W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > October 2009

Re: Consider removing the MathML entities from text/html

From: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 2009 14:29:49 +0100
Message-Id: <200910021329.n92DTnOg005316@edinburgh.nag.co.uk>
To: public-html@w3.org

Simon Pieters wrote
> I'd like to question this decision.
>    * MathML entities' reason for existence seem to be based on the
>      assumption that people will write MathML markup by hand. If it's not
>      written by hand, it makes no sense to have entities. Given the
>      verboseness of MathML, I would be surprised to find anyone to write
>      MathML markup by hand more than as a try-once-never-again experience.

Actually given a little editor help for closing elements, mathml isn't a
lot harder to author by hand than other markup methods for mathematics
(which are all far more markup intensive than conventional text) It's
not at all uncommon for people to hand author mathml fragments as part
of larger works. Also for most people, even if the mathml is converted
from, say, latex, If you need to modiufy or check the markup, it is
easier to recognise the symbol in entity form than as a numeric
reference, or as character data (this last may change if editing
software picks up the ability to use math symbol fonts)

>    * Have the MathML entities been researched for compat with existing
>      text/html content? For instance, do pages expect "&wp;" to show those
>      four characters rather than showing "%G℘%@"? I think it would be good to
>      research this.


>    * Do any commonly-used MathML-emitting tools emit entities? Microsoft
>      Word apparently doesn't. I think it would be good to research
>    this.

One very common piece of software that always (I think) shows mathml
characters as entities, even if the source does not use them is
firefox's "view mathml source" right menu option, so anyone taking
fragments from there will currently get a fragment using entity references.

>    * Having 2000+ entities instead of 200+ entities doesn't seem too nice
>      for implementors.

There is obviously a cost and I can't speak about browser
implementations but I'd have thought that overall it's better for users
to have them always there, built in, rather than as now, only having
them if the browser chooses to read a dtd and even if as in firefox's
case that is a local dtd in its installation area, still an appreciable
cost and no cross platform guarantee that they will work at all.


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Received on Friday, 2 October 2009 13:30:40 UTC

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