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

From: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 17:50:14 +0100
Message-Id: <200607131650.k6DGoEo9016937@edinburgh.nag.co.uk>
To: juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com
Cc: www-math@w3.org




> CSS techniques to render mathematics can be used for HTML, XML,
> XHTML...

yes but to what extent you can style any particular expression depends
on the markup used. If you go <span>a+b</span> you can't really style
the a b and + separately with css, nor can you ensure that the spacing
is adequate.In order to do that you need a more mathml like markup with
<span><span class="i">a</span><span class="o">+</span><span
class="i">b</span></span>
Which is one reason MathML is the way it is, to allow per-character
styling and font changes as required in math typesetting. Just saying
"use CSS" is meaningless without some indication of the target markup
that CSS is styling.

> However, prof. Ian Hutchinson (the father of one of the MathML tools)
> cited as one of anyonances of MathML rendering at the beginning of this
> year in a IAP talk about mathematics on the web

So Ian is saying his personal preference differs from the usual
conventions of mathematical typesetting. That's fine (so do some of
mine) MathML allows those differences but the defaults follow the usual 
(in certain cultures) conventions. 


> > Choice of fonts is again largely a feature of the renderer, not of the
> > markup and would obviously apply equally to any markup system.

> And are annoyances or not as said in the talk?

It's quite funny that you highlight non-use of TeX fonts as an annoyance
since your earlier complaint about mozilla was that it (had the option
of using) TeX fonts. In any case the solution is the same whether you
use MathML or html for markup or anything else: use a mathematical font
set designed to work better in a web browser than the cm fonts (which are
very light) The mathematica fonts or (one day) stix fonts are
possibilities as is the new math font that comes with the ms word 2007
beta (if that's allowed by the licence it's eventually distributed
with). So whether or not this is an annoyance has nothing to do with mathml.


> Sorry but again I would say you that one can render matrices in CSS 2
> without joining fragments not rely on special fonts. Please visit some of
> links I cited.

I've visited some of your links and seen some examples with a+b and the
occasional fraction, but nothng that would require any real mathematical
typesetting notation. If your CSS solution is just scaling up single
characters it's not really a solution, if it's not doing that, what is
it doing?

> Of course, you choosed a simple prototipical example where aligment is
> good. Somewhat as fraction 3/2 renders nice in your CSS approach but
> {x^2}/5 would render a bit distorted, true?

Not really, alignment of the = sign with the surrounding text is
independent of the rest of the expression, as is the fact that alignment
of the matrices is unaffected by the surrounding brackets So these
features are a feature of MathMl rendering independent of the simplicty
of the expressions.

David
Received on Thursday, 13 July 2006 16:50:56 GMT

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