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Re: Latex to Mathml translators

From: Robert Miner <RobertM@dessci.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:27:17 -0500
Message-Id: <200309161727.h8GHRHb26704@wisdom.geomtech.com>
To: osserman@math.mit.edu
Cc: www-math@w3.org


Hi.

> Does the phrase 'legacy data' here imply that you expect that MathML
> will eventually replace tex as a primary data format? If so, how do
> you envision this happening, given MathML unsuitability for direct
> authoring?

I used "legacy" to merely mean "pre-existing".  I've no interest in
fighting a religious war about whether TeX is the wave of the future
or not.  People are free to use whatever software suits them as far as
I'm concerned.  

As to direct authoring, I presume you mean writing code with a text
editor.  While most folks working with MathML have been primarily
interested in graphical authoring, it is a simple matter to define a
terse language and compile it into MathML.  After all, that is the
model of TeX itself, compiling a various macro languages into DVI.
It's merely a shame that TeX syntax is not normally regular enough to
be particularly well suited to going to XML + MathML, as witnessed by
the weakness of current TeX -> XML + MathML converters.

But it really is a triviality to come up with a language as terse as
TeX that maps directly and unambiguously to some XML + MathML doc
type.  For example, just changing <foo>...</foo> to \foo{...} and
adding some default tokenization rules (that can be easily overridden)
makes authoring MathML comparable to authoring TeX.  Its just that
there evidently hasn't been enough of a demand for it for anyone to
have written a compiler yet...

--Robert

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Dr. Robert Miner                                RobertM@dessci.com
MathML 2.0 Specification Co-editor                    651-223-2883
Design Science, Inc.   "How Science Communicates"   www.dessci.com
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Received on Tuesday, 16 September 2003 13:26:56 GMT

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