[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5

Oistein E. Andersen wrote:
> As Henri Sivonen put it: ??[I]t is futile to insist on semantics that 
> you can't pull out of LaTeX as it is normally authored.?? I would 
> like to use a slightly different wording: It is futile to insist on 
> encoding anything that does not change the appearance of a formula as 
> it is written on a blackboard or printed in a book.

Completely agree, semantic should not be fragile. If it does not naturally reflect
structure of math formulae then it likely to be abused. This is one of the resons
why ISO 12083 follows visual structure of mathematical formulae and why current
proposal follows similar line, with more specific semantics being transfered to optional
content layer that is designed to be orthogonal to main structural markup and 
carries additional content information that may be necessary
to provide quality rendering in case of non-visual media types including braille and speech
or may be useful for computer algebra system that may need extra content information to 
recognize logical structure of mathematical formulae.

> No semantics is clearly better than wrong semantics

Completely agree. Reliable information about general structure of formulae is better
then detailed but wrong ultrasemantic markup.

> More importantly, the amount of 
> mark-up needed to encode a line of mathematics is enormous compared 
> to what is necessary for a line of running text. Consequently, each 
> mark-up element must be kept as short as possible.

We are ready to change element naming conventiones if WHATWG will agree
and feedback will indicate that short notations are preferable. I have no strong preferences.
Some people argue that short element names being misleading and not 
intuitive does not actually improve readability, some people like short element names
as they are more convenient for authoring.

> Assure compatibility with a reasonable subset of TeX

Can anyone specify what steps should be made to assure this compatibility,
so far we see general wishes without any details on what in current proposal is 
considered to be LaTeX incompatible and how the problem can be resolved without 
spoiling other merits of markup such as compatibility with CSS.

> Make font selection simple and natural
> This point does not seem to have attracted quite the attention it 
> deserves yet.
> TeX seems to have got things right on this point by making italic the 
> default for letters and roman the default for numbers. Is this 
> approach completely unfeasible within the HTML/CSS framework?
See "Kerning and shape of the glyphs" section of current proposal,
it mentions possible CSS extensions, that however are not part of this proposal
and should be probably discused on www-style list.

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Received on Thursday, 8 June 2006 02:03:55 UTC