### May 5, 2004

MathML is very cool, and viewing a piece of MathML in, say, Firefox (with the associated fonts) is an utter bliss. But do you realize how extremely verbose it really is? Take the example of x^2. Here's how you would mark it up with HTML:

```
x<sup>2</sup>
```

Which renders as such:

x^{2}

Here's the same expression in MathML:

```
<math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
<msup>
<mi>x</mi>
<mn>2</mn>
</msup>
</math>
```

Which renders like this (assuming, of course, you're using Firefox or Mozilla):

x^{2}

Not really *too* verbose. But it gets worse if you have something like 2x^5a. HTML:

```
2x<sup>5a</sup>
```

Which renders as:

2x^{5a}

And with MathML:

```
<math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
<msup>
<mrow>
<mn>2</mn>
<mo>⁢</mo>
<mi>x</mi>
</mrow>
<mrow>
<mn>5</mn>
<mo>⁢</mo>
<mi>a</mi>
</mrow>
</msup>
</math>
```

And rendered:

2x^{5a}

That's pretty verbose, no? There are several reasons why I bother.

- It's superior to using images and plain text.
- It can nest expressions to arbitrary depths.
- It prints and renders well.
- It's computable. I haven't seen a UA which can do this yet, nor have I really looked for one. But the idea is exciting.