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Introduction



Hello, everyone.  I just wanted to thank Dave Raggett for
inviting me to join this group and to let you know what
i'm up to.  I'm a student at Waterloo, but currently on
exchange at Tottori University in Japan.

I hope that i can make a useful contribution to the WWW
community with regard to structured expressions.

For the past few months i have been working on my own
independent project to bring mathematical and structural
expression to the World-Wide Web (of course, without
knowledge of the existence of this working group), and the
results of my personal work are in the form of a proposal
and a working implementation at the following URL:

        http://www.lfw.org/math/

(If you visited the site when i first put it up two weeks
ago, please have a look again as i have just updated it to
incorporate more details of the design and implementation.)

The implementation makes it possible to render mathematical
expressions in any graphical browser, now.  It's been
operational on the public site for about two weeks, but i've
just finished rewriting some parts of it in Python for
extensibility.  The implementation consists of a lexical
analyzer and operator precedence parser in Python, a caching
WWW mediator in Perl, and a standalone HTTP server in C which
renders expressions (using any X-Windows-style PCF fonts) and
encodes them as GIF images.

It is also fully extensible right from the start -- to other
notations (currently described in terms of a list of operators
with precedences), other contexts besides mathematics, and
other styles (i.e. representations for other media or user
preferences).  It does not yet do macro expansion, but i have
a design ready and will be implementing that soon as well.
I intend for macro expansion to take place at the level of
the semantic tree (i.e. not on the string before parsing).

Also, i tried a quick little plug-in (not on the site)
for Grail 0.3 (a Python/Tk browser) and things work well;
i was able to browse pages containing mathematics quite
easily with Grail.

The system description on the site is now fairly complete.
I would welcome your thoughts on this work.  


Since Dave invited me to the group i've looked through
some of the messages on the mail archive.  I'm going
to post my comments in response to various issues in
the next few messages, if that's okay.

Thanks for reading,


Ping