W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > May 2008

Re: MathML entities don't degrade gracefully

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 08:32:17 +0000 (UTC)
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, Public MathML mailing list <www-math@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0805230827270.12911@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Thu, 24 Apr 2008, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> 
> I think the inclusion of the MathML entities in HTML5 regardless of a 
> MathML context violates the Degrade Gracefully design principle of the 
> HTML WG. The entities don't add anything to the expressiveness of the 
> language: anything that you can express with the entities you can also 
> express with numeric character references or by using UTF-8 directly. 
> However, when an author uses entities that have not been traditionally 
> supported by HTML, the rendering of the document in legacy user agents 
> will be worse than in the situation where numeric character references 
> or direct UTF-8 is used.

It will be worse, but it won't be dramatically worse.

In the transition period, people can avoid using the new entities. 
However, I don't see a good reason to prevent their use in the future. If 
we ever want to use new entities, we have to add them.

We've added entities before (e.g. &euro;) without major problems.


> As for application/xhtml+xml, the situation is even worse. DTDs don't 
> work on the Web[1] and are mostly useless legacy. So far, HTML 5 has 
> encouraged DTDlessness for XHTML5--and rightly so. Using the MathML 
> entities in XML requires a doctype, because otherwise the document would 
> be ill-formed. Browsers won't fetch a DTD based on the doctype, so we 
> need to consider existing magic public IDs and potential future public 
> IDs. Either way, the situation will be bad from the point of view of the 
> Degrade Gracefully design principle [...]

I don't think it's a critical problem if the XML authoring experience is 
worse than the text/html one. After all, it's already worse for many other 
reasons. What's special about this one?

The entities in HTML5 don't apply to XHTML5. The spec says as much.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 23 May 2008 08:33:10 UTC

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