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Re: As good as LaTeX?

From: William F Hammond <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2004 15:33:11 -0500
To: www-math@w3.org
Message-ID: <i7hdmwwmwo.fsf@hilbert.math.albany.edu>

David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk> writes:

> The main difficulty is multi line displayed mathematics, the problem
> here is not so much a difference between the languages, so much as the
> way they are used:
> The TeXbook says of this:
>   It's quite an art to decide how to break long displayed formulas into
>   several lines; TeX never attempts to break them, because no set of
>                  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>   rules is really adequate. The author of a mathematical manuscript is
>   generally the best judge of what to do, since break positions depend
>   on subtle factors of mathematical exposition. For example, it is often
>   desirable to emphasize some of the symmetry or other structure that
>   underlies a formula, and such things require a solid understanding of
>   exactly what is going on in that formula.
> So in TeX all line breaking is manual, and in LaTeX we have the many
> different flavour of alignment possibilities given by the amsmath
> package for example.

Exactly.  The LaTeX and amsmath display models are good, and they can
be modelled in author-level XML.

I've talked quite a bit with colleagues about this.  So far everyone
agrees that online displays should not be broken except as explicitly
provided by the author.  So when a browser window becomes too small --
and this has been part of my conversations -- I think it correct to
say that the math community wants displays to be overscanned.  That
is, a visual user agent should provide for horizonal scrolling.  CSS
makes this easy to arrange.

                                    -- Bill
Received on Wednesday, 8 December 2004 20:33:14 UTC

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