RE: [mediaqueries] MathML

Except when the person using the UA needs math accessibility. Accessibility requires that the rendering be customized for the individual. The text to be spoken for a mathematical expression is different for a student learning math than for a scientist who already understands the math. This is mostly easily achieved via client-side implementation, though it is technically feasible to implement such a feature at the server with perhaps degradation in quality and higher latency. Since the user has to navigate around the math, latency is a particular issue. For practical reasons, delivering MathML to the UA works best. Finally, this is a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Publishers want to deliver MathML but, as most are in education, they also have to serve all users and can't usually dictate the user's browser.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tab Atkins Jr. []
> Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2016 11:02 AM
> To: Paul Topping <>
> Cc: Avneesh Singh <>; Florian Rivoal
> <>; www-style list <>; W3C Digital
> Publishing IG <>; Peter Krautzberger
> <>
> Subject: Re: [mediaqueries] MathML
> On Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 3:07 PM, Paul Topping <> wrote:
> > I will admit to not being an expert on media queries but is the state of
> MathML implementation in browsers really a deciding factor on whether
> there should be a math MQ? I appreciate there's a difficulty in deciding how
> good an implementation must be but that is surely a problem shared by
> other complex media types. Isn't MathML's value in accessibility enough to
> justify the creation of a math MQ?
> No.  The deciding factor is whether people actually want to *use* MathML
> for displaying equations, in the UAs that support it.  Based on discussion with
> publishers, it looks like the answer is "not really", because of the poor quality
> of implementations; they'd rather use MathML with a high-quality renderer
> to produce the equation once, then just use the rendered result directly, as
> it means they don't have to test all the UAs to ensure every equation display
> correctly.
> (Contrast this with SVG - the implementation quality for SVG is sufficient that
> people are fine with using it as a display format directly, even tho rendering it
> to a raster image would give them more control and assurance that it was
> correct.)
> Every feature we add has a cost, and must be justified by sufficient benefit.
> If MathML simple isn't being used much as a display format, then we don't
> need to worry about catering to it yet.  Yes, this is a bit of a chicken-and-egg
> issue, but most things are; we can't preemptively support everything just in
> case one of them becomes popular.
> ~TJ

Received on Tuesday, 4 October 2016 18:37:48 UTC