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Re: FYI: a nice interactive... Digital Document

From: Bill McCoy <bmccoy@idpf.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2015 09:39:50 -0700
Message-ID: <CADMjS0bntq4x60L-zBEwkcOyNKpGaix55p-_rCKQ+9NhT3F8HA@mail.gmail.com>
To: t-cole3@illinois.edu
Cc: Peter Krautzberger <peter.krautzberger@mathjax.org>, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
I think MathML is a victim of a much more general issue about
tool-supported vs. hand-coded content creation, and I think we have to just
accept that yes MathML as the universal format is a bit of an awkward fit
with maths publishing, but that this is really no different than the
situation with HTML/CSS for text-centric publishing.

The LaTex-preferring authors Tim speaks with are one constituency, but
there's also tons of mathematicians who live in Wolfram Mathematica or use
the lower-end examples Peter mentioned (MS Equation Editor, MathMagic,
...). I have a hunch that younger mathematicians are more likely to be
using tools more of the time, as are those for whom math is part of their
work but who are not mathematicians per se (engineers, physicists, etc.).

LaTex is never going to be a great format for delivering mathematics
content created with many different tools, any more than for example .docx
format will be a great format for delivering text-centric content created
with many different editors. They are too high level, too "opionated", too
specific to a particular toolchain. We just can't expect that everyone will
be willing to use the same high-level format and toolchain.

MathML is itself still a bit too high level to be an optimal interchange
format, but it much more universal than LaTex while still being a lot
better than resorting to purely presentational SVG (especially for
accessibility but also for other semantic processing use cases). Precisely
as HTML/CSS is too high level to be the optimal interchange format for
text-centric content, but is still more universal than .docx while being
much better than resorting to pre-formatted presentational PDF/SVG.

--Bill



On Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 9:14 AM, Timothy Cole <t-cole3@illinois.edu> wrote:

> I fully agree with Peter's analysis, but it paints what seems on the
> surface a somewhat complex picture and I think there is risk of the
> mathematics community appearing too disjoint to outsiders, e.g., browser
> vendors.
>
>
>
> If I am a browser vendor and I talk with a publisher using MathML, I am
> told that browsers should provide native rendering for MathML.  But if I
> then turn to a mathematician and ask if he or she would like native
> rendering of MathML in the browser, I get told (by many) that he or she
> never uses MathML and would much prefer native support for LaTex.  So I
> look at how often each appears in Web pages. I conclude that those
> authoring math have no standard language for expressing mathematics and
> therefore I should not try to render math natively.
>
>
>
> Obviously browser vendors are much more sophisticated than this, and other
> considerations are primarily driving reluctance to implement native
> rendering of mathematics. And mapping back and forth between MathML and
> LaTex has gotten easy, almost trivial (if ignore semantic features of
> MathML). But when advocating for better support for math rendering, I do
> think the seeming split between MathML and LaTex makes the advocacy a
> little more difficult. It becomes a longer explanation, which is never
> helpful to persuasion.
>
>
>
> -Tim Cole
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* Peter Krautzberger [mailto:peter.krautzberger@mathjax.org]
> *Sent:* Tuesday, September 15, 2015 5:44 AM
> *To:* Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
> *Cc:* W3C Digital Publishing IG <public-digipub-ig@w3.org>
> *Subject:* Re: FYI: a nice interactive... Digital Document
>
>
>
> > But that is also a matter of the authors/publishers.
>
>
>
> Yes, but making this a little easier might be worthwhile.
>
>
> > I wonder: what would be the favourite syntax for authors to encode maths
> when they author HTML? I am not sure MathML would win on that front…
>
>
>
> That depends on which authors you have in mind. If you already know
> TeX/LaTeX, then writing such TeX-like input is obviously easier for you.
> But most people don't know LaTeX (then again: this piece by Kathi Fletcher
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__kefletcher.blogspot.de_2012_09_creating-2Dand-2Dediting-2Dmath-2Dcan-2Dwe-2Dget.html&d=AwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=zjI0r-H6xRs5fYf2_jJkju6US9ijk0nLw4ns2nuwU2k&m=hjv7CchLimOuSRzIrFveTlJQXDS5im7h_hQyZrF0Yz4&s=lkb-e4AeWGwb0WeuHgduC6POIvC6NpOFP5q8nbyxASw&e=>
> ).
>
>
>
> The causal Word user will be using MS Equation Editor or
> MathMagic/MathType/etc. The tablet user might prefer Microsoft's Math Input
> Panel or MyScript apps for handwriting recognition. For students, I'd
> always suggest Peter Jipsen's asciimath notation. I've never seen a wysiwyg
> editor be really productive but clearly people keep buying them. I hear
> MathML editors shine in situations where non-experts have to deal with the
> expert content, e.g., it's easier for a copy-editor to work with MathML
> than a complex (macro-infested) TeX string.
>
>
>
> Once you do even simple webby things like styling, you quickly run into
> limitations with TeX or asciimath because it gets cumbersome and sometimes
> incompatible (e.g., reflow). And then we're not even close to those nice
> animations and visualizations.
>
>
>
> Of course, you can write MathML by hand (I frequently do) but that's like
> people saying they write HTML or CSS by hand all the time. Sure, some
> people do. But the majority uses CMSs, frameworks, HTML templating, CSS
> processors etc. So I would agree that the developer tool chain for MathML
> could greatly improve (i.e., these HTML/CSS workflows rarely work for
>  MathML).
>
>
>
> But I think the problem always comes down to MathML support in browsers.
>
>
>
> We already have a gazillion tools to convert any kind of math input to
> MathML (and often back).  If MathML was usable on the web, people would
> convert to it and be done with it. If they can't use client-side JS
> solutions, they look for other solutions. That's why people still end up
> using binary images (I"m looking at you, ebooks), or, if they're fancy,
> things like mathjax-node, KaTeX, mathquill, jqmath etc. People are
> re-inventing the wheel that MathML was supposed to be -- and they keep
> getting better at it as HTML, CSS, and SVG implementations improve.
>
>
>
> Peter.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 10:37 AM, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> wrote:
>
>
>
> On 15 Sep 2015, at 09:37 , Peter Krautzberger <
> peter.krautzberger@mathjax.org> wrote:
>
>
>
> Thanks for sharing it -- great example of web document!
>
>
>
> Enabling portability of this kind of document would be fantastic.
>
>
>
> Yes. But that is also a matter of the authors/publishers. Very clearly,
> this *should* be possible, "just" by collecting all the resources in one
> place (whatever that means)
>
>
>
> B.t.w., all the sources use LaTeX for mathematics. I remembered your
> comparison of Markdown vs. HTML yesterday but, seeing this, I wonder: what
> would be the favourite syntax for authors to encode maths when they author
> HTML? I am not sure MathML would win on that front…
>
>
>
> Cheers
>
>
>
> I.
>
>
>
>
>
> Peter.
>
>
>
> On Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 7:13 AM, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> wrote:
>
> I do not know whether it is a Portable Digital Document, though… But a
> great example for things that can be done. Lots of MathJax, Peter:-)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Here is another example:
>
> *immersive linear algebra*
>
> by J. Ström, K. Åström, and T. Akenine-Möller
>
> ISBN: 978-91-637-9354-7
>
>
>
> http://immersivemath.com/ila/index.html
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__immersivemath.com_ila_index.html&d=AwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=zjI0r-H6xRs5fYf2_jJkju6US9ijk0nLw4ns2nuwU2k&m=hjv7CchLimOuSRzIrFveTlJQXDS5im7h_hQyZrF0Yz4&s=TIwXw-mE2Litu8OygwchaRpZxgohnN24ymm9e_9m6sk&e=>
>
>
>
>
> Ivan
>
>
> ----
> Ivan Herman, W3C
> Digital Publishing Lead
> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.w3.org_People_Ivan_&d=AwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=zjI0r-H6xRs5fYf2_jJkju6US9ijk0nLw4ns2nuwU2k&m=hjv7CchLimOuSRzIrFveTlJQXDS5im7h_hQyZrF0Yz4&s=pEIPrpiE7xu7qFSiDp3fwNwARxptmSdb0Awby3GRiOQ&e=>
> mobile: +31-641044153
>
> ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__orcid.org_0000-2D0003-2D0782-2D2704&d=AwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=zjI0r-H6xRs5fYf2_jJkju6US9ijk0nLw4ns2nuwU2k&m=hjv7CchLimOuSRzIrFveTlJQXDS5im7h_hQyZrF0Yz4&s=2wgJM-hirzUF6mfbxCUiVnmsnooSb4eaVge-OxC4Ilg&e=>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ----
> Ivan Herman, W3C
> Digital Publishing Lead
> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.w3.org_People_Ivan_&d=AwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=zjI0r-H6xRs5fYf2_jJkju6US9ijk0nLw4ns2nuwU2k&m=hjv7CchLimOuSRzIrFveTlJQXDS5im7h_hQyZrF0Yz4&s=pEIPrpiE7xu7qFSiDp3fwNwARxptmSdb0Awby3GRiOQ&e=>
> mobile: +31-641044153
>
> ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704
> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__orcid.org_0000-2D0003-2D0782-2D2704&d=AwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=zjI0r-H6xRs5fYf2_jJkju6US9ijk0nLw4ns2nuwU2k&m=hjv7CchLimOuSRzIrFveTlJQXDS5im7h_hQyZrF0Yz4&s=2wgJM-hirzUF6mfbxCUiVnmsnooSb4eaVge-OxC4Ilg&e=>
>
>
>
>
>
>



-- 

Bill McCoy
Executive Director
International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)
email: bmccoy@idpf.org
mobile: +1 206 353 0233
Received on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 16:40:27 UTC

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