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Re: comments re draft version 2.0

From: Stan Devitt <jsdevitt@radicalflow.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 11:32:56 -0400
Message-ID: <007601bfa3cb$3602b960$6561a8c0@devitt.local>
To: "William F. Hammond" <hammond@csc.albany.edu>, <eppstein@ics.uci.edu>
Cc: <www-math@w3.org>
While you point out a very important development, one which I very much
applaud,  please note that such a translator (tex4moz) does not address the
main issue addressed by the content  elements.

The primary role of the content elements is to allow the author to
explicitly convey the  mathematical structure of the object. This structure
can be quite different  from its visual (aural?) appearance.  For example,
when the author writes  $D^2y$ in tex,   there is no mechanism for the
author to convey the fact that this is, for example,  a differential
operator being applied twice  to the "function" y, rather than a  monomial
of total degree 3.

One could encode such information in TeX or LaTeX by using a library of
macros designed to convey such information and whose definitions are written
down, but this has almost never been done in practice and in any event such
information is lost after the macros have been executed.

One of the challenges with MathML has been to provide some infrastructure
for automatic processing of mathematical data (searches, etc) while
capitalizing on the strengths of the more presentation oriented

There is no requirement to use content elements.  Basically, they are there
to be used when you need to associate  mathematical definitions directly
with constructs.  There is a default collection of "defined" structures and
a means of extending the collection.  All this operates in parallel  with
the presentation side of things more traditionally addressed by TeX.

Developments like tex4moz mean that legacy data and is immediately
available.  This also means that there
is no down time while we collectively learn how to benefit
from more automatic processing of mathematical data on the web.

Stan Devitt

----- Original Message -----
From: William F. Hammond <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
To: <eppstein@ics.uci.edu>
Cc: <www-math@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2000 10:33 AM
Subject: Re: comments re draft version 2.0

> David Eppstein <eppstein@ics.uci.edu> writes to www-math@w3.org:
> > On 4/11/2000 12:32 AM -0400, Stan Devitt wrote:
> > > One of the purposes of this review is to gauge how the needs of the
> > > target user community are being met and comments such as yours help
> > > immensely.
> > .  .  .
> >                                                          ...  but it's
> > hard to see what's missing or awkward just by scanning the spec -- it
> > really takes trying to translate many whole documents from many sources
> > into the new system, and I don't have the time or motivation to do much
> > of that.
> Indeed.
> In a related list Paul Gartside announced that he had placed the
> Gurari translator from LaTeX/TeX, tex4moz, which should be very useful
> in this regard, on his web site with xml (html-with-mathml) examples
> that are ready for Mozilla.  Just be aware that Mozilla is still alpha.
> See "http://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/~gartside/mathzilla/index.html".
>                                       -- Bill
Received on Tuesday, 11 April 2000 11:30:30 UTC

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