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Re: political strategy for MathML

From: Neil Soiffer <soiffer@wolfram.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 11:32:40 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <199910281832.LAA04214@wolfram.com>
To: hammond@csc.albany.edu (William F. Hammond)
Cc: www-math@w3.org
> MathML is much more granular than either xhtml or docbook, both of
> which *can* be edited by hand.  While I have nearly ended my period
> of editing html by hand, I doubt if hand-editing of docbook is about
> to disappear.
> 
> I find this lack of parllelism bothersome in the case of docbook even
> though it is not a formal problem.  (Of course, there is a way of
> viewing things so that those who create docbook docs spin them out
> from personal or house document types.)
> 
> Would, for example, anyone care to show us something that is a
> reasonable editing interface (aside from CAS GUI authoring systems)
> for docbook+ezmath or something similar just to boost our confidence
> in the idea of docbook+mathml?
> 
> If it comes down to the situation that the only way MathML will ever
> be created in the real world is with CAS output, then I wonder at what
> time it becomes credible that mass market pc's will be delivered
> having browsers that handle MathML out of the box?

I have no idea why you rule out "CAS GUI authoring systems", which I
suspect is a category into which you include Mathematica.  Mathematica
is far more than a "CAS GUI authoring system", as evidenced by our
publicon product which has nothing to do with computer algebra, numerical
calculation, graphics, or for that matter "technical computing" which is
the market that Mathematica serves.  Mathematica V4 generates HTML w/MathML,
both from what you type and what is computed by the system.  It does
not directly support DocBook, but can be made into a very good DocBook
w/MathML authoring system with some work:

1.  Create a style sheet that corresponds to the styles/tags allowed
in DocBook.  Depending on how fancy you want the styles to be shown,
this will take a few hours to a couple of days.

2.  Write a program to convert the notebook to XML/DocBook.
This is essentially an syntactic transformation and is very simple.
An experienced Mathematica user could do this in less than an hour (I
know someone who did this sort of thing in 15 minutes).  Someone who only
uses Mathematica occasionally would probably spend a few hours on this.

3.  Start writing documents using the DocBook stylesheet created in '1'.


Wolfram Research plans to release style sheets for the major XML DTDs
when it becomes clear what are the major DTDs.  Until then, you have to
create your own style sheet, or check on MathSource to see if someone
else has contributed one.

	Neil Soiffer
	Wolfram Research
Received on Thursday, 28 October 1999 14:29:28 GMT

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