Re: Exploring new vocabularies for HTML

On Sun, Mar 30, 2008 at 6:58 PM, Ian Hickson <> wrote:

> <snip>
> > There has been a lot of press recently on the desirability of reusing
> > existing standards. You seem to be suggesting that the W3C of all
> > organisations just abandons its 10+ year investment in devising a markup
> > for mathematics that is now supported by a large range of mathematical
> > and general editing software as well as web browsers, and replace it by
> > something completely different.
> Anything we do that puts MathML into text/html will, irrespective of any
> additional things we do like allow tag inference, create a new syntax.
> There is no way to avoid this. It's the same as XHTML vs text/html HTML --
> two different syntaxes, for the same underlying DOM language and
> technology. I'm just saying that while we're screwing around with the
> MathML syntax for things like attribute quoting and error handling
> tokenisation, we might as well go further and make the syntax more human
> friendly.
> Please don't assume that we can ever put the XML version of the MathML
> syntax into text/html without immediately and irrevocably creating a new
> syntax. It's not a new language, and the majority of the "10+ year
> investment" is reusable in this world, but it does mean that _parsers_
> will need to adapt if they want to support the new language, irrespective
> of whether we go ahead and make any other changes to the syntax.
As I and others have said earlier, the HTML5 DOM is only relevant for HTML5
browsers.  It is irrelevant  for other standards and applications that have
incorporated MathML into them and for their parsers.  Do you understand our
concerns about the compatibility problem?  If MathML's syntax is
incompatible with HTML5, then it must change and hopefully those changes can
be minimized.  But you haven't demonstrated MathML's syntax is incompatible
with HTML5.

Could you enlighten me as to what you mean about the need for a new syntax?
It seems counterintuitive given the stated need to accept just about any
string of characters and make sense of it somehow. Perhaps if you could
state why MathML must change to be compatible with HTML5, those of us
arguing against what appear to be unneeded changes would see the light.  Or
maybe we are just beyond hope :-)

Neil Soiffer
Senior Scientist
Design Science, Inc.
~ Makers of Equation Editor, MathType, MathPlayer and MathFlow ~

Received on Monday, 31 March 2008 03:34:48 UTC