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

Re: Formal query about WG role and MathML-FAQ

From: Bruce Miller <bruce.miller@nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 12:55:25 -0500
Message-ID: <4415B20D.4020704@nist.gov>
To: juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com
CC: www-math@w3.org

juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com wrote:
> Dear sirs,

You seem to be demanding an official response of the Math WG.
I cannot give that, but can reply individually.

> I began the development of a website based in XHTML 1.1 strict + MathML
> 2.0 some time ago. See
> http://www.canonicalscience.com/en/researchzone/nanothermodynamics.xml
> or
> http://www.canonicalscience.com/en/researchzone/canonical.xml
> for examples.

Visually very attractive pages, but alas they are extremely hard
to read.

> Initially, i used tools from the MathML implementation page, but none of
> them fit all our requirements. In fact, some famous editors offered wrong
> output in some of our tests when compared to free tools. Finally, some
> equations may be fine-tuned by hand. But the big problem is with next
> stage of website. I then decided direct input for the math, but since
> MathML is too verbose, this implies development of an input sintax.
> In the Technical MathML Issues of the FAQ one can read
> {query}
> Does the WG still intend to develop a short form input syntax as part of
> MathML ?
> {answer}
> During the development of MathML it has become clear that the requirements
> on input syntaxes vary so widely that no single syntax will satisfy all
> users. Various members of the WG have developed input syntaxes for their
> particular tools. The WG will provide technical advice to all those who
> are involved in the development of input syntaxes for MathML-aware tools.
> Input syntaxes do not form part of the core MathML recommendation.

Developing a language that is easy and concise to type and which
conveys not only the intended semantics but also the intended presentation
is rather hard, wouldn't you say?

> Then i contacted with several authors of the MathML specification and
> received none reply about this. Next, i submitted an official plea to the
> MathML list.
> Choosing a notation for CanonMath (review of MathML)
> [http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-math/2006Feb/0012.html]
> Until now, i have received none reply from WG. I find just curioust to
> read, for instance, David Carlishe replies to others MathML topics
> surrounding my post of 17 February, whereas ignoring my own.
> is it the ignoring of emails and mailing list posts the usual attitude for
> the MathML specification?

Ignored? Or alternatively, simply didn't have any constructive comments.
But if you insist...

Your proposals seem to be both about developing a new input syntax
and developing a new math markup.   As to the latter, I personally would
rather work to improve the existing math markup(s) than develop yet another.
[I'm not clear why you would expect an official response from the
Math WG on this point]

Devising an alternative input syntax that can be converted
to MathML, or OpenMath or such, seems a perfectly legitimate goal.  
While your proposed syntax may be somewhat more concise
than mathml, IMHO, it seems to give up a lot to get there.  The infix notation
would seem to be difficult to manipulate with DOM and XSLT, and would
be even more incompatible with CSS (for full rendering w/o native support)
than mathml is.  In other words, it doesn't particularly solve any problems
that I personally need solved; but that, of course, does not mean that your
ideas are bad or wrong or whatever. 

Unless you're asking the Math WG to adopt your syntax as the
official alternative syntax (and even if you are), it would seem
most beneficial to build a community _outside_ of the Math WG
that likes your approach and wants to develop and use it.

> An official attitude from mine will be taken this weeek and submited to
> Canonical Science Today.
> Juan R.

Received on Monday, 13 March 2006 17:52:32 UTC

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