About the MATHematics Markup Language
MathML is a W3C standard and becomes more and more used throughout internet. It attends to replace other ways of publishing equations on the web, like using images, CSS tricks etc. Its main advantages are:
- Equation screenshots clearly sucks! It does not fit with the rest of the page!
- MathML will support all possibilities offered by your browser: zoom, voice speaking, etc.
- Sources are re-usable, and easierly «updatable». You can change equations, update, copy, etc. very fast.
Of course, it is not perfect, and MathML suffers from a lack of support...
Web browsers support
For those who doesn't want any detail but how to access quickly to concerned pages, use Mozilla/Firefox! It has been tested with all the content of this site! All you have to do is install a few missing fonts.
The best way to integrate MathML code in a web page is by using XML pages. This allow XHTML and MathML code be rendered in the browser. Unfortunately, only Gecko based browsers recognize xhtml+xml mime type. The other ones doesn't in the time I write this page, and as far as I know.
Although xhtml+xml is clearly the future of web browsing (and the standard is 3 years old...), there are still a lot to do to be confident your equations will display properly on all computers in earth...
- Internet Explorer doesn't recognize it at all. But Internet Explorer, even in its 6th version, doesn't recognize much of the modern tools used for web pages design. Anyway, I've successfully displayed all the pages using IE6 and the plugin MathPlayer from Mathematica suite.
- KHTML, used in Konqueror and its derivative WebCore, used in Safari, does not support MathML yet
- Opera does not support MathML better
- Amaya is supposed to have a good support, but I don't think many people would use it as a web browser...
If your browser doesn't display my pages correctly, feel free to send a request to its development team. As far as I know, KDE developers would (if they're not currently working on it) do the job if they think enough users are interested. Opera developers would also think in function of user's needs.
Microsoft... thinks mostly in Microsoft way, so maybe it will support correctly standards one day or another, maybe not. I have nothing against them, but they have a serious tendancy to make web design a VERY TOUGH problem because of their particular way of doing "not like the rest of the world", especially when everyone tries to speak a common language.
So our last solutions are Gecko based web browsers! Fortunately, there are some available on all platforms! Here are some:
- The very well known Mozilla Firefox available on almost all platforms
- Camino on MacOS-X (i don't know about it mathml integration, though)
- Epiphany for GNOME2 but not restricted to it!
Composing in MathML
After having tried Amaya and OpenOffice math module, I have decided to write mathml code by hand... I have not tested any commercial products, but I think the problem would be the same: I just want to copy/paste the result without any other consideration, and I have not found any satisfactory soft for that.
It seems that the most efficient way at present is to write equations in LaTeX, and convert them in MathML. Since I would spend as much time checking the resulting code to be sure it is standards compliant as writing it myself, I write it myself! This is also a very good way to learn it!
Maybe, one day, on this page, i will talk about a killer-application to write MathML code you can directly include in your pages. For now, just... do it yourself!!