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Re: As good as LaTeX?

From: Robert Miner <RobertM@dessci.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 10:29:25 -0600
Message-Id: <200412081629.iB8GTPv11075@wisdom.geomtech.com>
To: wconstan@insightful.com
CC: www-math@w3.org


Hi.

> Ultimately, I want the ability to be able to create those beautiful
> LaTeX quality equations so that they can directly be displayed in a
> web browser.
> 
> Questions: Will MathML facilitate complicated equations as does LaTeX?
> Is it conceivable that LaTeX equations may be entered within
> special MathML tag(s) so that conversion is done "behind the scenes"?

If you want the LaTeX rendering engine to format your math, then you
have to use LaTeX.  To go to the web, your choices are to produce
images or PDF, and that is the end of the story.

If you merely want high-quality math formatting in a browser, then
there are many other options.  MathML opens the door to a number of
them, including the native support in Mozilla/Netscape/Firefox,
MathPlayer in Internet Explorer, and Integre techexplorer in many
browsers.  Each of these technologies have their own substantial
advantages over LaTeX-generated images and PDF.  Generally, they lose
less information, so that the mathematical notation can match the
surrounding text in size, baseline alignment, font and color scheme,
flow with the text, be cut and pasted for reuse in other applications
such as scientific computation software, be searched, be spoken and
synchronously highlighted for those with visual and learning
disabilities, etc.

If you are just looking to continue using LaTeX or LaTeX-like syntax,
as others have mentioned, there are many, many converters and
translators.  Some go to MathML for display.  Some go to other formats
such and images, SVG, etc. In particular, it sounds like you want to
author (X)HTML, but use LaTeX math syntax for embedded math.  There
are several converters aimed at supporting just exactly this model.
Some of my favorites targeting MathML are:

 WebEQ Publisher <http://www.dessci.com/en/products/webeq>
 itex2mml  <http://pear.math.pitt.edu/mathzilla/>
 ASCIImath <http://www1.chapman.edu/~jipsen/mathml/asciimath.html>

Another one worthy of mention that uses plain TeX + fonts + JavaScript
+ CSS is jsMath <http://www.math.union.edu/~dpvc/jsMath/welcome.html>

Finally, if you haven't done so, take a look at the page of MathML
software at:

 http://www.w3.org/Math/implementations.html

The packages I have mentioned and many others are described and linked
there. 

--Robert


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Dr. Robert Miner                                RobertM@dessci.com
W3C Math Interest Group Co-Chair                      651-223-2883
Design Science, Inc.   "How Science Communicates"   www.dessci.com
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Received on Wednesday, 8 December 2004 16:30:17 GMT

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