# Re: [mediaqueries] MathML

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2016 06:06:20 +0200
Cc: Avneesh Singh <avneesh.sg@gmail.com>, Florian Rivoal <florian@rivoal.net>, www-style list <www-style@w3.org>, W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>, Peter Krautzberger <peter.krautzberger@mathjax.org>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>

> On 3 Oct 2016, at 23:23, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 4:52 AM, Avneesh Singh <avneesh.sg@gmail.com> wrote:
>> We have not defined this variant of MQ yet, but some of the facts that
>> support it are:
>> - Publishers are already using MathML in their production workflow. But they
>> have to comment it due to lack of support on consumption side. so, MathML is
>
> Yes, it was stated by at least one of the publishers (I don't recall
> anyone's names, I'm sorry) that they use MathML to initially
> *generate* the equation images (in MathJax, iirc), then they include
> the generated images in their actual publications.  They argued that
> even if they could detect support for MathML, they would continue
> using their current production method, as it ensures the math is
> displayed as intended, and given the current state of browser/ereader
> MathML support, they can't just assume that their MathML will be
> rendered correctly.
>
> This is an argument *against* providing a math MQ.  It argues that
> MathML is useful as an authoring format, but is not (given the quality
> of the current supporting implementations) worth using as a
> publication format.  We similarly don't support Photoshop file formats
> on the web, despite them being extensively used in authoring image
> content; we instead rely on a handful of image publication formats
> (png, etc).
>

(I think most STEM publishers do what you describe, fwiw, it is not only one.)

I do not think that the comparison with a Photoshop format is a fair one. Photoshop format was never meant to be an image publication format, and was, therefore, never expected to be displayed on the Web. MathML, on the other hand, is directly referred to in HTML, alongside SVG, as a publication format *as well*. I think a somewhat more relevant comparison would be SVG in its state a few years ago, when publishers/authors did use SVG as an authoring or an export format, but then generated, say, PNG images of different sizes to be displayed in a Web page. (I remember I did that…) This is, thankfully, gone for SVG these days.

Ivan

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Ivan Herman, W3C