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Math Graphics Science

A MathML Progress Report: More Light Than Shadow 84

An anonymous reader writes "Recent reports of MathML's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Given the amount of marketing dollars companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have spent trying to convince a buying public to purchase their wares as educational tools, you'd think they'd deliver more than lip service by now. MathJax team member, Peter Krautzberger, has compiled a great overview of the current state of MathML, the standard for mathematical content in publishing work flows, technical writing, and math software: "20 years into the web, math and science are still second class citizens on the web. While MathML is part of HTML 5, its adoption has seen ups and downs but if you look closely you can see there is more light than shadow and a great opportunity to revolutionize educational, scientific and technical communication.""
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A MathML Progress Report: More Light Than Shadow

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  • by greggman ( 102198 ) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @03:12AM (#45309511) Homepage

    I'm sure this will get modded down but why does MathML need to built into the browser? It's only used on some very small percentage of pages so why bloat the browsers with something almost no pages need. Especially since the JavaScript implementation works just fine. Even better the JavaScript implementation can be updated and modified at any pace the MathML proponents want where as that's not true with built in implementations. The markup is the same regardless so what's the need for it to be built in ?

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @06:03AM (#45309959)

    That's 236 characters (ignoring whitespace) to write a 13 character equation...

    Compared to 2539 bytes for the gif [wikimedia.org] currently used on Wikipedia. That's a 90% improvement.

  • by RobertJ1729 ( 2640799 ) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @04:14PM (#45313303)
    There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in this thread about what MathML is for. What we are wanting, what we need, is for modern browsers to support the rendering of mathematics. To even get off the ground, we need a markup language for the browser to interpret. Since browsers already know how to speak XML, it only makes sense for the markup to be some flavor of XML. Those who are suggesting LaTeX instead are really missing the point here. We aren't solve the problem of a lack of human writable markup. That problem has been solved many times over. The problem we are trying to solve is rendering mathematics in the browser. Period. THAT is what we need MathML support for.

    Again, the problem is NOT a problem of AUTHORSHIP. Authorship is easy. It's a problem of DISPLAY. And it is a serious and important problem to be solved. The web was invented to share scientific information. Education on the web is huge--and growing. Academic publishers, mathematical software, and software shims that display math in a browser all use MathML extensively. It's a ubiquitous technology precisely because it fills a need in the industry, and it fills it well. What's more, MathML is important for an accessible web.

    PDF is clearly not good enough for digital consumption. PDF is great for print but totally sucks for screens. MathJax is amazing (as are the people behind it), but it is a huge, complicated, and inefficient solution to the problem of math in the browser. The author of the linked article in the submission works on MathJax professionally and is advocating MathML support in the browser. That should tell you something. (In fact, MathJax itself uses MathML both internally and as an input/output format.)

It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river. -- Abraham Lincoln