W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-math@w3.org > May 2007

MathML won't display (or: what triggers mathplayer behaviour?)

From: Richard Kaye <R.W.Kaye@bham.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 13:53:39 +0100
To: www-math@w3.org
Message-Id: <1179492819.5958.49.camel@mat140.bham.ac.uk>

Dear all

I have an annoying problem, and would be grateful for any help.

I have been trying to MathML-enable my blog, and I have
the usual result: it works fine in Firefox but I can't
get IE7 to behave.

The blog is at
This address serves the main file as text/html and 
has incorrect headers, etc.  The version served
as application/xhtml+xml with proper !DOCTYPE and
so on is 
As mentioned, it works as expected in firefox.

It doesn't work with IE7+MathPlayer however.  
The text/html version looks as before (maths incorrectly 
rendered) but the application/xhtml+xml version is just 
rendered as an XML listing, exactly as you would expect in 
IE7 when it downloads an XHTML document and no helper or plugin 
is triggered.

This is strange, as there should be enough stuff there to
trigger Mathplayer into action. It's just the same as a hundred
other pages I have written.  Hence the subtitle of this
mail: is there somewhere definitive information on what
in an xhtml document triggers the mathplayer plugin to do 
something?  (As an aside, I would also quite like to use
mathplayer's behaviour - even if there is no visible mathematics
in the webpage - to avoid these lengthy XML listings of XHTML.)

It gets stranger.  To investigate the problem further
I wget'ed all the files and put them up on my apache server
(the blog itself is served directly from Tomcat5.5).
The results are all in 
In this directory, the document
is the original default text/html document
and index-xhtml-mathml-orig.xhtml is the original
application/xhtml+xml document, exactly as I got from wget.
I also put in there index-default.html and 
index-xhtml-mathml.xhtml are the same except I edited 
these files by hand to make sure that the associated 
files (css, jpg, js) are all served from the same 
directory rather than from tomcat.  All the names are
different, so I don't think there is a content-negotiation 

As you'd hope, everything looks identical under firefox.
But this time with IE7, Mathplayer is triggered and both 
index-xhtml-mathml-orig.xhtml and index-xhtml-mathml.xhtml
display mathematics. 

So how does IE7/Mathplayer manage to display identical
documents served from different servers in such different

There are also some problems with the stylesheets and the 
pages with mathematics aren't actually rendered correctly
in IE7/Mathplayer, though they are at least legible. 
This is something else I need to fix too, in time.  
Unfortunately, this example is not the simplest 
(since it comes from the blog software I am using) and
there are a number of CSS and JS things in it I need to 
understand, but I ***am*** worried that MathPlayer and
the CSS/JS or whatever it is aren't living together nicely.

For the record, I append some of the details of the servers
and the HTTP headers they send when I do a wget.  (Sorry,
the wget agent isn't quite the same as IE7 - but I don't 
think it really matters. If you want I can do other experiments.)

Thanks for reading this far, and (in advance) for any help you
might have.


richard@mat140:~/tmp$ wget -S

           => `index-xhtml-mathml-orig.xhtml.1'
Resolving mat140.bham.ac.uk...
Connecting to mat140.bham.ac.uk||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
  Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 12:28:48 GMT
  Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) mod_jk/1.2.18 mod_python/3.2.10
Python/2.4.4 PHP/4.4.4-8+etch2 mod_perl/2.0.2 Perl/v5.8.8
  Last-Modified: Fri, 18 May 2007 11:44:31 GMT
  ETag: "29524e-47e4-1b4065c0"
  Accept-Ranges: bytes
  Content-Length: 18404
  Keep-Alive: timeout=15, max=100
  Connection: Keep-Alive
  Content-Type: application/xhtml+xml
Length: 18,404 (18K) [application/xhtml+xml]

100%[================================================================================>] 18,404        --.--K/s

13:28:48 (58.20 MB/s) - `index-xhtml-mathml-orig.xhtml.1' saved

richard@mat140:~/tmp$ wget -S

           => `index.html?flavor=xhtmlplusmathml'
Resolving mat140.bham.ac.uk...
Connecting to mat140.bham.ac.uk||:8180... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
  Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1
  ETag: "3605938c728a24802ed11501eaa2860f"
  Last-Modified: Thu, 17 May 2007 09:43:55 GMT
  Content-Type: application/xhtml+xml;charset=UTF-8
  Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 12:29:19 GMT
  Connection: close
Length: unspecified [application/xhtml+xml]

[ <=>                                                                             ] 18,404        --.--K/s

13:29:19 (19.49 MB/s) - `index.html?flavor=xhtmlplusmathml' saved
Received on Friday, 18 May 2007 12:53:43 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Thursday, 24 March 2022 21:46:44 UTC