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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: hyperdoc

From: Bob McElrath
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: hyperdoc
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005 16:40:47 -0800
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6+20040523i

root address@hidden wrote:
> XML is a horror show in practice. XML is standard, of course, and the
> standards are on the web so you can just point at them. Assuming, of
> course, that web pages stay around. And the parsers are large, slow,
> and full of buggy corner cases. XML added a factor of 5 to the file
> size and a factor of 10 to the processing time.

The file size can be alleviated with gzip, if desired, and we may yet
see binary XML, which could address the "slow" problem:

> XML added nothing of value. Other tools and formats do it better,
> easier, and faster, and even more portably. 

I am in complete agreement.

Just making a point to think about.

There are no other tools or formats that do *math* better, easier,
faster, or more portably.  (tex is display only, not interchange, not
input for math evaluation putposes, and not specific enough to describe
a mathematical expression)

Can you elaborate on "full of buggy corner cases"?  I have no argument
with "large" and "slow".

Moving web pages to MathML is simple, and the right way to go for the
restricted problem of presenting info on the web.  Other design
decisions can be debated later...

> I'm sure the issue can be debated and I was once a major XML advocate
> so I'm very familiar with the supposed "pros". No longer. 
> In short, XML is gonna be a hard sell.

Do you have any experience with OpenMath?

I have done some tooling around with MathML, both presentation and
content, and stylesheets for them.  We *will* find corner cases and
problems, particularly in the layout of the math.  But I think the
web-browser crowd has gone as far as they can, and if MathML is to
survive, the math-content-producing folk like ourselves must get

I do not believe that making images out of equations is a horrible way
to go, for the long term.  As has been pointed out, it's impossible to
change the font size, violates many rules of web accessability, printing
looks terrible, and it's in general impossible to get fonts that look
the same as the images.

Bob McElrath [Univ. of California at Davis, Department of Physics]

    "Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks 
    without knowledge, of things without parallel." -- Ambrose Bierce

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