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Re: Help get math turned back on in Chrome

From: Dave Barton <dbarton@mathscribe.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2013 18:05:15 -0800
To: www-math@w3.org
Message-Id: <3ED5B191-58E5-4FCC-93F5-17B85D877C3F@mathscribe.com>
On Feb 7, 2013, at 4:39 PM, Paul Topping wrote:

> Here are some arguments we can use:
> -          HTML5 and EPUB3 are standards that virtually everyone cares about. Both include MathML as THE way to encode math.
> -          Half the departments of a typical university use math in their educational content and this is going to increasingly be consumed as HTML5 and EPUB3.
> -          MathML is the basis of accessible math standards and education and governments have committed to making content accessible.
> -          Most of the big publishing companies that make textbooks and scientific journals are using MathML internally and will be putting it in their content once EPUB3 and HTML5 are well-established.
> There are strong arguments to be made but voting by clicking on bugs or telling Google directly won’t do it by themselves.

I think these arguments are fantastic. I love this e-mail.

I would add high school courses to the university argument. Online courses are exploding literally geometrically at both levels. We could have a long discussion about the reasons for this (both educational and financial), and the projections, but the numbers are huge. The best estimates I've seen are that fully half of all high school courses in the U.S. may be online by 2019.

What are the projections for tablet sales to students worldwide in the next few years? Do we want their textbooks to just contain text, graphics, and movies, or do we want actual mathematics in them? If we use MathML, we can parse and analyze the mathematics, feeding it into graphing or other scientific visualization software. As Peter Krautzberger points out, we are at the beginning of mathematics use on the web. But we can't get started without a common format and a user interface.

Another way to say this is I'm asking for a requirements analysis phase for MathML (step one of the classic software development life cycle). If Google doesn't think enough customers are clamoring for MathML now, can we both increase that number, and project how much it will grow in the next few years?

Another point is that rendering engines like WebKit are not just inside web browsers, but also e-mail and other programs. We are starting to be able to include formatted mathematics in e-mail, based on MathML. Online tutors want to communicate with students mathematically. Professional scientists and engineers would love to view and create mathematics as well.

All this could literally be had for the price of less than one developer. We just need to make this argument, to the right people I guess.

Cheers, Dave B.
Received on Friday, 8 February 2013 02:05:48 UTC

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