W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > June 2006

[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5

From: White Lynx <whitelynx@operamail.com>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2006 19:08:54 +0400
Message-ID: <20060602150854.976D87B5F3@ws5-10.us4.outblaze.com>
James Graham wrote:
> If LaTeX -> HTML converters don't work no-one 
> will use the language and it will be a complete waste of effort.
Sorry but taking into account nature of LaTeX (many packages, low level TeX commands),
it would be more appropriate to use stuff like PNG, SVG, PS, PDF as a output. 
Markup language that captures just basic structure is unlikely to cover all diversity of LaTeX. On the other hand one can define subset of notations that are suitable for conversion to X(HT)ML.

> No. I propose that the [X|HT]ML syntax follows the LaTeX model as closely as 
> possible within the constraints imposed by the XML data model.
Within contraints imposed by XML and CSS there is almost no freedom.
In any case one can try to improve compatibility with LaTeX.

> Another obvious issue is stretchy characters like integral signs and brackets. 
> Is the CSS model poerful enough to allow for this? If not, the mosel needs to 
> improve.
There is option to resize them. Stretching is something that still has to be invented (stretchy fonts?). One can compose large brackets from Unicode fragments.

> The mathematical alphanumerical characters are worthless.
Using italics is not an option either, one needs glyphs to be specially shaped and kerned that should be part of font design. Italic in text is not the same as italic in math mode.

Alexey Feldgendler wrote:
> Here is what I can add:
> * perfectly kerned x/y style fractions (often poorly simulated in HTML as  
> <sup>x</sup>/<sub>y</sub>)
One has to think about it, can't promise anything (how to resize fraction bar in CSS?). 
In any case there is option to treat them as built fractions in UAs that can't handle inline fractions.

> * correct continuation of long fractions on the next line
Never seen something similar. We just prohibiting line breaks in fractions.

>* stacking of multiple over/underscripts
It is not a problem in CSS2.1. Arbitrary number of arbitrary complex under over scripts
can be associated with arbitrary complex base.

> * stacking of multiple signs like tildes, arrows etc above variables
Unicode allows several combining diacritical marks per base character.
But browser support for combining diacritics is not perfect.

> * stretching of tildes etc over complex expressions
It's an open issue. Can't promise anything. Possible solution could be SVG
inserted from style sheet using CSS generated content.

> * stretching of brackets and integrals around complex expressions
Large brackets can be composed from either bracket fragments #x23a1-#x23ad 
or box drawing shapes #x2502-#x256e using CSS generated content. 
Smart resizing is a problem however in pure CSS approach.

> * matrices with cells of uniform size (as to accomodate for the largest  
> expression found)
Not possible within CSS2.1 tables model, unless widths are specified explicitly.
So the burden of making cells uniform lays on author.

> * nice embedding of inline formulae in paragraphs of text (without  
> unnecessarily increasing line spacing)
It is not a problem, unless formula actually requires more space.  

> TeX doesn't scale glyphs. It selects glyphs of different sizes, and for  
> those that are larger than the larges glyphs available, it uses a pair of  
> glyphs for the ends and fills the space between them with the third glyph  
> (a line segment). But this approach is not possible in today's CSS, either.
Smart resizing is not possible, but large brackets of fixed size can be composed from
multiple fragments using CSS generated content.

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Received on Friday, 2 June 2006 08:08:54 UTC

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