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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.

July 26, 2007

WebKit and MathML

Dave Morrison always has the coolest toys. Years ago, he was the only person I knew with SSH on his cell phone. So it wasn’t all that surprising that he was the owner of the first iPhone I ever got to fondle.

“Look,” he said, “here’s your blog.”

Sure enough, there was Musings, in all its glory … Or most of it. “No MathML,” he muttered. And, indeed, that’s something that I’ve been muttering about for years. In the two years since it became open-source, WebKit has gained a lot of mindshare. In addition to Safari and the iPhone, it powers Nokia’s mobile browser and even the developers of KHTML have bowed to the inevitable.

So it’s a little disappointing that the WebKit MathML project has gone precisely nowhere. Dave and I discussed the matter, and he even expressed an interest in joining the aforementioned project … if only there were something to join.

So where are the developers interested in implementing MathML in WebKit? Y’all should talk.

Someday, it would be nice to be able to read this blog on Dave’s phone.

Update (7/26/2007):

Speaking of Safari, it appears that I unjustly maligned that browser’s DOM support in real XHTML. It turns out that it’s broken, but not quite as broken as I thought. What I thought was brokenness was merely WebKit being stricter than the others. document.createElement doesn’t do what you think it does1 (as it does in Mozilla or Opera). You really do need to use document.createElementNS. The upshot is that Instiki now sends S5 slideshows to Safari as real XHTML. Which means that inline SVG, if not MathML, works.

1 In other browsers, document.createElement creates an element in the XHTML namespace. In Safari, it creates an element in the null namespace.

Posted by distler at July 26, 2007 11:28 AM

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6 Comments & 1 Trackback

Re: WebKit and MathML

Design Science has offered to work with them years ago by helping them create a WebKit (Safari) plugin interface capable of handling our MathPlayer plugin. This would not at all preclude others from creating MathML display engines using the same interface. We would have no interest in making the interface proprietary. In fact, such an interface could be general enough to handle other XML languages. We would even allow them to distribute MathPlayer until them came up with their own engine. Our only restriction is that we won’t make MathPlayer open source. This is core technology for us and we still have to pay the bills ;-) So far they haven’t taken us up on the offer.

Paul Topping,
Design Science, Inc.

Posted by: Paul Topping on July 26, 2007 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: WebKit and MathML

Hi Paul Topping
What’s the latest on on MathMl for Webkit (Safari)? We are trying to use it on iPhone with Safari. Please let us know asap.

Posted by: Girish Desai on January 22, 2009 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: WebKit and MathML

It looks like WebKit will be changing.

Posted by: Sam Ruby on July 27, 2007 8:58 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

WebKit DOM scripting

I think was overly generous in my excitement at getting S5 to work.

It appears that they also intend to fix the fact that cookies don’t work in XHTML, which pretty much qualifies as “broken.”

Posted by: Jacques Distler on July 27, 2007 10:05 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this
Read the post Google Summer of Code
Weblog: Musings
Excerpt: Bring MathML to Safari, and get paid.
Tracked: March 21, 2008 5:09 PM

Re: WebKit and MathML

It appears that MathML doesn’t render perfectly on Opera Mini either. Hopefully that can be resolved… I guess it only affects a small portion of users :(

Posted by: JD Lien on September 21, 2010 5:36 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

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