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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.

August 12, 2004


I’m currently on vacation (hence the dearth of postings recently), but I do have a request.

If you are using my itexToMML plugin (for either MovableType or WordPress), please leave a comment to this post. If you prefer, send me an email instead. Either way, I’d really like to hear from users about how they are using the plugin, and their thoughts, more generally, on putting math on the web.

Posted by distler at August 12, 2004 1:31 AM

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Re: Request

[Comment by lowlife porn spammer deleted by the Management.]

Posted by: Lowlife Spammer on August 12, 2004 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Request

Well, at least it’s valid porn spam.

Posted by: Josh on August 12, 2004 3:36 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Valid pr0n

Valid? There were 8 errors (including no DOCTYPE and no charset!) on the first page I checked. Clearly I’ll need to call in sick this afternoon, and check the rest.

Posted by: Phil Ringnalda on August 12, 2004 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Request

You might want to check this other plugin for math rendering. It’s not mathml, just pictures. The requirements are steep (latex, ImageMagick), unless you’re using MimeTex. It does work with minimal user intervention, which I like.

Posted by: - d - on August 13, 2004 10:25 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Request

I’d like it if you posted a short tutorial, not on how to write MathML or whatever, but more on what works on current browsers. I used to think that Mozilla was the only browser that support MathML, but I’ve noticed that Safari digests someth MathML without complaining, and even displays it correctly, but other MathML is makes a total hash of, eg it doesn’t seem to draw sub and super scripts lowered and raised. What’s that all about?

Obviously IE is in a retarded world of its own, but in the world of gecko and khtml, is the bottom line that we can expect MathML to be pretty much perfect in one year or so, or is it really the case that if we want to include sophisticated math, we’re going to have to resort to pdf or inline gifs for the next few years?

Posted by: Maynard Handley on August 14, 2004 10:40 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Client support for MathML

I’ve written a lot about MathML support in various browsers. So let me just address your questions.

Safari may “luck out” and display a few mathematical symbols correctly, but it does not support MathML.

Gecko-based browsers (Mozilla, Firefox and Netscape 7 but not Camino) support MathML.

IE 6 with the MathPlayer 2.0 plugin supports MathML, too.

In all cases, you probably need some additional fonts installed: preferably, the Computer Modern (Postscript or TrueType) fonts that come with any modern TeX installation (or can be downloaded separately). An alternative, but much inferior font set is the Mathematica fonts. Unfortunately, the latter is the only alternative for MacOSX users, as the CM fonts are not ATSUI-compatible.

Eventually, someday, the STIX Fonts will be available, and will provide high quality mathematical fonts that will work on all platforms.

In addition to the inferior fonts for the Mac platform, the MathML rendering of Macintosh Mozilla sucks rocks. Mozilla for Linux and Windows is light-years ahead.

IMHO, as long as you stay away from the Macintosh platform, sophisticated math using MathML is ready now.

No one seems to be working on fixing Mac-Mozilla’s MathML support, so unless Dave Hyatt suprises us all with MathML support in Safari, the Macintosh will continue to suck as a platform for viewing MathML for the foreseable future.

Most everyone else, if they are willing to install some fonts and maybe a plugin (for IE 6) will be quite happy with the MathML support in current browsers.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 15, 2004 1:56 AM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Client support for MathML

Thanks for the reply above. Since Wolfram is at least on speaking terms with Steve Jobs (remember Mathematica coming out on NeXT in the old days), and since the fraction of Math/Sci people using macs is probably quite a bit higher than the general mac penetration, there’s a chance we might be pleasantly surprised by Apple next year.

But I guess the bottom line for now, if you care about mac clients as I do, is stick with PDF or inline GIFs.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on August 17, 2004 11:16 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Client support for MathML

Keep your eye on Mozilla Bug 228804. (A workaround for this bug is to fall back to the — positively ancient — Mozilla 1.3a.)

Alternatively, lobby hard for MathML support in Safari. As you say, the penetration of Macs in Math/Sci is very high, higher than in just about any other segment besides graphic design/digital video editing. There’s a real business case for having a browser with decent MathML support on the MacOSX platform. Depending on Mozilla to supply one is not a very Jobsian strategy.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on August 17, 2004 11:58 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Request

Hello there Jacques. I was out of the country for the summer else I would have caught this sooner. I have installed your MathML converters on both Movabletype and Wordpress. The former more sucessfully than the later.

As I was ramming my way through WinEdt typing up some notes…I kept thinking to myself damn I wish I had a good MathML editor…I think I am going to try going back to the javascript converter. I’m busy this semester, also need to change servers…keep pushin’ mang.

Posted by: Scott Bruns on September 13, 2004 11:02 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Request

Thanks for the plugin! Just got it up and running on WordPress 2.6 here.

I’ll try to keep the instructions updated if I discover additional necessary tweaks, but overall 2.6 required minimal patching.

Posted by: Geoffrey Irving on November 24, 2008 9:40 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

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