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:
Which renders as such:
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):
Not really too verbose. But it gets worse if you have something like 2x^5a. HTML:
Which renders as:
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>
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.