[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5
Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at michelf.com
Thu Jun 8 12:21:29 PDT 2006
Le 7 juin 2006 à 20:28, Ian Hickson a écrit :
> For something as big as Mathematics, we want to simply re-use an
> existing language, not invent a new one. Inventing a new language
> for encoding content with as wide a problem-space as mathematics
> would require months, as well as the time of domain experts, etc.
Defining everything unambiguously is what would take long. If someone
wants to define unambiguously everything in a formula, I'd suggest he
use MathML, or something else if MathML cannot do the job properly.
But most people don't need machine-readable formulas: they need to
comunicate mathematics to other *people*. If you take a look at how
HTML handles prose, you find that it doesn't try to determine what is
a sentence, what is a noun, or what is a verb. But it provides what
we need the most: paragraphs, headers, lists, emphasis, etc. I think
it should be the same for math content.
In my view, HTML should only provide the most needed building blocks
for mathematical representation and let authors define semantics
beyond the specifications as required. The idea behind the "type"
attribute on <var>, <matrix>, and <fence> in my draft proposal, which
could also be extended to other elements, is to allow author-defined
semantics to be bound to them, semantics which can then be used as
hooks for style sheets. Default styles could exist for predefined
semantics (<var type="vector"> could put a little arrow over the
variable for instance) while authors could create new types and
styles for their own purposes when needed.
For now, I think creating an inventory of formulas showcasing
everything we want to support would be a good first step toward
creating, refining, and adopting a formal mathematical markup
solution, as well as creating implementations. So I think I'll look
into that.
Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at michelf.com
http://www.michelf.com/
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