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Re: Method to get math to the most people?

From: Robert Miner <rminer@geomtech.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 21:37:50 -0600
Message-Id: <199912190337.VAA29051@wisdom.geomtech.com>
To: hutch@psfc.mit.edu
CC: RogerBlake@btinternet.com, www-math@w3.org


Hi Ian,

You and Roger Blake wrote:

| > >MathML does not work with any popular browser yet, and there seems little
| > >prospect of it being incorporated soon into IE.
| > 
| > Depends what you mean by soon, and on what degree of typographic perfection
| > you require of the rendering. I know of at least one company that has worked
| > on stylesheets for MathML in IE5 and believe this work has progressed
| > substantially, although not yet available.
| 
| Depends what you mean by "incorporated". Anything that requires a reader
| explicitly to install some new package on their browser is in practice
| inaccessible to the general reader. If you have to send a whole stylesheet
| to translate the MathML into native layout with every page, the mind
| boggles as to how cumbersome it would be.

From my interaction with people on the IE team, I think it is true
that it will be a while before we see a native IE implementation, they
have been really supportive of the stylesheet/plug-in route to MathML
rendering.  For example, I believe a few extra font properties have
been exposed just to help with Math.  IE5 is a very much improved
platform for plug-in technologies than we have had available in the
past.

I also think it is a bit extreme to imply that installing some sort of
plug-in is a crippling obstacle to that method for MathML rendering.
Automatic software delivery and installation systems have gotten quite
sophisticated and are improving.  And although the group of people who
have access to IE5 is admittedly somewhat selective, it is still a
large group, and incorporates a lot of researchers and educators.  And
as a precedent, most of these people also use Acrobat, a plug-in.

To make the discussion concrete, take a look at the beta preview of
the new WebEQ Math Viewer for IE5 at

   http://www.webeq.com/preview

I have a bit of a math paper I translated using TtM.  (And TtM is
great.  Thank you!  This is a real contribution to the MathML cause,
which is doubly praiseworthy since I don't think you are really a big
fan of pointy brackets ;-)

It still has a number of the old WebEQ weaknesses, but it also has
some nice improvements.  There is also a new embded editor control for
getting input back from readers.

--Robert

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Robert Miner                          http://www.webeq.com
Geometry Technologies, Inc.           email: rminer@geomtech.com
                                      phone: 651-223-2884
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Received on Saturday, 18 December 1999 22:38:03 GMT

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