[texhax] Math in HTML (was Blogs)

Victor Ivrii vivrii at gmail.com
Wed Jul 19 12:48:51 CEST 2006

On 7/19/06, Chris Rowley <C.A.Rowley at open.ac.uk> wrote:
> Victor
> > One of the strong features of PDF (fidelity of the page, in
> > particular, the fixed height:width ratio after PDF is produced) is
> > also it's weakness.
> Yes indeed, a subject on which I have spoken many times.
> >
> > Here html definitely would be preferable.
> >
> But only for this tiny reason.  Unless you really mean `XML and
> well-behaved browsers for all'.

I am not sure that this reason is that tiny. MathML/HTML supporters
like to to refer to some survey that "students prefer html to pdf". I
know that this reference looks funny: who are these students? what
subjects are considered? Also one should remember that most of html
pages around are not very well made and most of pdf files produced by
LaTeX do not use hyperref and other packages designed to improve pdf
and remain  essentially poor man' electronic copies of paper
documents. So competition was probably 'paraolympics'

> There are many issues around `who controls the appearance:
> author/editor or reader' but at least if XML were widely accepted as
> `what a web-page contains' then there would be some chnace of addressing
> these interesting ideas.
> PDF is far inferior to MathML as there is no reader-control of the
> appearance of the math etc; and it is unsearchable and uncopyable (these
> latter two are essential to our project).

Unsearchable? Definitely you cannot search in pdf a part of
mathematical formula but I am not sure that you can do this in MathML
either because the same expression can be generated differently

I also am very skeptical about full reader control. I definitely would
prefer a reader control with a fixed "author view".
> chris
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Victor Ivrii, Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto

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