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Re: more comments on HTML-Math proposal



Nico commented recently:

> I also had the feeling for some time, and the same feeling exists in
> the SGML community, that the developments of HTML-Math and of HTML
> in general were suffering from a NIH syndrome.

I understand such perceptions, think it's wise for this committee to
keep good citizenship in mind, and agree that we should be receptive
to reaction and criticism from elsewhere.  My own perceptions of this
committee's work to date follow.

While the immediate goal of an HTML-Math capability might have been to
simply render math visually (and perhaps this was the goal of
HTML-Math 3), that goal has been considerably expanded as we look at
issues now.  Insofar as the work of the ISO 12083 Math Committee
stopped short of recommending ways to handle "semantic" aspects of
math markup, recognizing that the issues were many and difficult, the
work of this committee in that regard feels to me a welcome addition
to the overall discussion of those sorts of problems.  And as the
semantics of any formal discipline lies rather closer to form than
I've heard many SGML diehards acknowledge, I also welcome this
committee's efforts to examine a more primitive notational base for
the standard.  This effort, in some sense competing with Roy Pike's,
seems very healthy to me.  Pike appears undissuadable in my view.

The Wolfram proposal certainly acknowledges the need to accommodate
SGML entities and supports and SGML style of markup.  In my recent
list of questions and comments to Bruce, I made reference to the fact
that I felt ISO 12083 Math gave a good basis for the fundamental
layout schemata and might better be used than TeX for HTML-math.
I was hoping, and still do, that formal support such as this would
give a direct means of filtering ISO 12083 math into HTML-math.  Support
in this way gives strong acknowledgement to prior SGML work.

And then there may be the feeling that WRI is pushing a standard of
its own.  While Stephen himself broadcasts at a very powerful wattage,
I've found the committee members from WRI quite accommodating and
undogmatic.  I view their contributions as wholly positive.  I'm
certain that Nico was *not* asserting otherwise, but I would
communicate this to others from outside the committee if a perception
of a WRI-centric "standard" is misapprehended.  This is a quiet
statement, not a defensive one.


-Ron


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