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

From: Neil Soiffer <neils@dessci.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 15:47:47 -0700
Message-ID: <D1EFB337111B674B8F1BE155B01C6DD6010639EE@franklin.corp.dessci>
To: <juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com>, <www-math@w3.org>

On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com wrote:
> In a IAP 2006 talk devoted to math on the web
> [http://web.mit.edu/violeta/www/IAP2006/]
> Ian Hutchinson cited some of rendering problems of MathML. One of them
was "often large braces or integrals are > too big".>

I wasn't at Prof. Hutchinson's IAP talk, but I'm sure you have misquoted
or misunderstood what he said.  The MathML spec says, "In practice,
typical renderers will only be able to stretch a small set of
characters, and quite possibly will only be able to generate a discrete
set of character sizes."  It is quite likely that whatever problems
Prof. Hutchinson pointed out are those of the renderer he was showing,
not MathML.  Also, in cases where the default behavior of MathML is not
desired, MathML allows control over how large or small the character
should be (within the constraints of the renderer).

Also to be noted is that Prof. Hutchinson is a proponent of MathML, not
a opponent -- he authored one of the leading TeX to MathML converters
(TtM), and MIT (or at least the Information Services and Technology
Department) endorses the use of MathML:

> > Rendering of large brackets requires positioning of bracket-fragment

> > characters
> There is no such one requirement.

All of the math typesetting systems that I am aware of that have had
widespread usage the last 40 years use fragments for laying out parens,
etc.  Stretching a paren or using a large font size results in
unacceptably poor looking results.  If you have a system for math
typesetting and it doesn't allow positioning of bracket fragments,
either it relies on some new font technology or is producing math
display whose quality has been deemed unacceptable in the past.

Neil Soiffer
Senior Scientist
Design Science, Inc.
~ Makers of Equation Editor, MathType, MathPlayer and MathFlow ~
Received on Tuesday, 11 July 2006 22:47:58 UTC

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