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Re: Supporting MathML and SVG in text/html, and related topics

From: <juan@canonicalscience.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 01:20:58 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <36507.>
To: <public-html@w3.org>, <www-math@w3.org>

Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> I considered this, but in the end decided this approach was not tractable.
> Introducing yet another syntax style would likely not make things easier
> for authors overall, especially considering they would have to work out
> what it meant for CSS and scripting.

But MathML verbosity implies authors *may* learn new applications, often
with own syntaxes: Mathematica, IteX, ASCIIMath, GellMu, OOF...

In the end, you will do it more complex not more simple.

> MathML can be searched, stored, printed, and is apparently accessible. It
> isn't clear what can be done to address maintainability in any math
> language that is tag-based.

Binary can be also searched, stored, and printed. Ian, the promises of
MathML are well-known. MathML has been available during many years,
still authors prefer other ways to search, store, and print maths.

Some expertises also doubt about what is the real accessibility of MathML.

>> With more sophisticated design of CSS stylesheet and with more powerful
>> CSS engines and good Unicode fonts one could achieve TeX quality output.
> I do not believe this is realistic, and a number of experts in math
> typography have reported similar concerns.

Since now a CSS profile for MathML is under development with main
browser rendering MathML via CSS now. This is not longer an issue.

>> try to offer a HTML version of SGML 12083 math is other,
>> a mixture of both, et cetera. That is to be debated.
> None of those options have fared any better than MathML, it seems.
> Certainly MathML seems to be the most common tag-based mathematical markup
> language on the Web.

You misunderstood the issue, SGML 12083 math was not designed for
the web.

SGML 12083 is an old SGML format still active. E.g. it has been chosed
recently for project Scielo (Scientific Electronic Library On-Line)


Another example where MathML was rejected in technical grounds
are Microsoft Office XML, and related recent ECMA and ISO formats.

> It seems to me that MathML has had more success than your own proposal. I
> wouldn't argue against MathML on the basis of success in the market if I
> were you. :-) After all, even Microsoft Office supports MathML.

It is true that years ago i defended rendering math via CSS. I can see
W3C developing a CSS MathML profile now


and I see Opera and WebKit are now rendering MathML via CSS.



It is also true that i proposed using <num> and <den> elements (or
with another naming, i do not remember now) for fractions on HTML5.

Time after, Microsoft rejected the MathML model for encoding fractions
and proposed a model also uses elements <num> and <den>:


Another differences between recent Microsoft approach to mathematics
and MathML are discussed in the blog.

This new model is ECMA and recent ISO standard.

If you take a look to archives of the WhatWG and to the recent ECMA/ISO
standards you can see that Microsoft language for mathematics shares
design principles (fractions, ordering for radicals, scripts...) with
the format was proposed for HTML5.

You may be confounded Microsoft *rejection* of MathML format as basis
for encoding mathematics in XML format for office docs with the fact
that Microsoft has maintained backward 'compatibility' with MathML via
a XSLT stylesheet.

I would also provide a XSLT would transform XCanonML mathematics


to MathML, if W3C language acquires enough presence on the web.

Or I would also provide a JS module would take an input syntax like

d'S &#8805; {MI {NU đ'Q} {DE 'T}}

and convert it on the fly to

<math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML" display="block">

instead to the current HTML-CSS code is now rendered in main browsers.

Juan R. González-Álvarez

Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 08:21:41 GMT

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