MathML 2.0 comes to rescue of scientists

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released Wednesday the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) 2.0 as a W3C recommendation, paving the way for mathematical notation and content to be displayed on the Web.

MathML 2.0, an XML (Extensible Markup Language) application, enables mathematical notation to be presented properly on Web pages and to be transferred between applications as meaningful elements, W3C said in a statement.

Extending the set of symbols and expressions of MathML 1, and offering improved integration of other W3C technologies, MathML 2.0 will be of use to the mathematical, scientific, research and educational communities, W3C said.

Although scientists originally designed the Internet for scientists, mathematical and scientific notation has been hard to present using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), with Web page designers usually forced to use .GIF or .JPG images to display such notation. It has previously not been possible to capture the semantics of equations for use on the Web, W3C said.

The most popular mathematical markup language in use is Tex, and special emphasis has been placed on providing interoperability of Tex and MathML, and enabling conversion of Tex documents to MathML 2.0. MathML can also handle documents coded with the alternative ISO 12083 format, according to W3C.

MathML has been designed so that it can be used with special mathematical equation editors, contains a large set of character names for particular mathematical symbols, and will enable audio rendition of equations.

Equations can be styled with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), links can be associated to any math expression through XLink (XML Linking Language), and MathML elements can be included in XHTML (Extensible HTML) documents with namespaces.

MathML 2.0 also includes the MathML DOM (MathML Document Object Model), which provides a way to identify MathML components and enable any scripting language to manipulate it, W3C said.

A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership, who are in favor of supporting its adoption by academic, industry, and research communities.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), in Cambridge, Mass., can be contacted at

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