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Note:These pages make extensive use of the latest XHTML and CSS Standards. They ought to look great in any standards-compliant modern browser. Unfortunately, they will probably look horrible in older browsers, like Netscape 4.x and IE 4.x. Moreover, many posts use MathML, which is, currently only supported in Mozilla. My best suggestion (and you will thank me when surfing an ever-increasing number of sites on the web which have been crafted to use the new standards) is to upgrade to the latest version of your browser. If that's not possible, consider moving to the Standards-compliant and open-source Mozilla browser.

February 8, 2005

MathML News

“Not another one!” I hear you groan.

itex2MML 0.11

Yet another update to itex2MML, with a bunch of small bugfixes. The most important change is that we no longer use the deprecated mode attribute, but instead use the preferred display attribute for the <math> element. We set display="block" for display equations (\[...\]) and display="inline" for inline equations ($…$). This has a couple of advantages

  1. Display equations now work correctly in MathPlayer 2.0 (which doesn’t support mode="display").
  2. You can style inline equations with
    math[display=inline] {display:inline-block}
    which fixes the poor line-breaking behaviour that you see now. Or, it would fix it, but for the fact that
    1. InternetExplorer doesn’t support CSS attribute selectors.
    2. Mozilla doesn’t fully support inline-block.

MathML::Entities

My Perl module for converting XHTML+MathML named entities to numeric character references (or utf-8 characters) is now an official CPAN module. Get it from a CPAN Mirror near you.

Math fonts and Mozilla/Mac

Mozilla/Mac users are second-class citizens when it comes to displaying MathML. The Computer Modern Fonts, which provide an excellent repertoire of glyphs on other platforms can’t be used with Mozilla/Mac, because they’re not ATSUI-compatible.

Ever since I started this weblog, I’ve been hoping that the Stix Fonts Project would complete their work and this problem would be definitively solved. But they’ve been 98 glyphs away from completion for more than a year. The project is clearly moribund.

Fortunately, there turns out to be a partial solution. First, on the server side, Henri Sivonen suggested that Mozilla/Mac’s somewhat broken support for Astral plane characters (in MathML, that means blackboard-bold, calligraphic and fraktur letters) could be alleviated by sending numeric character references, rather than named entities. I now filter all posts and comments through the NumericEntities plugin.

But that’s only part of the story. You, the client, still need a font with the appropriate glyphs. The Stix Fonts aren’t coming anytime soon, if ever. But there does turn out to be a free alternative. Install the CODE2001 font and you’ll immediately start seeing blackboard-bold, calligraphic and fraktur letters on this blog. The glyphs are crudely drawn, and there are still glitches in Mozilla’s rendering, but it (sorta) works.

W3C Software

The WorldWideWeb Consortium has finally taken to updating their list of MathML software. I’m pleased to say there are a few new entries on the list.

Well, OK, they’re new to the W3C

W3C News

W3C: Is there a blog which has actual MathML content out there?

Jacques: A bit behind the times? [Links to Musings and some other MathML-enabled blogs]

W3C: Yeah, I guess so… But it’s really cool.

New Weblogs

The list of weblogs using the itexToMML plugin for MovableType grows, ever so slowly, longer. Brian Koberlein, Daniel Doro Ferrante and Zack Ajmal are the latest to join the crew.

There, now that wasn’t so bad, was it? … Hello? …. Anybody still there?

Posted by distler at February 8, 2005 10:34 PM

TrackBack URL for this Entry:   http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/cgi-bin/MT-3.0/dxy-tb.fcgi/507

3 Comments & 3 Trackbacks

Re: MathML News

Converting (i)TeX to mathml on the server still leaves you with the problem that it is very hard to read in non mathml supporting browsers. I am currently using peter jispen’s javascript based asciimath library, which converts TeX to mathml on the client.

non supporting browsers still display the texcode, which is much more readable

see Peter Jispen’s work and a story about my implementation

Posted by: Rikkert Koppes on February 9, 2005 4:48 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Browsers

Maybe it’s a selection effect, but the only browser I see in significant numbers that is not MathML-capable is Safari. Most everyone else can either install a plugin (IE 6) or have native MathML support (Mozilla/Firefox) in their favourite browser.

And there is also — I think — a large overlap between those readers who can’t be bothered to download the plugin or to fire up Firefox and those who either don’t care about reading the formulæ or who don’t know how to read TeX.

Having a workaround to display the TeX source for them may not add much value.

But I could be wrong …

Posted by: Jacques Distler on February 9, 2005 3:44 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this
Read the post MathML News and Blues
Weblog: Upon Reflection
Excerpt: Jacques Distler has been doing some upgrading on his iTeXtoMML plugin, which should improve the performance of converted iTeX, though there are still some minor problems apparently. I suppose this is life on the leading edge. He also has a...
Tracked: February 9, 2005 11:34 AM
Read the post iTeXtoMML and Numerical_Entities plug-ins
Weblog: It's equal but it's different
Excerpt: So, Jacques has a new update for his itex2MML [v0.11] plugin and, on top of that, this time he also has a new perl module for converting XHTML+MathML named entities to numeric character references (or utf-8 characters). Thus &conint becomes...
Tracked: February 9, 2005 5:32 PM

Re: MathML News

Please be assured that STIX is not moribund (glacial, but not moribund)! Can’t really give a definite time line, but things are in motion.

Posted by: Mark Doyle on February 10, 2005 8:33 AM | Permalink | Reply to this
Read the post MathML News and Blues
Weblog: Upon Reflection
Excerpt: Jacques Distler has been doing some upgrading on his iTeXtoMML plugin, which should improve the performance of converted iTeX, though there are still some minor problems apparently.... He also has a nifty numerical entities plug-in which converts all ...
Tracked: September 1, 2005 11:43 AM

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