Re: Exploring new vocabularies for HTML


The Math WG had a discussion about your call for math requirements on our teleconference today, so I wanted to add a report on the consensus there.

- Our main priority is merely having a good solution for using MathML in HTML.  That is hopefully not controversial, but there have been calls for alternatives, so we wanted to emphasize that we believe that any specification of mathematics in HTML5 ought to be based on MathML. While MathML adoption has taken a while, it is in wide use today and supported in main stream tools, so having it available in HTML in some fashion is important.

- As Neil and David commented, the round tripping/export issue is also important to us.  Because of the nature of mathematical knowledge management, there has been an long-running interest in interoperability between math-aware tools, and significant investment in that area.  The ability to cut an equation from a web page and paste it into Word or a computer algebra system, etc. has received a lot of attention over the years, so it would be a shame to seriously impede that.  

- That said, the Math WG doesn't see any problem with coming up with a lax-parsing model that produces a well-defined DOM, particularly if it enables export of standard MathML as XML.  We would be happy to help with that however we can, if necessary.  Our preference would be to make choices that encourage well-formed markup, e.g. if you leave out the end tags in complicated expressions, you are apt to see garbage.  But collectively we have a fair amount of experience dealing with real-world, ill-formed MathML and it is definitely possible.

- We also wanted to draw attention to an issue that is sort of implied by your items about mixing math and diagrams, but deserves special mention because of its importance.  The ability to number and align formulas within a page is critical for most scientific publication and use in industry.  We can provide examples and details if that would be helpful.


> I've read all 367 e-mails that were sent to the WHATWG, the HTMLWG, 
> and to other forums on the topic of MathML, SVG, namespaces, etc, in 
> HTML, spanning threads from 2006 to 2008. [1]
> I've tried to summarise the problems (use cases) that people want 
> solved, along with what they consider most important when faced with 
> those problems [2]:

Dr. Robert Miner
W3C Math Working Group co-chair
Vice President, Research and Development
Design Science, Inc.
140 Pine Avenue, 4th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802
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Received on Thursday, 27 March 2008 18:55:13 UTC