[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5

James Graham wrote:
> I remain sceptical about this. However, if there is a serious effort to replace 
> MathML I believe the resulting language must fulfil the following requirements:
> 1) Easy conversion from standard LaTeX2e.
There are plenty of different packages and low level presentational commands,
so it does not seem to be possible to keep simple  markup language isomorphic to LaTeX.
> This probably means that the grammar 
> should follow LaTeX as closely as possible. 
Unfortunately we already have more then enough restrictions imposed to ensure
compatibility with CSS. Adding extra design principles like following LaTeX as closely as possible does not seem to be realistic. 
> ISO standards that no-one uses are 
> irrelevant in practice; LaTeX matters.
Basically you require to replace CSS rendering engine with LaTeX typesetting system
which is outside the scope of current initiative.

> 2) Excellent typography. 
Typography is not something that has to be defined by specification.
> Faking radical signs and so on is simply unacceptable. 
It is the matter of implementation, we could draw radical signs with SVG
but using borders only is more reliable at the moment. In any case presentation
should not be hardcoded in specification.

> 3) The provision of alternative fallback content should be easy. For 
> accessibility reasons it should be possible to provide the LaTeX source and/or a 
> textual description of the equation. 
Textual description can be provided using something like alt attribute. 
Including LaTeX source is probably unnecessary as there is possibility to
transform X(HT)ML to LaTeX using for example XSLT.
> It should also be possible to provide an 
> image to display instead of the rendered equation.
> Indeed, it would be extremely 
> beneficial if there were some way to make the current generation of browsers 
> render the image and ignore the mathematical content which,
There is similar "fallback" in MathML. No one uses it. 
In any case it is worth to think about it.
> given the 
> enhancements to CSS likely to be needed to fulfil point 2, is likely to render 
> extremely poorly in current generation browsers.
Can you specify point 2? So far people mentioned radicals and glyph shaping/kerning.
First issue can be improved and even if it would be impossible to improve there always is
option to use power notations. Second issue (slanted vs. normal glyphs, kerning, spacing)
lay outside the scope of markup language, Unicode standard provides set of necessary characters
(mathematical alphanumerical characters in Plane 1), font designers are responsible for kerning, 
authors are responsible for spacing.

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Received on Friday, 2 June 2006 04:58:59 UTC