Can Mathematica be used for developing "normal" stand-alone software? I understand "normal" is not a very good qualifier. What I mean by it is software that people usually develop in Java and C++ so it can be "installed" on computers and be launched by double clicking etc. I hope this makes sense. If there is, could you list some non-trivial examples besides anything made by Wolfram in-house such as Wolfram Alpha?

  • $\begingroup$ Difficult to think about this question without seriously assessing the current intellectual property protections available & not available with Mma. They include: compiling, encoding, and CDFs (lot's of discussion of all of this on this site), but I have yet to see a sound approach from Wolfram to protect IP in a way comparable to other languages. No language can provide absolute IP protection. With sufficient time, money, knowledge, and tools one can probably reverse engineer any code. That said, even though I use Mma exclusively, Java, C++, and the like provide much more protection. $\endgroup$
    – Jagra
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ may be the wolfram engine SDK might be needed for this. Here is reference wolfram.com/engine I've seen talk of making Wolfram engine be standalone that can be part of executable. $\endgroup$
    – Nasser
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Nasser - That could make a difference and do much ti close the gap between Mma and other development approaches. Thanks for the info. $\endgroup$
    – Jagra
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Does your view of "normal" include "shrink-wrapped" or desktop software? $\endgroup$
    – Jagra
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ Related: mathematica.stackexchange.com/q/37888/1871 $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Commented May 19, 2015 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


Yes Mathematica executables can be distributed as CDF documents either directly or the Wolfram Kernel can be accessed programmatically in multiple ways via the Cloud and the Internet. The Wolfram kernel that is installed by both CDF player and Mathematica can be thought of (crudely) as the Virtual Machine the executable needs to access to run - so its just like Java or .Net in this respect, more so when you consider there is also a browser plug in.

To take the analogy further - Mathematica is the IDE (integrated development environment) where you write & test your code and CDF player is the run-time.

For lots of non-trivial examples see:


My favourite is the Radial Engine.


People who are serious about writing Mathematica programs mighttake things one step further and use Wolfram Workbench (which is just the Eclipse IDE modified for Wolfram Language code development), together with a Version Control System (VCS) like Git. Infact my company has just spent some time working with a Wolfram consultant to produce a CDF Application who used exactly this set up.

A seriously heavyweight example with probably man years of Wolfram Language code in it:


A commercial Smart Meter analytics Application competing with solutions from major vendors such as SAP.


one three more for the road

As requested a video player in Mathematica - enjoy ;)

How to build a bvh (a motion capture file format) player in Mathematica?

3D turn based strategy.


3D puzzler/fps/God sim Mathematica Minecraft

One more for the road

Mathematica integrated with Unity game engine.

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    $\begingroup$ The demonstration applications shown there is more like really light-weight Java Applets. But I'm more interested in serious large software such as a video player, an editor, etc. Has Mathematica ever been used for writing such softwares? $\endgroup$
    – user13253
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ @qazwsx I've given you 2 commercial examples. I personally know of a 3rd where there is a large CDF in a FMGC organisation. If you want more I suggest you ask Wolfram customer services for reference sites. Once a MMA project reaches a certain complexity there is zero difference between a scientist and software developer, the effort requires formal development methods and disciplines as already noted. If you truly want an answer that satisfies you, you need to spend some more time refining your definition of "normal softwares" otherwise your question is unanswerable. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 22:46
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    $\begingroup$ What is FMGC? Could you define initialism before using it? $\endgroup$
    – user13253
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 8:26
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    $\begingroup$ Not quite. I think the links prove that you can push the boundaries for MMA very far indeed, but IMO for most cases unless you have large amounts of time or you are an MMA ninja - if you want to do general purpose coding use a general purpose language. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 22:55
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    $\begingroup$ I've just watched to another interesting example in this video from the recent WTC2016 ... $\endgroup$
    – SquareOne
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 22:18

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