W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-math@w3.org > May 2002

RE: [Moderator Action] email math

From: Paul Topping <PaulT@dessci.com>
Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 10:20:58 -0700
Message-ID: <46566A3075DDD311969100E0811031ECAF47AC@euclid.dessci>
To: "'Max Froumentin'" <mf@w3.org>, Dick Farrell <dick@cowtown.net>
Cc: www-math@w3.org

Although it may not be an immediate solution to the "math in email" problem,
I thought it might be worth noting that there is some hope of eventually
displaying MathML in HTML email. As you probably know, our MathPlayer
software enhances Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser to display
math. What is less known, however, is that the IE HTML engine (MSHTML.DLL)
is used by many other programs to display formatted material, including
various help systems and email clients. In fact, both Microsoft's Outlook
and Outlook Express email clients use IE's engine to display HTML email.

We have successfully experimented adding MathML to emails and having the
math displayed in Outlook via MathPlayer. This is not yet a complete
solution, however, for a couple reasons:

- This will only work for Windows email clients that use the IE engine.

- There is not an easy way to author such email but we hope to be able to
hook up our WebEQ MathML editor for this purpose.

One major help in this effort would be if Microsoft enabled the technologies
crucial to MathPlayer in its Macintosh browser. I don't know if there's any
hope of that, but MathML enthusiasts should encourage Microsoft to do so. We
would love to port MathPlayer to other platforms if Microsoft would make it

We also hope that the Mozilla/Netscape HTML display engine (with MathML
enabled, of course) can be used to implement HTML display in email clients.
Perhaps it already is and I just don't know about it.


Paul Topping                     email: pault@dessci.com            
President                        phone: 562-433-0685            
Design Science, Inc.
"How Science Communicates"
MathType, WebEQ, MathPlayer, Equation Editor, TeXaide

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Max Froumentin [mailto:mf@w3.org] 
> Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 6:32 AM
> To: Dick Farrell
> Cc: www-math@w3.org
> Subject: Re: [Moderator Action] email math
> "Dick Farrell" <dick@cowtown.net> writes:
> > how can i send math symbols in email?
> Hi Dick,
> There are several ways to do this, depending on who you are 
> sending the email to. Of course, as long as you agree with 
> the recipient what the meaning of what you are sending is, 
> you can create your own encoding of math symbols, or attach 
> images of the symbols or any way you agree on.
> However a few ways of encoding symbols, or more generally 
> whole formulas, are more standard than others, and you are 
> more likely to reach more people/systems if you use them. You 
> could use TeX syntax, for instance sending "\infty, \phi". 
> The TeX syntax is well known in the math community so there's 
> a high probability of the recipient knowing what this means.
> The other way you might do it, more approporiate on the Web, 
> is to use Unicode [1], which is a set of character/number 
> pairs, which uniquely defines thousands of characters, 
> including mathematical symbols. For instance the example 
> symbols above could be sent by email as "U+221E,
> U+03C6" (or INFINITY, GREEK SMALL LETTER PHI). Even better, if your
> email client understands unicode, it will display the symbols 
> as you expect them to appear. The whole unicode character 
> repository is available at [2].
> Of course this is not very readable, but it is standard and 
> when you talk about "U+03C6", it uniquely represents a 
> symbol, and is therefore unambiguous. MathML [3] provides 
> another way to describ symbols, compatible with Unicode and 
> specified in the "character entities" part of the 
> specification [4]: "&infinity;, "&phi;". Just like Unicode 
> numbers, these can be included in a MathML equation, such as,
> <math>
>   <mi>&phi</mi>     <!-- mi is for math identifier -->
>   <mo> = </mo>      <!-- mo is for math operator -->
>   <mm>&infiniy;<mn> <!-- mn is for math operator -->
> </math>
> Although this might seem a bit complex to represent just "phi 
> equals infinity", MathML has the advantage of being a 
> widespread interchange format used by a lot of mathematical 
> software, as well as being understood by Web browsers, which 
> can display the equation in a much nicer way.
> I hope this helps, to know more about MathML, see [5] or 
> subscribe to the www-math@w3.org list, and just ask away.
> Max.
> [1] http://www.unicode.org/unicode/standard/WhatIsUnicode.html
> [2] http://www.unicode.org/charts/
> [3] http://www.w3.org/TR/MathML2/
> [4] http://www.w3.org/TR/MathML2/chapter6.html
> [5] http://www.w3.org/Math
Received on Sunday, 26 May 2002 13:21:06 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 21:27:32 UTC