Nota: A Document Language for the Browser

Math Working Group,

Hello. I am pleased to share a project that I recently found on the Web: Nota (

There are two main mediums for digital documents: PDFs and web pages. PDFs were designed to mirror physical documents, so they impose the real-world constraints of paper: page breaks, fixed width, and immutable styling. Web pages, by contrast, provides an essential dynamism. Web pages can be dynamically formatted: resized for phones, translated into other languages, colors changed for color-blindness. Web pages can be dynamically interactive: text prompted for more context, diagrams shifted for a new perspective, annotations added for posterity. Web pages are undeniably the future of digital documents.

But currently, that dynamism is only accessible to professional web developers. Existing document tools like LaTeX, Pandoc, Markdown, and Scribble can (for the most part) only generate static web pages. Nota's goal is to bridge that gap by providing authors with a document language that has a low floor, a high ceiling, and a smooth ramp up.

Part of this design is identifying components that are easy to use for authors and have high impact for the reader. For instance, the @Definition and @Ref components in the example above require a small amount of document annotation on the author's part. Then the Nota runtime can provide features like presenting a reference's definition in context via tooltip. Future Nota versions could include more advanced features like find all references to this definition.

Interestingly, in one of the examples: (standalone version:, one can click on mathematical glyphs and symbols to reveal informative tooltips describing them (see, for example: Section 2: Analysis).

For more information about mathematics in Nota: .

Best regards,
Adam Sobieski

Received on Friday, 20 October 2023 06:11:26 UTC