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Re: Exploring new vocabularies for HTML

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 16:19:27 -0400
Message-ID: <47F1474F.6080909@w3.org>
To: public-html@w3.org, www-math@w3.org

Hi, Sam-

Sam Ruby (channeling Jacques Distler) wrote (on 3/31/08 1:58 PM):
> 
> The rules for inferring elements are going to get very complicated
> very fast. For instance, does
> 
>      146,382
> 
> get translated as
> 
>     <mn>146,382</mn>
> 
> or as
> 
>     <mn>146</mn><mo>,</mo><mn>382</mn>
> 
> ? 
...
> And that's just us getting started. Just wait till we get to how to
> interpret loose tokens floating around inside <mprescripts> elements.
> 
> I generally think that inferred elements (the canonical example in
> HTML is <tbody>) are a bad idea, confusing to authors (who need to be
> very sophisticated to realize that they're there in the DOM, even if
> they're not there in the serialization).
> 
> The MathML Spec already has a bunch of instances where there are
> inferred <mrow> elements, and this has caused a fair amount of interop
> headaches, when UA's (in particular, Gecko) get this wrong.
> 
> Please don't add more inferred elements. This is the WORST aspect of
> existing HTML (which must, alas, be retained for legacy reasons).


I'm far from an expert on math, much less MathML, but even I know this 
gets exacerbated when dealing with international conventions (pesky 
feriners, why can't they all speak American?).  A brief overview at Dr. 
Math's site [1] goes into the whacky details.  Many of these conventions 
would not occur to most people (like me) as at all confusing, but would 
lead to a most confusing DOM representation and interpretation.

I suspect that the simple equations where laxness could realistically be 
allowed are so few and so ambiguous that it's simply not worth the risk 
and bother of defining them.


(Note: Another option is, as I suggested above, that we simply 
standardize all mathematical and linguistic conventions for both written 
and spoken language, but I fear that may outside the scope of HTML5; 
others may feel differently.  Certainly that would need to be explicitly 
laid out in the charter.)


[1] http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/63335.html

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG, CDF, and WebAPI
Received on Monday, 31 March 2008 20:20:06 GMT

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