Re: Semantics, Macros, etc

Sorry for replying to this message so late.  I hope that enough
of you manage to see this reply before the teleconference that,
should this topic arise, someone can convey what my point of view is.

Ron Whitney wrote:
> Ping: how would you accommodate the groups 1 & 3 of Robert's List?

My general position is that while MINSE intends to be renderable
across as wide a range of media as possible, it is flexible enough
that -- if you really want to -- there is nothing to prevent you
from including more presentation-like constructs, just as there is
nothing preventing people from using <FONT> and <B> in HTML (but
HTML has no well-defined extension mechanism, while MINSE does).

rminer@geom.umn.edu wrote:
> My feeling is that the majority of authors in category 1. want
> notational markup, and would have trouble with a heavily semantics
> based system such as Ping's.
Where given the choice, i choose semantics so that people will
get them "for free", basically.  Especially for Robert's case 1,
secondary and undergraduate-level notation, i still haven't seen
any counterexamples to my belief that MINSE is at least as easy
-- if not easier -- to write math with than, say, TeX.

> A second consequence is that heavy users of macros and annotations are
> well down on the list, and that people who are likely to get
> themselves into trouble with an extremely extensible system are
> further up.

I'd like to know exactly what is meant by this.  *What* gets these
people into trouble if they never use macros or extensibility features?

I'd like to dispel the notion that MINSE is *inherently* difficult
or complicated "just because it has semantics".  I think it's about
as concise and readable as you could reasonably expect (actually,
more readable than WP-notation in some cases).

> Thus my preference is that HTML Math be relatively
> complete and terse for users in category 1.  I would hope that users
> in this category could get by with defining relatively few macros, and
> these could be of the simple "abbreviation with arguments" type.

I believe that MINSE *is* simple and terse for users in category 1.
It's supposed to be designed that way.  The power of programmability
is not there to get in your way, and it's not just for the sake of
other rendering media, either -- it also can help to give higher-quality
visual rendering with less work from the author.

       3B Computer Engineering, Waterloo (on exchange in Tottori, Japan)
http://www.lfw.org/math/ brings math to the Web as easy as <se>?pi?</se>