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Re: Some new basic thoughts for MathML 3

From: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2006 12:18:25 +0100
Message-Id: <200608081118.k78BIPT0007827@edinburgh.nag.co.uk>
To: www-math@w3.org

> More natural choice for c-MathML is LISP, 
some people, including me!, like lisp syntax but in over 40 years of use
it has constantly failed to be popular with the public.  One of the main
reasons given for dsssl failing ever to be really popular was its use of
scheme lisp syntax. It's immediate descendent, XSLT which uses a far more
verbose XML syntax has ended up being perhaps the most successful new
programming language introduced in recent years and is probably the most
widely installed programming language ever. (it's hard to install
windows or linux, or mac os without ending up with at least 1 and
probably 2 or 3 XSLT implementations).

So while it would be useful to have a lisp input syntax with a standard
tool for expressing it as XML for authoring use in environments where
that makes sense, I don't think that a lisp based syntax should have
been or should be now, the normative syntax.

> (the use of TeX or dialects
> as Itex in MathML 2 has been one of greatest mistakes when authoring
> online docs).

The use of TeX-like synax for authoring is to enable those
people familiar with that syntax to easily author expressions (or to
easily convert existing expressions). Offering people a new syntax they do
not know does not help with either of those aims. That's not to say it's
not useful in itself, just that a TeX-like input syntax or, related,
conversion from teX to MathML, will still be needed even if a conversion
from a lisp synatx was also available.

> [#mo [@attrib value] content]
using a custom syntax that's not either lisp or xml loses all the
benefits that using a shared syntax has. 

> I find surprising that MathML 2 uses prefix notation
> for 2/3 but infix via <sep/> for rational numbers.

yes so do I, something that perhaps should be looked at again as part of
mathml3, obviously we can't remove sep but I do agree that it is one of
the more awkward parts of the language, and perhaps mathml3 can have
some other alternatives that fit more naturally into the system.

Received on Tuesday, 8 August 2006 11:18:31 UTC

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