[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5
Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at michelf.com
Fri Jun 2 08:16:48 PDT 2006
Le 2 juin 2006 à 5:08, White Lynx a écrit :
> 1) Which markup do you think fits better in the scope of HTML5?
> a)
> <div>
> (X)HTML document may contain math formulae, like
> <formula>
> ax<sup>2</sup> + bx + c = 0
> </formula>
> </div>
While this may be better than the MathML counterpart, I'd prefer this
markup:
<p>
(X)HTML document may contain math formulae, like
<formula>
<var>a</var><var>x</var><sup>2</sup> +
<var>b</var><var>x</var> + <var>c</var> = 0
</formula>
</p>
It's more verbose than what you suggested, but still way simpler than
MathML.
The advantage of this notation is that a software tool could deduce
the semantics using the following rules:
* Each <var> element represents a variable (permitting words to be
used as variable when appropriate).
* <sup> contains the exponent of the preceding element or number.
By understanding "+" and "=" as operators, "0" as a number and by
applying the usual operator precedence, a tool could convert that to
something understandable by other math software.
Of course, people could still write equations in a non-verbose/non-
semantical way, without <var>, but nothing is going to prevent that
anyway. What's interesting is that if you forget some <var> tags, you
notice it immediately from the browser rendering as the variables
aren't italic. There is tag with "invisible" effect.
The other point I'd like to make is that a formula element shouldn't
be required for all mathematical expressions. If I want talk about
variable x in the middle a paragraph, I shouldn't need to surround it
like this: <formula><var>x</var></formula>. Using <var>x</var> ought
to be suffisent. The same applies if I want to include x^2 in the
text, <var>x</var><sup>2</sup> should be enough.
<formula> could be used however for more important formulas, those
which are alone and centered on their line in the typical math or
science book. Indeed, it would provide a CSS hook to do just that,
which means that, again, there is tag with "invisible" effect.
Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at michelf.com
http://www.michelf.com/
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