[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5

Michel Fortin wrote:
> Bugs will need to  
> be fixed with many CSS engines, 

Withdrawing proposal does not mean that this bugs need not to be fixed.
They has to be fixed in any case.

> and even then the current markup  
> proposal isn't something I'd call pretty even for simpler structures  
> (<fenced><fence>1</fence></fenced> 

Standalone fence without markers is just <fence>content</fence>.
Markup <fenced><fence>1</fence></fenced>  is invalid.

> or <radical><radix></ 
> radix><radicand>2</radicand></radical> for example). 

As it was mentioned in one of previous messages there will be separate element 
for square roots <sqrt>2</sqrt>

> This makes the  
> markup a little counter intuitive and will probably prevent a consensus.

Note also that in long term perspective HTML parsing rules are expected 
to cut down verbosity further.

> I think there is still a lot to be done and discussed and maybe the  
> WhatWG mailing list isn't the best place for that at this point.  
> Isn't this discussion delaying other important things in the spec?

In this case why not to remove "Comments are very welcome, please send them to whatwg at whatwg.org. Thank you"
from WD (according to subject discussion is realted to HTML5).

> Something that's definitely missing for  
> elementary algebra is a construct capable of representing a fraction.
> So I propose that HTML 5 adds fractions, and only fractions. 

It would be step in right directions. Markup for fractions is something that
is safe to include in HTML, it is bullet proof concept, no changes in this markup 
nor any problems with this kind of markup are expected.

> I think  
> there is a good consensus on how to markup a fraction. 

Yes. The same markup is used in ISO 12083, AAP Math DTD and most of other DTDs
that I have seen, modulo naming conventions this markup is: 

/* The only people who managed to reinvent wheel and make it square 
are those who proposed HTML3 Maths and MathML */

> I believe  
> fractions can also be somewhat useful outside the realm of  
> mathematical formulas. And a fraction construct would encourage  
> implementors to fix their inline-block and vertical alignment CSS  
> bugs, opening the door to more CSS-based mathematical markup in the  
> future.

Very well. So at least add ISO 12083 fractions construction to HTML,
it works in MSIE 6, Opera 9, Prince 5
With one small bug fix it will work in Safari
and PDFReactor, with more complex but still one bug fix it will work in Mozilla too (Gecko bug 
is expected to be fixed in near future). Fractions work in XSL FO too, for instance
Antenna XSL Formatter 4 can handle them using fo:inline-container.

> I'm  
> retaining only the part that can work with the least effort, 

Overscripts can work with even less efforts. Math containers like "formula"
and "dformula" require practically no efforts at all. 

> the part  
> with a simple undisputed markup, 

> the part which I expect every author  
> and user will understand for what it means and which has the biggest  
> relevance inside and outside of the field of mathematics. 


> Maybe more  
> can be added to HTML in the future, 

In fact much more can be added even today.

> but if only one thing about math  
> is to be added to HTML 5, it obviously has to be the fraction.

Ok. But add at least one container (better two, one inline and one block level)
for math formulae, like this is done in Docbook, TEI, NIH Pubblishing DTD and 
many other DTDs. 

> I guess one argument against this is that it will constitue an  
> incomplete mathematical markup.

Still it is better then nothing and this will allow us to continue process in future
as markup for fractions remains and will remain the same for ages.

> Let's keep things simple and just improve what  
> we already have.

I still think that more can be done. But since there is no political will to do more,
let's make first step today and continue the process tomorrow.

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Received on Tuesday, 20 June 2006 00:40:52 UTC