- From: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
- Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 22:05:05 GMT
- To: ian@hixie.ch
- Cc: public-html@w3.org, www-math@w3.org

Ian, > That has been proposed, as have other options such as LaTeX, eqn/neqn, the > native formats of tools such as Mathematica, Maple, and OpenOffice.org > Math, standards such as ISO 12083, and not doing anything at all. I am > considering all options. Hmm,None of those can really be realistically considered for a declarative browser environment, they are all intricately linked to specific engines. Once could define a new declarative language adopting the flavour of one of those, but why? Experience shows it wouldn't be popular with users of the systems (a latex-like language is no easier and often harder to translate to real latex than a language that doesn't look like latex at all, same for the other systems) > Interesting stuff. Do these packages also natively support MathML import? > (To clarify, you are talking about native support, right? Not support > after installing third-party plugins.) yes, I mentioned those "mainstream" packages rather than the smaller specialist mathml editing systes because it shows how math systems are converging on mathml as a common format for mathematics and html5 converging on something else will put us all back a decasde. mathematica and maple inport and export mathml as part of their standard functionality, MS Word 2007 ships wth stylesheets (XSLT) going from its internal mathematical form (OOXML) to and from mathML and it automatically applies those stylesheets on cut and paste so you can cut expressions from a browser and paste them into Word with all the clipboard data being in mathml (and the user seing no markup at any stage) openoffice.org (and presumably all other ODF supporting suites such as koffice or the IBM suite) store mathematics in MathML as that is what ODF specifies. > What problems would this introduce? It makes it much harder to style (or at least understand the styling of) the mathematics, oe reason why mathml fully tags every token is that it makes each token individually aailable for styling, something that is far or likely to be required in math than in natural language text, where you are less likely to want to style individual words or letters. If the "implied" elements are available to CSS selectors then presumably the thing is still stylable but it is rather obscure and people have to understand the exact nature of the implied elements in order to use CSS. the other problem is that if editors start generating "mathml" with htmlised math with unmarked up text runs such as this, then they break the entire existing mathematical tool chain, which either has to support this new language you are proposing, or have to explian to end users why mathml in html is different from mathml as specifed. The rules for inferring what's a number, what's an identifier, what's a sequence of identifiers with invisible times operator between really isn't simple, especially if you move away from ascii (as surely you would have to) so you would probably end up having to refer to large unicode character tables to decide what's a number etc. A feature of presentation mathml is that those decisions get made by the author (who hopefully best understands the expression) and aremn't left to be inferred by a later system. > <semantics> and <annotation-xml> are nice in theory, I agree, but are they > really necessary? While I understand that math experts today might use > them, it seems highly unlikely that the mass market would ever bother. current experience shows you are entirely wrong here, the mass market uses this probably more than the "expert" hand writing the mathml in an xml editor. OpenOffice.Org generated mathml for example is always in a semantics element with an annotation carrying the openofffice.org linear syntax, design science's editors do something similar. maple can at user option write just presentation, mathml, just content mathml, or a semantics element with presentation annotated by content. > Something else that would be useful is a summary of the MathML schema. I > couldn't find anything human-readable in the MathML specs, and the DTD is > not optimised for casual reading. Is there anything like that available? for mathml3 we are authoring the schema in relax ng and deriving (or I should say will derive) xsd and dtd. Actually though the authoring of the formal schema is lagging behind the specification of the prose text of the specification. If you have any particular style of comment annotation that you'd find helpful drop us a line and we'll see what we can do.. current draft of presentation part is http://www.w3.org/Math/RelaxNG/mathml3/mathml3-presentation.rnc > That kind of wishy-washy rule isn't going to fly for HTML5. :-) quite, but you have "control of the browser" back when doing mathml2 it was clear that you couldn't (in a specification of a language designed to be a fragment on a larger document) specifier global rules for language merging and error handling, so "wishy washy" was the best we can do. Make no mistake, lack of specification in this area does not imply lack of interest in seing these problems get fixed!! > That seems unnecessary; HTML and MathML together should be defined in > enough detail that no other spec is required to define how they work > together, IMHO. whataver, Historically it's been clear that the math group couldn't do this on their own, but advice has oscillated between whether it should be done by HTML (remember it began as html-math) or general namespace magic, or specific CDF magic or... I think if _someone_ specifies how this is supposed to work in an interoperable way we'd all be happy:-) Actually we'd be happy from math-on-the-web perspective, but if it does turn out to be specified by simply specifying html+mathml(+svg) rather than refering to a specific mechanism for combining languages, we'd probably need to port the effect of teh html+mathml mixing to other formats (docbook, TEI, xsl:fo are for example three common xml formats that commonly embed mathml for formulae and might conceivably want to embed the host language within the mathml formula). But that isn't (directly) your problem, if you can help us sort out the interaction of html + mathml, we can probably do something for the others....) David best if I again note these are personal comments not checked with the WG. ________________________________________________________________________ The Numerical Algorithms Group Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 1249803. 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Received on Saturday, 29 March 2008 22:05:53 UTC