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

From: Bruce Miller <bruce.miller@nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:32:15 -0400
Message-ID: <44BBBB8F.2070201@nist.gov>
To: www-math@w3.org

juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com wrote:
> Mark P. Line wrote:
>> I recently ran a comparison between Java and Python. I installed the Java
>> compiler and the Python compiler/interpreter.
>>
>> I've had to reject Java out of hand because it can't do the things that
>> Python can do -- in fact, it can't do anything at all. It kept telling me
>> there was no JVM installed. Python doesn't require a JVM, and I wanted to
>> compare Java to Python, not Java + JVM to Python. So Java is out and
>> Python is in.
> 
> And then we compare pure CSS with (MathML + fonts + plugins) and if CSS
> cannot render some stretchy constructs, then CSS is out.

Exactly: Compare a properly installed MathML with a properly
installed CSS.
And then, you say, CSS is out? Well, you're welcome to your conclusion.

> Or would CSS will be improved by a JS module generating large brackets
> from fragments before comparison?
> 
> That is, the main idea is you can add anything you want to the MathML side
> (fonts, plugins, conversors, input sintaxes, zips, XSLT, special and DTDs,
> entities...) but only pure CSS is left to the CSS side.

Oooh, that's _soo_ unfair: MathML gets to have DTD's and entities!!!!

I'm not too sure about "conversors", but MathML doesn't have
any "input sintaxes", as you've so prolifically pointed out.
In fact, as I recall, you were promising to develop one.
Clearly, as you imply, the input syntax itself must be trivial;
it must only be because MathML is so bad that keeps you from delivering.

However, any math input syntax worthy of the name will easily
be translated to _any_ backend math representation.

Here's a proposal:
  Develop your math input syntax along with conversions to
Good representations like XML-Maiden or span+CSS  w/ or w/o JS
or whatever. Then, put a clothespin on your nose if you must,
and develop the converter to horrible, nasty MathML.

When you've done that, I'm sure the community will happy to
look at your work.  I'm looking forward to it.

-- 
bruce.miller@nist.gov
http://math.nist.gov/~BMiller/
Received on Monday, 17 July 2006 16:30:54 GMT

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