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MathML and the problem with xhtml vs. html

From: William F. Hammond <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
Date: 12 Jul 2002 10:55:42 -0400
Message-ID: <i7bs9d2dxt.fsf_-_@hilbert.math.albany.edu>

[The previous posting from me today in comp.text.xml on the topic of
"the problem with xhtml vs. html" flew away too soon.]

Peter Flynn <peter@silmaril.ie> writes:

> > So should I be naming my documents *.html instead of *.xhtml, or
> > am I doing something else wrong instead?
> I'd do that anyway, because XHTML is just a variant syntax of HTML.
> I don't see any gain in using .xhtml

I agree that, in principle, XHTML is just the next generation form of
HTML, and in a rational universe, it should be served as "text/html".
File system suffixes may have application associations on a given
platform but _not_ across the network (if only for obvious security

There is, however, what appears to be something of an unwritten truce
among major user agents that is enabled by a substantial bit of XSLT
wizardry from David Carlisle of NAG, a substantial contributor to both
the LaTeX Project and the W3C MathML group.

The technique should be adaptable to single service web offerings
without the hazards of content negotiation even though MathML is not
involved when the content provider is comfortable assuming (or
"requiring") that her audience has web browsers supporting XSLT.
The assumption is fast becoming reasonable.

One of the very first compelling reasons to switch from classic HTML
to the XML form of HTML is that MathML ( http://www.w3.org/Math/ ) is
available as a namespace extension of HTML only with the XML form of

There is now -- since the June 29 unveiling in Chicago of David
Carlisle's XSLT sheets for universal handling of math in web pages --
a way ** with _one_ XHTML file ** to have MathML in web pages that
"works out of the box" with (1) Mozilla 1.0, (2) NetScape 7.0, and
(3) IE 6.0 [when augmented by a plugin such as the cost-free
MathPlayer from http://www.dessci.com/] .

(See the notes at

     http://www.mathmlconference.org/2002/presentations/carlisle/ ,

the slides at


and the examples at

              http://www.w3.org/Math/XSL/cmathml.xml .)

This stage of math on the web is the result of 7 years of hard work.

Many thanks to everyone who made this possible, especially
David Carlisle and Robert Miner of Design Science.

                                    -- Bill

William F. Hammond                   Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics
518-442-4625                                  The University at Albany
hammond@math.albany.edu                      Albany, NY 12222 (U.S.A.)
http://www.albany.edu/~hammond/                Dept. FAX: 518-442-4731
Received on Friday, 12 July 2002 10:55:54 UTC

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