W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-math@w3.org > July 2006

Re: Math on the web without MathML (CSS 2.1 rendering for HTML and XML)

From: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2006 10:55:22 +0100
Message-Id: <200607050955.k659tMXv015518@edinburgh.nag.co.uk>
To: juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com
Cc: www-math@w3.org

  Could you cite examples of mathematical formulae can be rendered via
  MathML cannot be via CSS, please?

the issue of availability of mathematical symbols is completely separate
from the issue of what markup to use. Currently most mathematical fonts
that are available are not in Unicode positions so either your renderer
needs to have special knowledge of the fonts or the user needs to use
some font tools to re-arrange the fonts so they do have internal Unicode
tables. Neither of these situations is optimal, but that's life and it's
irrelevant to any discussion of the merits or otherwise of MathML

CSS (as specified) gets more powerful and CSS (as implemented) gets
closer to the specification so the answer of what can or can not be
reasonably displayed just with CSS changes each time you look. As I've
showed I put quite some effort into seeing how far you could get some
years ago. It's possible that you can get further now, which is good,
but I have yet to see a reasonable rendering of any stretchy operator
(large brackets in particular) just using CSS, similarly I have yet to
see a good way of positioning superscripts on large operators. (It's
quite common  to have a superscript on a matrix for example).
Also of course it depends what you mean by "with css" You can of course
use css absolute positioning and place any character (including
charaters representing fragments of large brackets) anywhere. You can get
very high quality by doing that but in practical terms the markup that
would be required is not useable unless it is generated mechanically. This is
essentially what the jsmath system does (as far as I understand what
it's doing) using javascript to parse a tex like syntax and position
everything with css.

Do you have a reasonable xml input syntax (or even better mathml input
syntax) and a set of css rules that can display large brackets and
superscripts on lareg expressions? If so that would be very interesting.

Received on Wednesday, 5 July 2006 09:56:02 UTC

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