- From: Robert Miner <RobertM@dessci.com>
- Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 10:20:47 -0600
- To: pksky@finestplanet.com
- CC: www-math@w3.org, www-math@w3.org

Dear Paul, Thanks for your detailed and interesting report. You touch on many subjects, and I expect others will want to comment too, so I'll just make a few observations. Starting from the end, you write: > Again, I am certain that there is an easy pedagogical approach to > creating MathML documents that is as transparent as the simplest > "Hello World!" HTML document. Anyone can program HTML and, > eventually, anyone will be able to program the same simple HTML > documents in XML too. Where does MathML fit into that simple > potential and why hasn't it been filled already? The basic problem with math, as I used to tell my students, is that it is hard. That is as true for publishing math as it is thinking about math. This is relevant because as a result a) math editing and display software is difficult and expensive to develop, and b) there aren't so many organizations and individuals willing to pay for it. So it has been a long, hard struggle to get decent display of MathML into browsers, which has happened only recently. And until that had happened, it was not really possible to develop editing tools. Now that web browsers can display MathML, I predict you won't have long to wait until there will be MathML equation editors available for Dreamweaver, XML Spy and similar tools. Following on in a similar vein, you lamented: > It is the gravest disappointment to me that the technology > established by the World Wide Web Consortium for doing precisely > this has failed me in my goals. I think it is unfair to blame the World Wide Web Consortium, since it is one of very, very few organizations that has been willing to spend resources on supporting mathematics on the web. Your complaint is really with the individual members organizations that are only now beginning to provide the kind of mainstream tools people in your situation need to put math on the web. But even there, I would argue that it isn't a matter of not wanting/trying to provide these tools, but rather of limited resources. It took a group of volunteers nearly 3 years to build MathML support into Mozilla. It took Design Science about 2 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to build MathPlayer. If there were any expectation of making millions from math, Microsoft or AOL/Time Warner would have done it in a few months years ago. As it is, the remarkable thing is that there is math support in major browsers at all, and it isn't surprising it has taken a long time. However, these apologies don't help you with your immediate problem. On that score I have a couple of suggestions. 1) Since you have a copy of MathType already, I wanted to point out that from the Preferences | Translators menu, you can set the cut and paste format to MathML. This would allow you to cut and paste equations from MathType into either XMLSpy or Visual Studio.NET. If you include the MathType data in the MathML (on of the options in the Translators dialog) you could also cut and paste equation back from your document into MathType. Obviously this isn't as convenient as the kind of integration you get between Word and MathType, but it works okay. 2) Since you looked a bit at TeX, another option you might consider is using the WebEQ Publisher. With the Publisher, you edit your HTML normally, using Dreamweaver for example. When you want to put in an equation, you just put the TeX code right in the text. In other words, you might write let $f(x) = \frac{g(x)}{x^2-2}$. Once you have finished, then you run the Publisher with this document as a source file. It produces another (X)HTML page as output where the TeX has been converted to MathML, and depending on the options you set, the right header declarations have been made to publish the document with the XSL Math stylesheet, or MathPlayer, etc. This isn't a WYSIWYG solution, of course, but it does let you use whatever (X)HTML authoring tool you wish, and it is a pretty simple way of preparing documents with MathML. Finally, you commented that you were hampered by the lack of a schema for MathML in your efforts to code MathML by hand. On that score there is good news. The Math Working Group just finished preparing a draft of a schema for MathML. It should go online within a day or two. If there is some hold up, I'll arrange to send you a private copy. --Robert ------------------------------------------------------------------ Dr. Robert Miner RobertM@dessci.com MathML 2.0 Specification Co-editor 651-223-2883 Design Science, Inc. "How Science Communicates" www.dessci.com ------------------------------------------------------------------

Received on Monday, 9 December 2002 11:21:36 UTC