completely depend on Maxima for this task. Instead, the derivatives have to be calculated manually step by step. The rules of differentiation (product rule, quotient rule, chain rule, …) have been implemented in JavaScript code. There is also a table of derivative functions for the trigonometric functions and the square root, logarithm and exponential function. In each calculation step, one differentiation operation is carried out or rewritten. For example, constant factors are pulled out of differentiation operations and sums are split up (sum rule). This, and general simplifications, is done by Maxima. For each calculated derivative, the LaTeX representations of the resulting mathematical expressions are tagged in the HTML code so that highlighting is possible.

Displaying the steps of calculation is a bit more involved, because the Derivative Calculator can't completely depend on Maxima for this task. Instead, the derivatives have to be calculated manually step by step. The rules of differentiation (product rule, quotient rule, chain rule, …) have been implemented in JavaScript code. There is also a table of derivative functions for the trigonometric functions and the square root, logarithm and exponential function. In each calculation step, one differentiation operation is carried out or rewritten. For example, constant factors are pulled out of differentiation operations and sums are split up (sum rule). This, and general simplifications, is done by Maxima. For each calculated derivative, the LaTeX representations of the resulting mathematical expressions are tagged in the HTML code so that highlighting is possible. (Source: www.derivative-calculator.net)