[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5

James Graham wrote:

>>> Is math really a core feature? 
>> Yes, absolutely .. the upcoming microlearning / nanolearning units 
>> inevitably need math.
> That's a really particular use case which is hardly representative of 
> the web as a whole. As sad as it is, 99.9% of authors have no use for 
> maths (otherwise all these problems would have been solved long ago). 

I wouldn't reduce the people from all schools and universities worldwide 
to only 0.1%. But obviously I have to accept the view -- or better the 
fact -- that today's web is much more commercial than scientific or 

> Maths is certainly less of a core feature for most authors than vector 
> graphics and WHATWG aren't trying to re-implement SVG despite the fact 
> that it too has no obvious IE6 compatibility story, poor CSS 
> integration and various other problems.

I wish, that WHATWG would have a similar motivation to offer lightweight 
math capabilities parallel to MathML, as they were motivated to support 
vector graphics via the <canvas> element parallel to SVG.

> Nowhere in the WHATWG document does it say that they're going to try 
> and  fix everything. 

Maybe ..

> You have to choose your battles and, personally, I agree with the idea 
> that, if the proponents of CSS-based maths want to work in the 
> structure of the WHATWG, they should demonstrate the feasibility of 
> their approach using a microformat. Given the constraints under which 
> they have chosen to operate it should be possible to do this without 
> any  difficulties. The microformat based approach has several 
> advantages too, e.g. instant implementation in existing HTML4 UAs (a 
> new markup language would require changes to the parser). This should 
> allow the language to evolve as it encounters real-world needs so, if 
> and when it is formally standardized, it will be a better product than 
> typically results from an standardization-before-implementation approach.

Assuming the microformat solution will work -- and that it will work is 
already proven by George's implementation -- why should there be a 
reason then in one, two, three years to substitute the well working 
microformats with a new set of math related elements?

Received on Monday, 19 June 2006 09:12:23 UTC