[Blindmath] Blindmath Digest, Vol 48, Issue 18
Vincent Martin
vmartin at mindspring.com
Wed Jul 28 14:21:26 CDT 2010
Thanks, but you did send it to me.
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Subject: Blindmath Digest, Vol 48, Issue 18
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Today's Topics:
1. Re: Maths on the web (yet again) (Roopakshi Pathania)
2. Re: Maths on the web (yet again) (Greg)
3. Re: Maths on the web (yet again) (Neil Soiffer)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Message: 1
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 11:35:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: Roopakshi Pathania <r_akshi_tgk at yahoo.com>
To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Neil Soiffer <Neils at dessci.com>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Maths on the web (yet again)
Message-ID: <939855.77996.qm at web38708.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Hi Neil,
A couple of points before I go to sleep.
- Can you give an example of a site using MathJax?
A quick check of the website doesn't lead me to any real world examples.
I've been wondering if Sage's site uses MathJax.
http://www.sagenb.org/pub
- I check your blog regularly for any updates.
Regards
--- On Tue, 7/27/10, Neil Soiffer <NeilS at dessci.com> wrote:
> From: Neil Soiffer <NeilS at dessci.com>
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Maths on the web (yet again)
> To: andrew.stacey at math.ntnu.no, "Blind Math list for those interested in
mathematics" <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
> Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 10:26 PM
> That's a very nice summary, and I
> agree with everything you say.? I do want
> to point to a new technology called "MathJax"? (see
> mathjax.org).? MathJax
> is a Javascript based renderer that will render MathML or a
> standard subset
> of TeX for math? (most people forget that TeX is a
> powerful programming
> language that allows its syntax and the meaning of commands
> to be changed or
> extended).? MathJax has the ability to be configured
> so that it will pass
> MathML or converted TeX to the browser (for Firefox or
> IE+MathPlayer).? One
> great thing about MathJax is the chicken and egg problem is
> "cracked" (sorry
> for the pun) -- MathML can now be rendered on all modern
> browsers, including
> on iphones and ipads!
>
> If you are using IE+MathPlayer and have MathJax configured,
> then the math is
> accessible.? Of course, anytime you convert from one
> language to another,
> there are some assumptions that get made, etc, but MathJax
> means that even
> if you authored your wiki, blog, or general web page with
> TeX, it can still
> be accessible.? To author using MathJax, simply add
> the approppriate call to
> MathJax in the header for the page.? See mathjax.org
> for details and
> examples.
>
> There are some really exciting developments related to
> MathJax and MathML 3
> coming soon.? I'll be blogging about them over the
> next month or two.? At
> the risk of being too self-promoting, I invite everyone to
> check out the
> blog at http://accessiblemath.dessci.com/.
>
> Neil Soiffer
> Senior Scientist
> Design Science, Inc.
> www.dessci.com
> ~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy,
> Equation Editor ~
>
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 1:07 AM, Andrew Stacey
> <andrew.stacey at math.ntnu.no>wrote:
>
> > There's a new question and answer site starting up
> focussing on TeX and
> > LaTeX.
> > As was fairly predictable, one of the first questions
> is about putting
> > maths
> > on the web.? Having lurked here for a while, and
> taken part in the
> > discussion
> > on Terry Tao's blog a short while ago, I thought I'd
> try my hand at
> > answering
> > this question.? However, as I'm neither blind nor
> an expert on such
> > matters,
> > there are no doubt things that I've gotten wrong.
> >
> > Since the website in question is at the moment in a
> private mode (anyone
> > can
> > read the questions and answers via
> > http://stackmobile.com/site.php?site=tex.stackexchange,
> but only the
> > original
> > people who signed up can post stuff), and I've no idea
> how accessible the
> > site
> > it, I'm copying my answer below.? I will happily
> correct any mistakes I may
> > have made, or emphasis that I've mislaid, or add
> anything that members of
> > this
> > list feel should be said.
> >
> > The markup language for this is Markdown.? I
> don't know how email readers
> > will
> > cope with that so here's a quick explanation of the
> key points.? Firstly,
> > list
> > numbering is automatic so all my list entries start
> with a 1.? Secondly,
> > emphasis and bold are done by surrounding the word or
> text in underscores
> > or
> > asterisks.? Thirdly, links are done like this:
> [link text](url).? Fourthly,
> > headers are done using hashes.
> >
> > My answer now follows:
> >
> > When embedding mathematics into a webpage, there are
> two primary questions:
> >
> > 1. What format should be used to display it?
> > 1. Where should the conversion be done?
> >
> > In my opinion, each of these has a definite answer and
> a different solution
> > should only be used if the optimal solution really
> cannot be done.
> >
> > 1. **MathML**.? Reasons:
> >???1. It is the *only* **accessible**
> way of doing this.? Putting the
> > original LaTeX in an `alt` tag on an image is not
> accessible - it relies on
> > the recipient being able to understand raw LaTeX
> source code (more on this
> > in a moment).? Also, not all of those requiring
> accessible webpages use
> > screen readers, some simply need to enlarge the page.
> >???1. It is **styleable** (not sure if
> that's a word).? Since MathML is part
> > of the XHTML suite, it can be styled in the same
> fashion as the rest of the
> > document (namely, via CSS), so the resulting display
> is far more harmonious
> > than any other (try changing the background colour to
> something easier on
> > the eyes at one of those wordpress blogs and you'll
> see what I mean).
> >???1. It is **small**.? A quick
> test on my system with 515 simple files that
> > I happened to have lying around showed that PNGs
> weighed in at 175kB whilst
> > the MathML equivalents were a shade under 60kB.?
> The PNGs were not large
> > resolution, for example the PNG containing the Zeta
> symbol was a 9x13 image.
> >
> > 1. **Server-side**.? Reasons:
> >???1. It is **small**.? Instead of
> sending both the source _and_ the
> > instructions on how to compile it, you just send the
> result.
> >???1. It is **reliable**.? You can
> easily check that what you want the
> > person to see is what they should see.? In
> particular, a javascript solution
> > relies on two things being correct: the javascript
> script _and_ the
> > implementation of javascript in the browser.?
> MathML just relies on the
> > MathML implementation in the browser.
> >???1. It is **fast**.? With
> server-side caching, you only need to process
> > the mathematics once and then it's done.
> >???1. It is **verifiable** (similar to
> reliable, I guess).? I don't fully
> > understand the differences between the _types_ of spec
> that w3c produce, but
> > MathML is certainly a recommendation.? Even
> though browser support is
> > variable, the variations are known because they can be
> measured using the
> > open standard, and thus can be taken into account.
> >
> > Server-side MathML is the optimal solution.? Of
> course, it's not always
> > possible and then other solutions are useful.
> >
> > There are various standard arguments against using
> server-side MathML and
> > other myths about mathematics in webpages that are
> worth taking a minute
> > over.
> >
> > ###Myths###
> > 1. Sending the raw LaTeX code in an alt tag makes
> images accessible.
> >
> >???When people say this, they mean that
> they can read `$a^2 + b^2 = c^2$`
> > and understand it.? Try them on something a
> little more complicated and
> > you'll soon see that this is complete rubbish.?
> For example, try having
> > someone **read out** the following to you:
> >
>
`$\begin{array}\ell^0(\mathbb{R})&\;\mapsto&\;\ell^2(\mathbb{R})\\\downarrow
&&\uparrow\\L^2(\mathbb{R})&\subseteq\,&L^\infty(\mathbb{R})\end{array}$`.
> >? Of course, there's going to be people who will
> say, "_I_ can understand
> > that!" but _that's not the point_.? You write a
> webpage for other people and
> > the more complicated the LaTeX, the fewer the number
> of people who can
> > instantly read it.
> >
> > 1. MathML is badly supported.
> >
> >???This is the classic
> chicken-and-egg.? MathML support is absolutely fine
> > in Firefox, in IE with the MathPlayer plugin, and in
> Amaya (what's that, I
> > hear you cry!).? Plus there are groups working on
> it for Opera and WebKit
> > who just _need a little encouragement_!? Sending
> them an email saying, "I
> > love your browser but until it has proper MathML
> support then I can't use
> > it" would provide them with a little more
> motivation.? Of course, there are
> > bugs in the implementations in Firefox and the others,
> but those are _known_
> > and so can be worked around.
> >
> > 1. MathML requires documents to be valid XHTML.
> >
> >???Actually, this isn't a myth.?
> It's absolutely true.? But surely your
> > pages were valid to begin with!? I'm a
> mathematician and my ideal document
> > is one that _cannot_ be misunderstood.? That's
> impossible, so I try for the
> > lesser goal of where any misunderstanding can be laid
> at the door of the
> > person reading it rather than me.? MathML, as
> it's an open standard, allows
> > me to reach that goal on webpages - at least
> technically, the contents are
> > more variable!
> >
> > Finally - on this part - for those that _still_ worry
> about Joe Blogs (or
> > Ola Nordmann, to be geographically correct) not being
> able to read your
> > webpage due to using an old version of IE and refusing
> to install plugins,
> > it is actually possible to have two versions of the
> mathematics on your
> > server and send MathML to those that can see it and
> PNGs to those that
> > can't, thus getting the best of both worlds.
> >
> > What about implementation?? Well, there you're in
> luck.? [iTeX](
> >
http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/itex2MML.html<http://golem.ph.utexa
s.edu/%7Edistler/blog/itex2MML.html>)
> > can do it all, and in spades.? iTeX is a fast c++
> program that converts a
> > subset of LaTeX mathematical language into
> MathML.? The original package
> > comes with bindings for ruby, and I've extended this
> to PHP, Perl, and
> > Python.? By combining it with other packages, in
> particular [svgmath](
> > http://grigoriev.ru/svgmath/) or [gtkmathview](
> > http://helm.cs.unibo.it/mml-widget/), it
> is possible to further convert
> > the MathML to an image for broken browsers.?
> (Contact me for these
> > extensions; I haven't gotten round to writing them up
> yet - it's on my TODO
> > list!)
> >
> > For examples, see the [nlab](http://ncatlab.org) (pure MathML) and the
> >
[nforum](http://www.math.ntnu.no/~stacey/Vanilla/nForum<http://www.math.ntnu
.no/%7Estacey/Vanilla/nForum>)
> > (MathML, SVG, or PNG depending on what browser you are
> using).
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Blindmath mailing list
> > Blindmath at nfbnet.org
> > http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindmath_nfbnet.org
> > To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your
> account info for
> > Blindmath:
> >
> >
http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/blindmath_nfbnet.org/neils%40dessci.co
m
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Blindmath mailing list
> Blindmath at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindmath_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your
> account info for Blindmath:
>
http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/blindmath_nfbnet.org/r_akshi_tgk%40yah
oo.com
>
------------------------------
Message: 2
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 13:57:12 -0400
From: "Greg" <gwblindman1 at gwblindman.org>
To: "Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics"
<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Maths on the web (yet again)
Message-ID: <41A9191D67964DC4A465A85C1424C5D6 at GregsToshiba>
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";
reply-type=original
hello,
Where do I get math player?
Thanks,
Greg Wocher
----- Original Message -----
From: "Neil Soiffer" <NeilS at dessci.com>
To: <andrew.stacey at math.ntnu.no>; "Blind Math list for those interested in
mathematics" <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Maths on the web (yet again)
> That's a very nice summary, and I agree with everything you say. I do
> want
> to point to a new technology called "MathJax" (see mathjax.org). MathJax
> is a Javascript based renderer that will render MathML or a standard
> subset
> of TeX for math (most people forget that TeX is a powerful programming
> language that allows its syntax and the meaning of commands to be changed
> or
> extended). MathJax has the ability to be configured so that it will pass
> MathML or converted TeX to the browser (for Firefox or IE+MathPlayer).
> One
> great thing about MathJax is the chicken and egg problem is "cracked"
> (sorry
> for the pun) -- MathML can now be rendered on all modern browsers,
> including
> on iphones and ipads!
>
> If you are using IE+MathPlayer and have MathJax configured, then the math
> is
> accessible. Of course, anytime you convert from one language to another,
> there are some assumptions that get made, etc, but MathJax means that even
> if you authored your wiki, blog, or general web page with TeX, it can
> still
> be accessible. To author using MathJax, simply add the approppriate call
> to
> MathJax in the header for the page. See mathjax.org for details and
> examples.
>
> There are some really exciting developments related to MathJax and MathML
> 3
> coming soon. I'll be blogging about them over the next month or two. At
> the risk of being too self-promoting, I invite everyone to check out the
> blog at http://accessiblemath.dessci.com/.
>
> Neil Soiffer
> Senior Scientist
> Design Science, Inc.
> www.dessci.com
> ~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy, Equation Editor ~
>
>
>
> On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 1:07 AM, Andrew Stacey
> <andrew.stacey at math.ntnu.no>wrote:
>
>> There's a new question and answer site starting up focussing on TeX and
>> LaTeX.
>> As was fairly predictable, one of the first questions is about putting
>> maths
>> on the web. Having lurked here for a while, and taken part in the
>> discussion
>> on Terry Tao's blog a short while ago, I thought I'd try my hand at
>> answering
>> this question. However, as I'm neither blind nor an expert on such
>> matters,
>> there are no doubt things that I've gotten wrong.
>>
>> Since the website in question is at the moment in a private mode (anyone
>> can
>> read the questions and answers via
>> http://stackmobile.com/site.php?site=tex.stackexchange, but only the
>> original
>> people who signed up can post stuff), and I've no idea how accessible the
>> site
>> it, I'm copying my answer below. I will happily correct any mistakes I
>> may
>> have made, or emphasis that I've mislaid, or add anything that members of
>> this
>> list feel should be said.
>>
>> The markup language for this is Markdown. I don't know how email readers
>> will
>> cope with that so here's a quick explanation of the key points. Firstly,
>> list
>> numbering is automatic so all my list entries start with a 1. Secondly,
>> emphasis and bold are done by surrounding the word or text in underscores
>> or
>> asterisks. Thirdly, links are done like this: [link text](url).
>> Fourthly,
>> headers are done using hashes.
>>
>> My answer now follows:
>>
>> When embedding mathematics into a webpage, there are two primary
>> questions:
>>
>> 1. What format should be used to display it?
>> 1. Where should the conversion be done?
>>
>> In my opinion, each of these has a definite answer and a different
>> solution
>> should only be used if the optimal solution really cannot be done.
>>
>> 1. **MathML**. Reasons:
>> 1. It is the *only* **accessible** way of doing this. Putting the
>> original LaTeX in an `alt` tag on an image is not accessible - it relies
>> on
>> the recipient being able to understand raw LaTeX source code (more on
>> this
>> in a moment). Also, not all of those requiring accessible webpages use
>> screen readers, some simply need to enlarge the page.
>> 1. It is **styleable** (not sure if that's a word). Since MathML is
>> part
>> of the XHTML suite, it can be styled in the same fashion as the rest of
>> the
>> document (namely, via CSS), so the resulting display is far more
>> harmonious
>> than any other (try changing the background colour to something easier on
>> the eyes at one of those wordpress blogs and you'll see what I mean).
>> 1. It is **small**. A quick test on my system with 515 simple files
>> that
>> I happened to have lying around showed that PNGs weighed in at 175kB
>> whilst
>> the MathML equivalents were a shade under 60kB. The PNGs were not large
>> resolution, for example the PNG containing the Zeta symbol was a 9x13
>> image.
>>
>> 1. **Server-side**. Reasons:
>> 1. It is **small**. Instead of sending both the source _and_ the
>> instructions on how to compile it, you just send the result.
>> 1. It is **reliable**. You can easily check that what you want the
>> person to see is what they should see. In particular, a javascript
>> solution
>> relies on two things being correct: the javascript script _and_ the
>> implementation of javascript in the browser. MathML just relies on the
>> MathML implementation in the browser.
>> 1. It is **fast**. With server-side caching, you only need to process
>> the mathematics once and then it's done.
>> 1. It is **verifiable** (similar to reliable, I guess). I don't fully
>> understand the differences between the _types_ of spec that w3c produce,
>> but
>> MathML is certainly a recommendation. Even though browser support is
>> variable, the variations are known because they can be measured using the
>> open standard, and thus can be taken into account.
>>
>> Server-side MathML is the optimal solution. Of course, it's not always
>> possible and then other solutions are useful.
>>
>> There are various standard arguments against using server-side MathML and
>> other myths about mathematics in webpages that are worth taking a minute
>> over.
>>
>> ###Myths###
>> 1. Sending the raw LaTeX code in an alt tag makes images accessible.
>>
>> When people say this, they mean that they can read `$a^2 + b^2 = c^2$`
>> and understand it. Try them on something a little more complicated and
>> you'll soon see that this is complete rubbish. For example, try having
>> someone **read out** the following to you:
>>
`$\begin{array}\ell^0(\mathbb{R})&\;\mapsto&\;\ell^2(\mathbb{R})\\\downarrow
&&\uparrow\\L^2(\mathbb{R})&\subseteq\,&L^\infty(\mathbb{R})\end{array}$`.
>> Of course, there's going to be people who will say, "_I_ can understand
>> that!" but _that's not the point_. You write a webpage for other people
>> and
>> the more complicated the LaTeX, the fewer the number of people who can
>> instantly read it.
>>
>> 1. MathML is badly supported.
>>
>> This is the classic chicken-and-egg. MathML support is absolutely fine
>> in Firefox, in IE with the MathPlayer plugin, and in Amaya (what's that,
>> I
>> hear you cry!). Plus there are groups working on it for Opera and WebKit
>> who just _need a little encouragement_! Sending them an email saying, "I
>> love your browser but until it has proper MathML support then I can't use
>> it" would provide them with a little more motivation. Of course, there
>> are
>> bugs in the implementations in Firefox and the others, but those are
>> _known_
>> and so can be worked around.
>>
>> 1. MathML requires documents to be valid XHTML.
>>
>> Actually, this isn't a myth. It's absolutely true. But surely your
>> pages were valid to begin with! I'm a mathematician and my ideal
>> document
>> is one that _cannot_ be misunderstood. That's impossible, so I try for
>> the
>> lesser goal of where any misunderstanding can be laid at the door of the
>> person reading it rather than me. MathML, as it's an open standard,
>> allows
>> me to reach that goal on webpages - at least technically, the contents
>> are
>> more variable!
>>
>> Finally - on this part - for those that _still_ worry about Joe Blogs (or
>> Ola Nordmann, to be geographically correct) not being able to read your
>> webpage due to using an old version of IE and refusing to install
>> plugins,
>> it is actually possible to have two versions of the mathematics on your
>> server and send MathML to those that can see it and PNGs to those that
>> can't, thus getting the best of both worlds.
>>
>> What about implementation? Well, there you're in luck. [iTeX](
>>
http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/itex2MML.html<http://golem.ph.utexa
s.edu/%7Edistler/blog/itex2MML.html>)
>> can do it all, and in spades. iTeX is a fast c++ program that converts a
>> subset of LaTeX mathematical language into MathML. The original package
>> comes with bindings for ruby, and I've extended this to PHP, Perl, and
>> Python. By combining it with other packages, in particular [svgmath](
>> http://grigoriev.ru/svgmath/) or [gtkmathview](
>> http://helm.cs.unibo.it/mml-widget/), it is possible to further convert
>> the MathML to an image for broken browsers. (Contact me for these
>> extensions; I haven't gotten round to writing them up yet - it's on my
>> TODO
>> list!)
>>
>> For examples, see the [nlab](http://ncatlab.org) (pure MathML) and the
>>
[nforum](http://www.math.ntnu.no/~stacey/Vanilla/nForum<http://www.math.ntnu
.no/%7Estacey/Vanilla/nForum>)
>> (MathML, SVG, or PNG depending on what browser you are using).
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Blindmath mailing list
>> Blindmath at nfbnet.org
>> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindmath_nfbnet.org
>> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for
>> Blindmath:
>>
>>
http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/blindmath_nfbnet.org/neils%40dessci.co
m
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Blindmath mailing list
> Blindmath at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindmath_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for
> Blindmath:
>
http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/blindmath_nfbnet.org/gwblindman1%40gwb
lindman.org
------------------------------
Message: 3
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 12:22:38 -0700
From: Neil Soiffer <NeilS at dessci.com>
To: Roopakshi Pathania <r_akshi_tgk at yahoo.com>
Cc: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
<blindmath at nfbnet.org>
Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Maths on the web (yet again)
Message-ID:
<AANLkTi=Cd9f3=dwOUGw0EKScSA_u5+rwC=4NhsDBeW-q at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Do a search for "Powered by MathJax". If they use the MathJax logo, that
search will find it. You could also search for "mathjax.js", but I think a
lot of the 10,000 hits that has refer to how to use MathJax.
I should have mentioned that MathJax (which is a follow on to jsMath), is
just about to go to 1.0 (any week now), so only early adopters have made the
switch. Also the MathJax logo is new within the last month or so, so even
among early adopters, it's use is rare. There's a number of high power
supporters/sponsers of MathJax, so in the coming year, you'll see more and
more pages/blogs/wikis using MathJax.
Neil Soiffer
Senior Scientist
Design Science, Inc.
www.dessci.com
~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy, Equation Editor ~
On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 11:35 AM, Roopakshi Pathania
<r_akshi_tgk at yahoo.com>wrote:
>
> Hi Neil,
>
> A couple of points before I go to sleep.
>
> - Can you give an example of a site using MathJax?
> A quick check of the website doesn't lead me to any real world examples.
> I've been wondering if Sage's site uses MathJax.
> http://www.sagenb.org/pub
>
> - I check your blog regularly for any updates.
>
> Regards
> --- On Tue, 7/27/10, Neil Soiffer <NeilS at dessci.com> wrote:
>
> > From: Neil Soiffer <NeilS at dessci.com>
> > Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Maths on the web (yet again)
> > To: andrew.stacey at math.ntnu.no, "Blind Math list for those interested in
> mathematics" <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
> > Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 10:26 PM
> > That's a very nice summary, and I
> > agree with everything you say. I do want
> > to point to a new technology called "MathJax" (see
> > mathjax.org). MathJax
> > is a Javascript based renderer that will render MathML or a
> > standard subset
> > of TeX for math (most people forget that TeX is a
> > powerful programming
> > language that allows its syntax and the meaning of commands
> > to be changed or
> > extended). MathJax has the ability to be configured
> > so that it will pass
> > MathML or converted TeX to the browser (for Firefox or
> > IE+MathPlayer). One
> > great thing about MathJax is the chicken and egg problem is
> > "cracked" (sorry
> > for the pun) -- MathML can now be rendered on all modern
> > browsers, including
> > on iphones and ipads!
> >
> > If you are using IE+MathPlayer and have MathJax configured,
> > then the math is
> > accessible. Of course, anytime you convert from one
> > language to another,
> > there are some assumptions that get made, etc, but MathJax
> > means that even
> > if you authored your wiki, blog, or general web page with
> > TeX, it can still
> > be accessible. To author using MathJax, simply add
> > the approppriate call to
> > MathJax in the header for the page. See mathjax.org
> > for details and
> > examples.
> >
> > There are some really exciting developments related to
> > MathJax and MathML 3
> > coming soon. I'll be blogging about them over the
> > next month or two. At
> > the risk of being too self-promoting, I invite everyone to
> > check out the
> > blog at http://accessiblemath.dessci.com/.
> >
> > Neil Soiffer
> > Senior Scientist
> > Design Science, Inc.
> > www.dessci.com
> > ~ Makers of MathType, MathFlow, MathPlayer, MathDaisy,
> > Equation Editor ~
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 1:07 AM, Andrew Stacey
> > <andrew.stacey at math.ntnu.no>wrote:
> >
> > > There's a new question and answer site starting up
> > focussing on TeX and
> > > LaTeX.
> > > As was fairly predictable, one of the first questions
> > is about putting
> > > maths
> > > on the web. Having lurked here for a while, and
> > taken part in the
> > > discussion
> > > on Terry Tao's blog a short while ago, I thought I'd
> > try my hand at
> > > answering
> > > this question. However, as I'm neither blind nor
> > an expert on such
> > > matters,
> > > there are no doubt things that I've gotten wrong.
> > >
> > > Since the website in question is at the moment in a
> > private mode (anyone
> > > can
> > > read the questions and answers via
> > > http://stackmobile.com/site.php?site=tex.stackexchange,
> > but only the
> > > original
> > > people who signed up can post stuff), and I've no idea
> > how accessible the
> > > site
> > > it, I'm copying my answer below. I will happily
> > correct any mistakes I may
> > > have made, or emphasis that I've mislaid, or add
> > anything that members of
> > > this
> > > list feel should be said.
> > >
> > > The markup language for this is Markdown. I
> > don't know how email readers
> > > will
> > > cope with that so here's a quick explanation of the
> > key points. Firstly,
> > > list
> > > numbering is automatic so all my list entries start
> > with a 1. Secondly,
> > > emphasis and bold are done by surrounding the word or
> > text in underscores
> > > or
> > > asterisks. Thirdly, links are done like this:
> > [link text](url). Fourthly,
> > > headers are done using hashes.
> > >
> > > My answer now follows:
> > >
> > > When embedding mathematics into a webpage, there are
> > two primary questions:
> > >
> > > 1. What format should be used to display it?
> > > 1. Where should the conversion be done?
> > >
> > > In my opinion, each of these has a definite answer and
> > a different solution
> > > should only be used if the optimal solution really
> > cannot be done.
> > >
> > > 1. **MathML**. Reasons:
> > > 1. It is the *only* **accessible**
> > way of doing this. Putting the
> > > original LaTeX in an `alt` tag on an image is not
> > accessible - it relies on
> > > the recipient being able to understand raw LaTeX
> > source code (more on this
> > > in a moment). Also, not all of those requiring
> > accessible webpages use
> > > screen readers, some simply need to enlarge the page.
> > > 1. It is **styleable** (not sure if
> > that's a word). Since MathML is part
> > > of the XHTML suite, it can be styled in the same
> > fashion as the rest of the
> > > document (namely, via CSS), so the resulting display
> > is far more harmonious
> > > than any other (try changing the background colour to
> > something easier on
> > > the eyes at one of those wordpress blogs and you'll
> > see what I mean).
> > > 1. It is **small**. A quick
> > test on my system with 515 simple files that
> > > I happened to have lying around showed that PNGs
> > weighed in at 175kB whilst
> > > the MathML equivalents were a shade under 60kB.
> > The PNGs were not large
> > > resolution, for example the PNG containing the Zeta
> > symbol was a 9x13 image.
> > >
> > > 1. **Server-side**. Reasons:
> > > 1. It is **small**. Instead of
> > sending both the source _and_ the
> > > instructions on how to compile it, you just send the
> > result.
> > > 1. It is **reliable**. You can
> > easily check that what you want the
> > > person to see is what they should see. In
> > particular, a javascript solution
> > > relies on two things being correct: the javascript
> > script _and_ the
> > > implementation of javascript in the browser.
> > MathML just relies on the
> > > MathML implementation in the browser.
> > > 1. It is **fast**. With
> > server-side caching, you only need to process
> > > the mathematics once and then it's done.
> > > 1. It is **verifiable** (similar to
> > reliable, I guess). I don't fully
> > > understand the differences between the _types_ of spec
> > that w3c produce, but
> > > MathML is certainly a recommendation. Even
> > though browser support is
> > > variable, the variations are known because they can be
> > measured using the
> > > open standard, and thus can be taken into account.
> > >
> > > Server-side MathML is the optimal solution. Of
> > course, it's not always
> > > possible and then other solutions are useful.
> > >
> > > There are various standard arguments against using
> > server-side MathML and
> > > other myths about mathematics in webpages that are
> > worth taking a minute
> > > over.
> > >
> > > ###Myths###
> > > 1. Sending the raw LaTeX code in an alt tag makes
> > images accessible.
> > >
> > > When people say this, they mean that
> > they can read `$a^2 + b^2 = c^2$`
> > > and understand it. Try them on something a
> > little more complicated and
> > > you'll soon see that this is complete rubbish.
> > For example, try having
> > > someone **read out** the following to you:
> > >
> >
>
`$\begin{array}\ell^0(\mathbb{R})&\;\mapsto&\;\ell^2(\mathbb{R})\\\downarrow
&&\uparrow\\L^2(\mathbb{R})&\subseteq\,&L^\infty(\mathbb{R})\end{array}$`.
> > > Of course, there's going to be people who will
> > say, "_I_ can understand
> > > that!" but _that's not the point_. You write a
> > webpage for other people and
> > > the more complicated the LaTeX, the fewer the number
> > of people who can
> > > instantly read it.
> > >
> > > 1. MathML is badly supported.
> > >
> > > This is the classic
> > chicken-and-egg. MathML support is absolutely fine
> > > in Firefox, in IE with the MathPlayer plugin, and in
> > Amaya (what's that, I
> > > hear you cry!). Plus there are groups working on
> > it for Opera and WebKit
> > > who just _need a little encouragement_! Sending
> > them an email saying, "I
> > > love your browser but until it has proper MathML
> > support then I can't use
> > > it" would provide them with a little more
> > motivation. Of course, there are
> > > bugs in the implementations in Firefox and the others,
> > but those are _known_
> > > and so can be worked around.
> > >
> > > 1. MathML requires documents to be valid XHTML.
> > >
> > > Actually, this isn't a myth.
> > It's absolutely true. But surely your
> > > pages were valid to begin with! I'm a
> > mathematician and my ideal document
> > > is one that _cannot_ be misunderstood. That's
> > impossible, so I try for the
> > > lesser goal of where any misunderstanding can be laid
> > at the door of the
> > > person reading it rather than me. MathML, as
> > it's an open standard, allows
> > > me to reach that goal on webpages - at least
> > technically, the contents are
> > > more variable!
> > >
> > > Finally - on this part - for those that _still_ worry
> > about Joe Blogs (or
> > > Ola Nordmann, to be geographically correct) not being
> > able to read your
> > > webpage due to using an old version of IE and refusing
> > to install plugins,
> > > it is actually possible to have two versions of the
> > mathematics on your
> > > server and send MathML to those that can see it and
> > PNGs to those that
> > > can't, thus getting the best of both worlds.
> > >
> > > What about implementation? Well, there you're in
> > luck. [iTeX](
> > >
http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/itex2MML.html<http://golem.ph.utexa
s.edu/%7Edistler/blog/itex2MML.html>
> <http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/%7Edistler/blog/itex2MML.html>)
> > > can do it all, and in spades. iTeX is a fast c++
> > program that converts a
> > > subset of LaTeX mathematical language into
> > MathML. The original package
> > > comes with bindings for ruby, and I've extended this
> > to PHP, Perl, and
> > > Python. By combining it with other packages, in
> > particular [svgmath](
> > > http://grigoriev.ru/svgmath/) or [gtkmathview](
> > > http://helm.cs.unibo.it/mml-widget/), it
> > is possible to further convert
> > > the MathML to an image for broken browsers.
> > (Contact me for these
> > > extensions; I haven't gotten round to writing them up
> > yet - it's on my TODO
> > > list!)
> > >
> > > For examples, see the [nlab](http://ncatlab.org) (pure MathML) and the
> > >
[nforum](http://www.math.ntnu.no/~stacey/Vanilla/nForum<http://www.math.ntnu
.no/%7Estacey/Vanilla/nForum>
> <http://www.math.ntnu.no/%7Estacey/Vanilla/nForum>)
> > > (MathML, SVG, or PNG depending on what browser you are
> > using).
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
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> > > Blindmath at nfbnet.org
> > > http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindmath_nfbnet.org
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> > > Blindmath:
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m
> > >
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