[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: hyperdoc

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: hyperdoc
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005 17:23:53 -0800 (PST)

--- Bob McElrath <address@hidden> wrote:

> > XML added nothing of value. Other tools and formats do it better,
> > easier, and faster, and even more portably. 
> I am in complete agreement.
> Just making a point to think about.
> There are no other tools or formats that do *math* better, easier,
> faster, or more portably.  (tex is display only, not interchange, not
> input for math evaluation putposes, and not specific enough to
> describe a mathematical expression)

In some sense, there is the syntax used by
Axiom/Maxima/Mathematica/Maple/etc. to define math, but web browsers
don't tend to read it directly.

> Moving web pages to MathML is simple, and the right way to go for the
> restricted problem of presenting info on the web.  Other design
> decisions can be debated later...

Just so I'm clear, are we discussing adding the ability to output
MathML and perhaps read it in, or are we talking about making OpenMath
the native language/mode/whatever of Axiom?  MathML in/out I can see as
being about the same as TeX in/out - desirable in some situations, but
not for internal CAS use.
> > I'm sure the issue can be debated and I was once a major XML
> > advocate so I'm very familiar with the supposed "pros". No 
> > longer. 
> > 
> > In short, XML is gonna be a hard sell.
> Do you have any experience with OpenMath?
> I have done some tooling around with MathML, both presentation and
> content, and stylesheets for them.  We *will* find corner cases and
> problems, particularly in the layout of the math.  But I think the
> web-browser crowd has gone as far as they can, and if MathML is to
> survive, the math-content-producing folk like ourselves must get
> involved.

This has come up a couple of times on the Maxima list, and based on
discussions from there my (relatively naive) feeling is:

a)  MathML is primarily useful as a way to export CAS worksheets (or
whatever you're doing your math in) for web display.  It shouldn't be
an integral part of the calculation process.

b)  The CAS is probably the place to make the decisions about
formatting, if you provide it info about fonts and space constraints. 
Assuming, of course, you decide to teach the CAS how to fit things into
a constrained space.  Axiom and Maxima both have to know this at some
level just to be able to output expressions successfully to a
termainal, so in theory it could be possible to expand this ability to
more "graphical" output environments.  The drawback is a MathML page
would have to be fixed size, but except (MAYBE) for some fairly trivial
exceptions (+,-, * with top level expressions - i.e. not inside a
fraction, summation,etc) there is no way the browser is going to be
able to come up with reasonable displays for all browser window sizes. 
Even the simple stuff could be tricky to impliment. To my mind, A4 and
Letter worksheets with margins are the most profitable parameters to
work with, since that will (hopefully) allow printing of the MathML
pages, as well. For web display there is zoom, changing font size, and
hiding the top and bottom margin effects in the web display (hopefully
stylesheets can do that work) to fit the width of the page in the
browser, and I'm guessing that'll have to do.

c)  In general, display of 2D equations in confined space is a hard
problem.  TeXmacs does some line breaking, and so does wxMaxima, but
I'm not sure how powerful the algorithms are.  Any 2D equation based
GUI solution needs to be considered carefully though.

> I do not believe that making images out of equations is a horrible
> way to go, for the long term.  As has been pointed out, it's 
> impossible to change the font size, violates many rules of web 
> accessability, printing looks terrible, and it's in general 
> impossible to get fonts that look the same as the images.

I think you mean you DO believe it is a horrible idea to use images? 
If so I agree.  MathML is clearly the best display medium for the web,
but AFAIK it's main use is just that - an output format, like PDF.


Do you Yahoo!? 
Yahoo! Mail - Easier than ever with enhanced search. Learn more.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]