What does MathML look like?
...provided you have the full MathML font support installed on your computer!
It is not enough to just install Firefox and expect every MathML site to work.
What it does not [ necessarily ] cater for, straight from the box, is some 'power users'. If your type of typical web browsing is niche or specialist, then you might have to do a little work yourself, to help Firefox meet your 'power' needs.
How much mathematics do you browse?
- Hardly ever
- Once in a while
- Several times a week
For GNU/Linux you will likely search in your package manager for mathml, and ttf and lyx and otf and stix, or in convenient command line:
apt-get install xfonts-mathml ttf-lyx otf-stix
[ Non debian (and derivatives) might look for similar in yum or whatever auto tool is available ]
Taken together the three packages
xfonts-mathml ttf-lyx otf-stixenable your computer to render a large amount of technical / mathematical text.
Here is a list of what
- cmex10 - Computer Modern math extension
- cmmi10 - Computer Modern math italic
- cmr10 - Computer Modern Roman
- cmsy10 - Computer Modern math symbols
- esint10 - Alternate integrals
- eufm10 - Euler Fraktur (medium-weight)
- msam10 - Extra math symbols, first series
- msbm10 - Extra math symbols, second series, including Blackboard Bold
- wasy10 - Waldi symbol fonts
.ttf, by contrast the stix files come down as
.otfas shown here.
The Debian page for xfonts-mathml is quite instructive here:
You will also need to install the packages: otf-stix (STIX fonts) and ttf-lyx (TeX's Computer Modern fonts) to view MathML properly.For other operating systems, you will need to find equivalent fonts, and should certainly know a little about where (on your system) to install
Smartphones and netbooks - power and bandwidth considerations:
What MathML offers for smartphones and netbooks is an efficient 'markup based' way of rendering.
This has the advantage of using less power and bandwidth, as compared with an iteration heavy protocol such as ajax.
My personal preference would be for all mathematics to be viewable on mid-range phones in developing countries. After all why limit the knowledge of mathematics to just high end smartphones in the Western world?
Hopefully in 2011 and 2012, a range of mid-range MeeGo phones will have support for MathML font addition to the standard browser.
But how do I create the markup myself?:
Firstly let me state that MathML is not aiming to be a wild 'data interchange' format. It concentrates on presentation, and does it rather well (as the image at the start of this article shows)
It is not necessarily 'concise' or 'compact' which is why using an editing tool that generates MathML output for you, is a good idea.
latex2html for those whose native tongue is Tex (Latex)
There are other editors that do similar tasks also.
If you are a web developer who knows a bit of html, then coming to MathML should give you a somewhat familiar markup feel, but you will probably tire quickly of writing all the markup.
( Latex if you are on a project which requires months worth of Mathematics in web documents, perhaps Lyx if you are on a small project. )
Links and Further reading:
- SIL Open font licensed Stix project fonts [ stixfonts.org ]
- GPLv2 licensed Lyx project [ lyx.org ]
- MathML font addition - general instructions [ developer.mozilla.org ]
- Latex2html tool - debian package [ debian.org ]
- Rather harsh post about MathML but the examples are good
[ gorupec.awardspace.com ]