Chrome’s MathML rejection riles research publishing crowd

This Web version of a paper by J. Funke and J. Millson, "The Geometric Theta Correspondence for Hilbert Modular Surfaces," uses MathML to show equations and other mathematical expressions. It's shown here rendered using the MathJax software for bringing MathML to browsers that don't support it natively.

(Credit: Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

MathML, a years-old technology for displaying mathematical equations and formulas on the Web that has strong advocates at scholars and researchers, stands at a crossroads.

Firefox and Safari support it, but Internet Explorer does not. Google could help tip the balance in favor of MathML, but it’s concluded the technology isn’t justified. It’s supporting a workaround called MathJax that instead uses JavaScript, the Web’s programming language, but the company’s position has displeased some who want mathematics to be a native citizen of the Web, not a slower-performing outsider.

Google — a company with a research culture of its own — didn’t come to its decision lightly. It rejected MathML because of concerns involving security, performance, and low usage on the Internet.

MathJax is JavaScript software that can bring MathML support to browsers that don't have it built in.

“MathML is not something that we want at this time,… [Read more]


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