Meeting Notes 24-June-96

Phone Conference:  24th June 1996


Robert Miner
Neil Soiffer
Patrick Ion
Dave Raggett

** HTML-ERB Meeting in Torronto

This was held June 20/21. I invited Steve Hunt (Wolfram) to attend
to discuss the issues that need to be resolved to effectively support
math plugins. This seems to involve some basic API issues such as
being able to set the size of the visible area at run time based on
the size of the expression being rendered. We also want the baseline
and font characteristics etc. The ability to place math expressions
inline as part of a paragraph with line breaking, suggests we need
API support for non-contiguous regions, where an expression is
broken into parts across successive lines in the paragraph.

The HTML-ERB liked the idea but wanted to make sure that it wasn't
restricted to math alone. For instance one could use it for other
notations for chemistry etc. We pictured a notation element with
an attribute giving a media type that is used to find the plugin
code that interprets the contents of the element.

The meeting deferred discussions of process, e.g. for how to
progress specifications once the ERB has reached consensus, to
a new W3C process committee that is being set up as a result of
the recent W3C advisory committee meeting. This will effect how
the Math ERB works too.

The meeting gave the go ahead on the next version of HTML which
will include support for style sheets, scripting, frames, the OBJECT
tag and extensions for forms. It won't include the MATH tags at this
point. We made good progess on all of these areas individually. 

** W3C Working Drafts for Math Proposal

Bruce needs to produce W3C Working Drafts for his proposal.
We briefly discussed this. It would appear that two drafts
can be written: the first on the syntax and semantics for
the notation, and the second on the entity names and symbol
glyphs. The latter can start out with a small set to be
fleshed out as work proceeds. Bruce should be able to
fit his current text into the template used by W3C Working
Drafts. For examples, see: http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/TR

** Work on Public Domain Java Implementation

Dave will be working for two weeks in July at the W3C European
site in France. Dave intends to work with Robert Miner on
a public domain Java implementation. Robert has implemented
the display schema proposed by Bruce, and expects Dave to
provide the operator precedence parser and transformation
mechanism that creates the tree of display schema.

** Dave's Reduced Time Availablity

From August, Dave will be working part-time only at W3C due to
external committments. As a result, he is searching for someone
else to take over as chair of the Math ERB. Ron Whitney has
been proposed - Dave is in the process of contacting Ron for
his reaction.

** Mandate for W3C Math ERB

At the recent W3C Advisory Committee meeting, the subject came
up of the mandate for the Math ERB. As a result W3C will be asking
members organizations if they wish to nominate people to work on
the ERB. This is expected to add a few new people - most companies
seem content to leave the Math ERB as it is.

** Carlos Bazzarella and EqnViewer

Carlos works for a newly formed company spun off from the University
of Waterloo.  Poliplus Software have developed a standalone math tool
for the Macintosh aimed at high schools. It provides a simplified
version of the features found with high end tools such as Mathematica
3.0 and Waterloo Maple. They have recently ported the software to
Java, see: http://www.hookup.net/~cbazza/EqnViewer.html

Unfortunately it currently relies on access to the symbol font from
Java, which doesn't work on most Java implementations, which are
limited to a serif, sans-serif and fixed pitch font. This should be
solved in Java 1.1 which will offer support for TrueType and Type 1
fonts using code from Adobe. They are sending me a demo for the Mac.

Carlos would like to join the Math ERB, but I want to wait until
I have seen the demo before going any further. I welcome the opinions
of the group in this respect.

Dave Raggett