W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-math@w3.org > April 2008

Re: Exploring new vocabularies for HTML

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 18:11:32 +0300
Cc: Neil Soiffer <Neils@dessci.com>, Bruce Miller <bruce.miller@nist.gov>, Sam Ruby <rubys@us.ibm.com>, Robert Miner <robertm@dessci.com>, David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>, public-html@w3.org, www-math@w3.org
Message-Id: <5CFCAD83-D09E-4F94-9513-393E7C122327@iki.fi>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

On Apr 1, 2008, at 09:25, Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Mon, 31 Mar 2008, Neil Soiffer wrote:
>> There have been theoretical arguments that it allows data to be out  
>> of
>> sync, but practice has shown that this is a minor concern at best.
> On the contrary, experience with the Web has shown that including
> redundant data (e.g. accessibility metadata, page description  
> metadata,
> and so forth) is actively harmful, as it is almost always out of  
> sync with
> the data seen by most users. It is also the case that most people  
> wouldn't
> know it was available.

Yes, allowing invisible alternative content for the less common use  
cases is anti-pattern in general, but I think parsing Content MathML  
into the DOM with display:none; is a relatively low-cost addition to  
enabling Presentation MathML. I'd rather let Content MathML then stand  
or fall on its merits on the market instead of deliberately poisoning  
its parsing.

What do we lose if we ask browsers put Content MathML branches into  
the DOM and export them to the clipboard on copy? If Wolfram,  
Waterloo, Design Science, etc. do something insanely great on paste,  
that's excellent. If not, the browser-side investment will have been  
small and the great experimentation cost will have been in the  
computer algebra packages.

Yes, discoverability for users will be a problem, but a plausible use  
case for copy-pasteable semantics is in course material. In that case,  
discovering the presence of copyable Content MathML on a per-course  
basis is enough and it isn't a problem of discovering things on random  
Web sites.

> I would imagine that a much better and more
> productive way to provide Content MathML to users would be to  
> include the
> Presentational MathML inline, and then have links for users to  
> download
> separate MathML files containing the Content MathML.

Um. That's the longdesc model. That's even more of an anti-pattern  
than putting the alternative into the same HTTP resource.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Tuesday, 1 April 2008 15:12:18 UTC

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