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   RE: [xml-dev] CLAX - Client-side functionality

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peter murray-rust said:
>>c) For math I am puzzled because comments made in this forum lead me to
>> conclude that mathML is unsatisfactory. So, what to do for math
>> information units? Waiting for your imput.
> I don't think the comments are accurate. MathML is a well developed
> language for presentational maths. It is designed for use up to
> undergraduate STM (Science, Technical, Medical). It is IMO well
> suited for general scientific presentational publishing. Its semantic
> component is probably less well deployed - this is IMO a matter of  time
> and some evangelism. I am perfectly happy to use MathML for math  in
> chemistry

In its January 2006 analysis of presentation MathML (Web Publishing
Mathematics With HTML and MathML from TeX) Ian Hutchinson (author of one
of MathML tools), stated:

Will MathML "take off" and take over web mathematics publishing?
My guess is that it won't. But with luck it will gradually become more

The analysis done at the scientific markup workshop (you agreed) mainly
focused in content, searchability and accesibility issues of MathML.

One can also analize presentational issues of MathML and in fact this was
done by a number of authors (including myself). In short, one finds sites
or tools generating presentational markup is structurally incorrect, one
obtains limitations of presentational MathML to encode arbitrary script
structures (could be encoded in a ISO-12083 markup design), limitations on
implementations (for instance the Mozilla firefox browser can delay until
20 minutes for rendering certain MathML datuments, therefore doing it
inadequate as generic reader), limitations of MathML to present K-12 math,
limitations with encoding of tabular structures, redundancies of <mstyle>,
problems with fonts, problems with rendering of certain special entities,
and others.

> <clax>
>    <request url="http://www.mymath.org";>
>      <param name="operation" value="integration"/>
> <!-- sin(x) - as from Mathematica web page -->
> <math xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML'>
>   <mrow>
>    <mi>sin</mi>
>    <mo>&#8289;</mo>
>    <mo>(</mo>
>    <mi>x</mi>
>    <mo>)</mo>
>   </mrow>
> </math>
>    <response>
>      <math xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML'>
>    </response>
> </clax>
> This shows a service which takes a parameter (operation) and a MathML
> expression (in this case sin(x)) - I know this isn't semantic math,  but
> it shows the idea. It applies the operation and returns a MathML
> expression.

You chose a very simple _presentational_ markup:

<!-- sin(x) - as from Mathematica web page -->
<math xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML'>

and still we can observe limitations and trouble. The first I would notice
is that structure of markup is not all good would be. From the own MathML
specification we can observe the lacking of structural mrows. Examples in
the spec include

  <mi> sin </mi>
  <mo> &ApplyFunction; </mo>
  <mi> x </mi>

for sin x and

  <mi> f </mi>
  <mo> &ApplyFunction; </mo>
    <mo> ( </mo>
      <mi> x </mi>
      <mo> , </mo>
      <mi> y </mi>
    <mo> ) </mo>

for f(x,y), therefore a more correct way for sin(x) would be

<math xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML'>

or -see also the chapter on fences-:

<math xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML'>

Others applications would include &ApplyFunction; or &af; instead &#8289;
doing that even the encoding and communication of something so simple as
sin(x) can offer several headaches, specially when authoring in group and
each authors uses different MathML tools.

Readers can also note that <mi>x</mi>, <mi> x</mi>, or <mi> x  </mi> are
defined as equivalent in MathML. This generates problems when parsing
mathML because a MathML parser generates different output than a generic
XML parser. When using content Markup or parallel markup the number of
problems increase. For instance, how would I encode sin(x) in content
MathML? This is close to a mistery.

I also find interesting that you chose the integration operation with your
<param name="operation" value="integration"/>. Do you know that some
authors (e.g. http://www.uni-koeln.de/~a0047/publications/GKSC01.ppt)
shown that encoding of someting so simple as the integral of sin x from 0
to x was wrongly encoded in content MathML because lacking
compositionality. Just by curiosity try to see how the encoding is done in
OpenMath. Several mathematicians and programmers are expressing its doubts
abuot content MathML (maybe is the reason of absence of tools and none
browser support content MathML).

Not forget also that MathML or even OpenMath are only addressed to simple
formulae *not* to mathematics in a broad sense: theorems, theories,
proofs, symbolic computation, geometry...)

> P.
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics
> University of Cambridge,
> Lensfield Road,  Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069

Juan R.



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