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

From: <juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 09:16:52 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <3157.>
To: <www-math@w3.org>

Bruce Miller wrote:
> juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com wrote:
>> It would be not the first time is claimed that the MathML WG reinvented
>> the wheel whereas ignored other specs. Hakon Wium Lie, from w3c CSS WG,
>> wrote last month,
>> <blockquote>
>> Historically, it's a common mistake to develop markup systems without
>> giving much thought to presentation. [...] Given that CSS existed when
>> MathML was created, I think the developers made a mistake by not creating
>> a markup language that could be presented using existing CSS properties.
>> </blockquote>
> While it certainly would have been a nicer world had MathML fit
> better into the CSS scheme, this criticism is, I think, extremely
> unfair.
> The CSS1 spec came out at the end of 1996, the MathML spec near
> the beginning of 1998; roughly a year apart, which means that
> most of the development was going on in parallel.  Decent
> implementation of CSS, of course, took even longer.

Today, many browsers have decent implementation of CSS. Only Mozilla (and
w3c Amaya) has partial implementation of p-MathML and not of content

Moreover, the CSS spec was BEFORE and MathML WG completely ignored it.

> Perhaps there should have been more awareness of CSS within the
> Math group.  But the Math group could hardly have designed MathML to
> render as anything vaguely resembling mathematics using
> "the existing CSS properties" of CSS1.  Surely, Hakon Lie must
> recognize that. I'd challenge even a CSS wiz like George to do that :

I understand that Lie said "a markup language that could be presented
using existing CSS properties." Not "a markup language that would be
restricted to using existing CSS properties."

If available CSS properties were not sufficient, then the MathML WG would
present us: content MathML + CSS-Math module. Instead they presented us
that messy and completely inadequate system called p-MathML that
mathematicians and others are masively rejecting.

They presented us a MathML system is completely inadequate for the web and
would stop from being served on the Internet. What is the point to do
exactly the same errors that presentational HTML but powered to the 10
power now?

Why <font> was harmfull in HTML and eliminated from specs but lots of
inefficient <mstyle> are nice today?

Why after of many years, Distler blog is still unable to render something
so simple as {ds}^2 (last time i saw it rendered as roman!), why most of
people at WHATWG rejected MathML? Why CSS approach can render better the
fraction contained in canonical science today that the MathML approach
that distort the spacing for numerator? Why...

I believe that the real problem then was that the MathML WG thought that
CSS was not winner, ignored lesson from the ISO 12083 + DSSSL world and
decided reinvent the wheel. Somewhat as today we see MathML folks claiming
that a CSS approach _cannot_ render matrices, when just ***can*** (and
surprise when can a CSS approach to that!) and with a bit of work and
better CSS implementations CSS can render matrices better than p-MathML

Juan R.

Received on Friday, 14 July 2006 16:17:18 GMT

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