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Re: textual math dtd ?

From: William F Hammond <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
Date: Fri, 08 Oct 2004 12:12:05 -0400
To: Paul Libbrecht <paul@activemath.org>
Cc: www-math@w3.org
Message-ID: <i77jq12nqi.fsf@hilbert.math.albany.edu>

Paul Libbrecht <paul@activemath.org> writes, quoting Stephan Semirat:

>>> is there anything standard in writing document that contains math ?
>> Well, thanks for the answers.
>> It finally seems that there is no positive answer to the question
>> above...

I think that is correct IF the word "standard" in Semirat's question
refers to something in the category described that dominates common
usage.  But in the overall category of article-level mathematical
documents TeX (mainly LaTeX) is the standard.  I'm not aware, for
example, of any article-level document having been submitted so far to
Paul Ginsparg's ArXiv (http://www.arxiv.org/) in an author-level SGML
or XML document type.

. . .
> I think the problem is to define the purposes: for example if one
> wants to have really re-usable documents (e.g. that will still be
> presentable long term, or that can offer machine processing,
> or... that offers copy-and-paste of math formulae), one needs to
> strive for semantics.

If one wants a standard in the sense of dominate common usage, reaching
for semantics may be a step too far at this time for article-level
documents unless the use of semantics is strictly optional for the

Another issue is online presentation.  So far the standard in the
sense of dominant common usage for online presentation is PDF.  I
would submit, however, that XHTML+MathML viewed in Mozilla or Firefox
is now a form of online content superior to PDF, and it will only
become better as (or must I say "if"?) more fonts become available.

A huge issue in order for an sgml or xml document type to gain
critical mass in usage is making it something for which authors are
willing to reach.  (This is the reason that gellmu "article" has
a LaTeX-like front end.)

Bear in mind that SGML has been around for at least 20 years and XML
for 10.

                                    -- Bill
Received on Friday, 8 October 2004 16:19:40 UTC

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