History of Purplemath: Purplemath began in 1998 as a personal web site created by Elizabeth Stapel. Ms. Stapel's initial site included course-specific materials for her math students in various classes at various schools. Later, she started adding a few lessons, so students who missed a class would be able to catch up on whatever "this always confuses everybody the first time" topic had arisen. As she created more lessons, traffic at her personal site increased.
Eventually, she decided to do a complete site redesign to create a more professional appearance and to highlight the list of lessons. In order to pick a color theme, she asked her son, then about two and a half years old, which color he liked best. Naturally, he picked purple.
Traffic continued to increase, and in 1999 the site had to be moved from its free hosting to its own domain name, "purplemath". A few years after, "purplemaths" (with an "s" at the end) was added for the benefit of British-English speakers; "purplemath.org" followed later.
Recognition: Thousands of sites are now linked to Purplemath, and hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the site each day. Purplemath has been listed as an online resource in such books as Cliffs Quick Review: Algebra II, has been used to supplement much online instruction, and has been used as a reference by such luminaries as Cosmos magazine. In addition, the following awards and notations have been made:
Purplemath has affiliated itself with a few proven service providers, including Math.com (for video tutoring and responsive quizzing), WyzAnt.com (for pre-screened tutors available in your own area), and Mathway.com (for software that helps explains the specific steps in your specific exercises, and whose "widgets" populate many of Purplemath's pages).
Purplemath is frequently referenced by About.com, GoogleAnswers, YahooAnswers, and Wikipedia; and many have written to thank Purplemath for the help it provides.
Software used in development: Many have inquired about the software used to create the various graphics on Purplemath. Graphs of equations usually begin their life in the Equation Grapher program, produced by Markus Friberg. Screen-captures are taken from Texas Instruments' graphing calculators using TI's software. Other pictures are created, and graphs are "tweaked", inside Paint Shop Pro, now owned by the Corel Corporation. The animations are also created in Paint Shop Pro, through Jasc's Animation Shop plug-in. Mathematical typesetting within graphics is done with MathType, produced by Design Science; stand-alone formatted mathematics is created through KaTeΧ, an online formatting tool produced by Khan Academy.
Page formatting is done within Adobe's Dreamweaver. The domain names (purplemath.com, purplemaths.com, purplemath.org, etc) are registered through GoDaddy. The site's hosting is through Liquid Web. Security (which protects you from, for instance, drive-by computer infections) is provided by Sucuri.
Contact: Ms. Stapel may be contacted through the contact form, or via "snail-mail" at "Elizabeth Stapel, POB 493, Addison IL 60101-3729, USA"
Purplemath has no affiliation with one "Joshua Schneider" (AKA "Josh Metnick"), "AIS, Inc" (AKA "Chicago.com"), "John F Stapel" (AKA "Dr Stapel"), or their various confederates. Contrary to their claims, they have never had any ownership interest in Purplemath, they never authored a line in any lesson of Purplemath, they have never been affiliates of Purplemath, and they were never employed by nor held any position with Purplemath. They have never received authorization to attempt to sell Purplemath, to collect advertising fees for Purplemath, nor to speak on behalf of Purplemath in any manner whatsoever. Their representations to the contrary (identity theft, phishing, etc) have been made without the prior knowledge or, or ever the permission of, Purplemath, Incorporated, nor Elizabeth Stapel. Apologies for the ongoing confusion.