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Re: MathML vs HTML math, vs ???

From: Bruce Smith <bruce@wolfram.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 10:31:29 -0800
Message-Id: <v02130502b0f27f9ce44f@[199.182.131.194]>
To: "Gregory A. Landrum" <landrum@hal9000.ac.rwth-aachen.de>
Cc: www-math@w3.org
Dear Dr. Landrum,

You wrote:

>I could be cynical and speculate that the presence of the authors of
>the big math packages on the working group is the reason for the
>incredibly convoluted syntax.  They certainly have a financial
>interest in ensuring that special purpose editors are required, but
>I will refrain from going there.

As an employee of one of "the authors of the big math packages" who
is a member of the HTML-Math WG, I feel compelled to reply to this
point. (I am speaking only for myself; this is not an official
statement from Wolfram Research or from the HTML-Math Working Group.)

Many members of the HTML-Math Working Group share your frustration
with the lack of practical hand-authorability of MathML.

Indeed, Wolfram Research proposed a hand-editable syntax for
HTML-Math similar in many ways to TeX; our proposal had a fair amount
of support in the Working Group, but was ultimately rejected. This
proposal (in an early draft form) is linked to from the public
HTML-Math home page,

  http://www.w3.org/Math/

under the heading

  Working group drafts and background documents

specifically under the URLs

  http://www.ams.org/html-math/wolfram-proposal-960531.html (full description)

  http://www.ams.org/html-math/htmlmath.html (more readable quick guide)

In this proposal, notations like 

  ax^2+bx+c=0

or

  x = {-b &PlusMinus; &root;{b^2-4ac}} &over; 2a

can be used directly. (The notation has been further simplified since
then, but the most recent form is not presently documented on the
web.)

Wolfram Research is considering making this notation available as a
means of hand-authoring MathML, even though our original goal of
having this notation (or a similar one) become an official part of
HTML-Math was not achieved. Please let us know if this would be of
interest to you.

Bruce Smith
<bruce@wolfram.com>
Received on Monday, 26 January 1998 13:33:02 GMT

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