[whatwg] Mathematics in HTML5

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Jun 8 15:16:50 PDT 2006

On Thu, 8 Jun 2006, James Graham wrote:
> White Lynx wrote:
> > Dan Brickley wrote:
> > >
> > > It would also be both considerate and sensible (if anyone does want 
> > > to undertake such a task) to talk to the MathML folks first.
> >
> > So far we are addressing problems that were invented and deployed by 
> > MathML folks.
> But you are, apparently, assuming that the problems with MathML are a 
> result of ignorance on the part of the people working on the spec. 
> Perhaps there is a reason they invented a language that did not build on 
> the CSS layout primitives e.g. because those layout primitives are not 
> sutiable for mathematics (similar to the reason that XUL, though 
> "CSS-based" employs a large number of specific CSS extensions to work in 
> a sane way). You have demonstrated that CSS can provide the first 80% 
> (or whatever) of what's required for laying out maths - but there seems 
> to be no way forward to address the last 20%.

I strongly agree with this. It is something I've been saying for 
(literally) years.

I am not at all convinced that it makes any sense to rely on CSS to render 
mathematics. CSS simply doesn't have the expressive power to obtain 
acceptably good mathematical typography, and adding features to CSS to 
obtain this level of expressiveness would require a huge specification 
with such a small target domain than nobody would implement it.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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