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Re: Formal query about WG role and MathML-FAQ

From: <juanrgonzaleza@canonicalscience.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 06:10:22 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <3208.>
To: <www-math@w3.org>

Bruce Miller said:
> 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.

Just seem?

I thank your individual reply.

>> 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.

Yes, I agree. Reading will be improved in next version using last studies
on readability.

>> 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?

Well, it is so hard for me as it can be for others. However, please note
that I simply cited the official FAQ in above paragraphs without add
anything. I was simply expressing my disappointing by receiving none
official support when official FAQ says the contrary.

>> 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...

At least people who I am aware to work tacitly differences "ignored" from
"absence of constructive comments." People working in CML and ASCIIMATH
who contacted with me was aware to see the difference also, via mailing me
some "Sorry, I have no constructive comments for you" or similar, whereas
WG members and authors of MathML simply do not replied.

> 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 think that was clear I was developing an input syntax for MathML. Take
my February post here (emphasis mine): "We wait the WG will provide some
technical advice in the development of the ***CanonMath input syntax for
MathML*** [www.w3.org/Math/mathml-faq.html]."

Moreover, I fail to understand your last point.

> [I'm not clear why you would expect an official response from
> the
> Math WG on this point]

On developing an input syntax for MathML? simply read the official MathML

> 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.

Yes, the infix notation is more difficult to manipulate via DOM or XSLT
and there are difficulties to use with CSS. I already said that in the
website time ago! I carefully said about those problems and how I was
trying to solve them (XPath, XSL-FO, etc.)

In fact, the template needed for transform from infix notation to MathML
markup would be as "complex" as 10-12 trivial lines of XSLT. First one
transform from mixed to pure markup in block via a template, next one
selects the text nodes already tokenised via XPath positions before/after
the operator tag (e.g. <fraction/>).

Again, I fail to completely understand you. Apparently, you are claiming
that infix notation would be an impediment for the success and,
apparently, you take this point against CanonMath development I have read
you correctly here. Take the example of ASCIIMath, it is listed at w3c
website as one of input sintaxes for MathML; ASCIIMath works with both
infix notation and DOM manipulations. It is so (in)compatible with CSS as
MathML already is.

> 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.
> --
> bruce.miller@nist.gov
> http://math.nist.gov/~BMiller/

Juan R.

Received on Tuesday, 14 March 2006 14:10:37 UTC

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