# Re: MathML is a failed web standard (or not?)

From: Peter Krautzberger <peter.krautzberger@mathjax.org>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2016 09:40:28 +0200
Message-ID: <CABqxo802nfQ25W7c9LTh=oS_oEgCBsARQpWzC3Ngf3gw1sbD+g@mail.gmail.com>
To: "www-math@w3.org" <www-math@w3.org>
Hi Peter and Andrew,

Thanks for those interesting statements. I'm not sure how they relate to
what I wrote (please let me know if I missed something) but I appreciate
having the opportunity to read them.

Regards,
Peter.

On Sat, Apr 2, 2016 at 3:42 AM, Andrew Robbins <andjrob@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear MathML Subscribers,
>
> I must admit that I have not read every word of both posts, but I already
> know what this is about, because I have already encountered similar issues,
> with both Presentation and Content. I'm not too concerned with
> Presentation, because MathJax does an excellent job at that. What I am
> concerned with is Content (i.e. Semantics), and to quote the original
> article:
>
>     "Content MathML is just not relevant." -- Peter Krautzberger
>
> I have been writing a set of tools for trans-language compilation for
> about 5 years now, (freely available at
> https://github.com/andydude/droxtools), and the only system I've found
> that is is open, non-commercial, and easily extensible for representing
> arbitrary concepts from every programming language ever invented, is
> Content MathML. This is the opposite of "not relevant", and Paul Topping
>
> In my humble opinion, the reason why MathML has failed isn't because of
> Content MathML, it's because of Presentation MathML, and it's not because
> it isn't accurate, or because it doesn't look good, it's because people
> prefer TeX over angle brackets. MathJax provides people the ability to show
> the same beautiful math expressions on web pages, that Presentation MathML
> promised but with many fewer keystrokes.
>
> I don't care about angle brackets. I don't care about superscripts. The
> only thing that interests me with regards to Content MathML, is the fact
> that it is, at a fundamental level, a LISP where symbols are selected from
> URI/RDF/XML/MathML namespaces. Granted, OpenMath/MathML namespaces are
> naturally defined to be equivalent, but to apply to XML/QNames as well,
> then you need a QName to URI mapping. I've seen two of these, the
> "{NS}NAME" method (think Java/Ruby/Python) and the "NS::NAME" method (think
> JavaScript/E4X), the first one fails to produce a valid URI, but the second
> method does produce a valid URI, so that's what I've been using in my
> tools. The point is that URIs are already a carefully controlled resource,
> and so they are much more open than LISP's traditional filesystem based
> package system, or any other system I've seen.
>
> Just in the interest of full disclosure, there are closed, commercial
> systems out there that do trans-language compilation, like the kind I'm
> currently developing. https://www.semanticdesigns.com/ is an example of a
> corporation involved in such a business. But I whole-heartedly believe that
> the future of open-source software depends on having such tools available
> as open source tools. This is starting to sound like a rant, so I will stop
> it here.
>
> Actually, I changed my mind. I still have to have a Content vs.
> Presentation debate. As I said earlier, I agree that Presentation MathML
> has failed, but that's because it's a failed viewpoint. Math isn't symbols,
> it's semantics. From the beginning, MathML should have been about Content,
> not Presentation. I think if we had focused on Content all along, then we
> probably wouldn't be having this conversation now.
>
> Regards,
> Andrew Robbins
>
>
> On Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 7:21 PM, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286@cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>
>> I write as a chemist who has tried to do the same thing with Chemistry
>> (CML, Chemical Markup Language). I have been inspired by what I see as the
>> success of MathML and do not regard it as a failure. I am particularly
>> interested in Content MathML as computable maths.
>>
>> The reality seems to be that it takes a generation for many of these
>> ideas to be implemented. in 1998 SVG seemed to be the obvious way of doing
>> graphics, but after 5 years it looked close to death. After 15 years it's
>> become universal.
>>
>> CML is used by a small number of enthusiasts. The chemical software
>> manufacturers don't care because they only care about the pharma industry
>> and instruments. So we strugle on with a number of ad hoc broken
>> representations of chemistry, which are still primarily graphical. There is
>> almost no chemistry for blind people.
>>
>> The real problem is semantics. At the moment the world doesn't care. They
>> will have to in the future. IoT demands semantics. You cannot compute
>> pictures. Binding semantics to maths and chemistry is hard but it will have
>> to come. I'd guess that people will need semantic math in 5 years and
>> chemistry in 15.
>>
>> If you let the world be driven by browser manufacturers and publishers
>> you will get a sighted-human vision of maths and science. The IoT won't
>> need browsers.
>>
>> It WILL need semantic maths.
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 11:10 PM, Paul Topping <pault@dessci.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi,
>>>
>>> Peter Krautzberger of MathJax fame, recently posted this on his own blog:
>>>
>>> MathML is a failed web standard
>>> https://www.peterkrautzberger.org/0186/
>>>
>>> Obviously, he presents some challenges to the MathML standard and its
>>> community. I felt that I had to respond:
>>>
>>> Response to Peter Krautzberger's "MathML is a failed web standard"
>>> http://bit.ly/1ZLfCF8
>>>
>>> I hope this exchange prompts some serious dialog.
>>>
>>> Paul Topping
>>>
>>> Design Science, Inc.
>>> "How Science Communicates"
>>> Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, Equation Editor
>>> http://www.dessci.com
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Peter Murray-Rust