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Mathematical selection

From: Paul Libbrecht <paul@activemath.org>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2006 16:19:23 +0200
Message-ID: <4427F46B.4000905@activemath.org>
To: Public MathML mailing list <www-math@w3.org>


Hello,

in the experience of developing copy-and-paste of mathematical formulae 
for ActiveMath we came to the following two (ideal) requirements a 
browser should satisfy to provide user-friendly copy-and-paste of formulae.

- one of them is to allow HTML-pages to receive and give clipboards 
content in a safe way... I'm pushing this idea at the 
public-webapi@w3.org mailing list currently

- the other is more mathematical and is the subject of the mail: 
currently selection of formulae is done as text selection which often 
yields "non mathematical" results, such as the selection of "a+b" in 
"3*a+b".

I am unclear about a clean definition of mathematical selection. The 
best I could find thus far would be to select "sub-terms" only which, I 
believe, correspond to subtrees in a MathML-content or OpenMath matching 
tree. Comments welcome there.

How can we enable a "mathematical selection" ?

A level 1 approach would be to rely directly on the tree structure of 
MathML-presentation, enlarging text selection by the smallest subtree 
containing it, this is not a complete solution as sometimes terms have 
to be output using several boxes... but it's an easy and universal one.

A level 2 approach would be to work with parallel markup and enlarge any 
text selection to the presentation match of the smallest 
content-sub-tree containing the content-match of the smallest 
presentation sub-tree containing the selected text (!).

Comments welcome!

paul
Received on Monday, 27 March 2006 14:19:38 GMT

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