RE: [EXTERNAL] Re: auto-boxing

In OfficeMath<> if you select a math-object start delimiter, end delimiter, or argument separator, the whole object is automatically selected. Is this what you mean by auto boxing? For example, if you select the start delimiter of a delimters object (that used for parenthesized expressions and the like), the whole expression is automatically selected. The rationale is that the object won’t then be corrupted when copied or deleted. As Neil points out, this choice isn’t part of the MathML specification. But I think it’s good UI. It’s discussed a bit more in the post Math Selection<>, a post you inspired me to write way back in 2007 😊


From: Neil Soiffer <>
Sent: Saturday, July 10, 2021 12:45 PM
To: Paul Libbrecht <>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: auto-boxing


I don't think I understand your issue:

  *   If the MathML generated by the new expression is wrong, that is simply a bug.
  *   If you are saying that you don't like the way Word's editor or some other editor works with selection/copy/paste, that's a UI issue and is independent of MathML. Some editors might only allow certain edits, and others might be more free. E.g., Mathematica's editor (full disclosure, I wrote that one) is completely freeform wrt to linear notations. It seems that Word's editor won't allow selection of part of the interior of parens that extends beyond the parens; that's not a MathML limitation and might be considered a feature by some (only allow syntactically meaningful selections?)
I think a simple way to break up the first expr is to select all of it, copy/paste it to the right and then delete the contents of parens as appropriate. Seems pretty easy and quick. Then add a '2' in front of the '5's (could have done this first and saved inserting a char). Of course, everyone's editing style differs.

In the end, I'm not clear why this is a MathML issue but I am likely misunderstanding your issue.


[Image removed by sender.]<>

On Fri, Jul 9, 2021 at 8:28 AM Paul Libbrecht <<>> wrote:

Hello dear list,

I had a funny demo yesterday in my lecture.

I had input the following in Word: P(T<-t∨T>t)=0.05:


However, a colleague that watched indicated I should rather split the probability measures in two which I started:


Splitting the formula by using cut and paste was not possible anymore, because an automatic box (an mrow I assume) had appeared inside the first bracket. Only partial cut and paste was possible.

So it was easier to re-input the whole or abandon the change; I chose the second ;-). Word has influenced my mathematical discourse!.

A few discussions around intents seem to imply that these boxes are a natural requirement which is understandable from the perspective of a navigation through the formula or read-aloud or a selection-aware presentation_. I would like to agree with that but this implies that some boxes will bother the mathematical discourse.

I believe that similar issues are met in other environments (in particular TeXmacs has very deep box-nesting.

  *   Should users expect “box manipulations” so that the boxes become correct?
  *   Should they be told to care?
  *   Are there situations where boxes would overlap?


Received on Sunday, 11 July 2021 18:23:23 UTC