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LATEX-L  November 1998

LATEX-L November 1998

Subject:

XML (was quotes, a very long time ago)

From:

David Carlisle <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 10 Nov 1998 11:14:23 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

> Please don't speak of MathML, ok? ;)

Ah. When I'm not being `latex3 project' I do, these days, have another
hat which says `W3C Math (MathML) Committee member'. It's not all bad,
you know:-)

> All these, also make my files very large.

Does it really? What people do now (ie before any of the browsers have
native MathML support) is typically make most of the mathematics in
their HTML documents as inlined GIF images. MathML only looks large
because you make the mistake of looking at it. GIF is much larger
but you don't (unless you are Sebastian) try and read it bit by bit
in a binary editor.

> I will freely choose my editor, ranging from things like emacs, to
> smaller editors like joe or my favourite one in DOS (!), i.e., Turbo
> Pascal (!).

I tend to use emacs for everything, in case you hadn't noticed emacs
users are a minority.

Some of us will continue to use that kind of interface, but MathML
offers the hope of using systems like Scientific Word, and even
Microsoft Word via the MathType/Equation Editor thing and getting
something useable out the back, not some obscure rtf extension (out of
MS Word), or LaTeX (out of Scientific word) which is even more obscure to
many people...

There is a very large class of users who would greatly benefit from
being able to enter essentially school or undergraduate level
mathematics in a wysywig fashion and have the mathematics being portable
from their wysywig editor into tex for decent mathematical typesetting,
and (soon?) into browsers for online display, but also symbolic algebra
systems such as Mathematica, or Maple (oh I believe Axiom is jolly good
too:-). For more complete control over the semantics you probably need
something like OpenMath layered over MathML, but that is even more
verbose, and not really relevant to the typesetting aspects of this
list.


There will (perhaps? Sebastian would probably say will not) be a future
for a `tex like' syntax for document markup, and mathematical markup in
particular, but whatever happens there in the `traditional' tex world,
there will _certainly_ be a very large number of documents marked up
to some Mathematics SGML/XML dtd (MathML being the current favourite,
but any other one is likely to look equally verbose and alien to a TeX
user). (La)TeX can play a role in typesetting these documents to its
normal high standards of mathematical typesetting. Just because some
people are working in this area does not mean that latex is necessarily
abandoning its traditional users, or that they have to use any such XML
system. Although perhaps in the end the rather arcane XML syntax may
seem like a price worth paying _if_ it achieves the goals of integration
with symbolic algebra packages and on line browsers.

David

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