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[Axiom-developer] [#210 Pamphlet support on MathAction] Math on the web

From: unknown
Subject: [Axiom-developer] [#210 Pamphlet support on MathAction] Math on the web
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 12:45:30 -0500

This is impossible for me to view.

Acroread on linux has serious stability issues and consistently crashes my 
browser or forcibly grabs my mouse and won't let go.  All open-source pdf 
viewers (xpdf, gpdf, etc) have inferior font rendering and often cannot 
anti-alias the fonts.

The net result is that any user has to jump through a ton of hoops just to look 
at these pamphlet pages, and in the end, they're bypassing the chosen medium 
(the web) altogether!

While the rendering quality of the latexwiki-image or mathml is currently 
inferior, I don't think jumping through all these hoops is worth the small 
increase in rendering quality.  Instead, I think we should use the technologies 
built into the browser already (images/mathml) and push the browser developers 
to improve their rendering quality.

For instance, the mozilla people have just checked in a "patch which improves 
printing of transparent 
png's":  Previously they 
printed black-on-black and were unreadable.  Another recently checked-in patch 
"properly aligns equations that are generated by 

Undoubtedly, we will encounter many bugs in the rendering of mathml.  But, I 
think pushing forward with "math on the web" is a desirable goal, and 
sidestepping the problem by embedding pdf will hurt rather than help the whole 
situation.  It seems to me the natural migration route is send images for old 
browsers, mathml for new browsers, and report bugs against the browsers when 
this falls down.

I know current pamphlets are a latex format, but the subset of latex actually 
used is quite small.  There are two ways to go here...1) write a zwiki 
"pagetype" which renders the subset, or 2) call latex2html or tth (or some 
other tool) on the backend to render as html with embedded images or mathml.

Unfortunately I am quite busy and won't be able to work on this any time soon.  

Just my 2 cents.

-- Bob
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