HTML5 makes maths easy

The W3C has updated its standard for representing mathematical notation on the Web

The W3C has updated its MathML standard for rendering mathematical notation on Web pages to better portray basic math symbols, as well as render mathematic symbols in more languages.

The World Wide Consortium (W3C) is hoping that this new version of MathML will be rolled into the other group of standards being incorporated in browsers with the HTML5 Web page markup specification, such as CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

The new standard represents basic symbols such as for multiplication, long division, subtraction, and the carries and borrows addition symbols.

The new markup will allow educational Web page designers to add these symbols onto the pages instead of going through the cumbersome process of embedding small images of the symbols or formulas into the pages. The symbols will also help assistive technology such as screen readers interpret the mathematical material.

The new standard also expands the number of languages it can support. Notably, it can support Arabic texts and other languages that render sentences from the right side of the page to the left.

"We have been working for the past five years converting Arabic school books to electronic documents, but, we have always faced problems with mathematical books which rely on custom layout and fonts," said Adil Allawi, technical director of Arabic language publishing software vendor Diwan Software, in a statement. "The right-to-left features of MathML 3.0 ... makes it possible, for the first time, to build standards-based and truly interoperable electronic math books for students in the Arab countries."

Firefox currently supports MathML 2, though not MathML 3 as of yet. Opera supports the CSS profile of MathML3. Users of Internet Explorer can deploy the MathPlayer plug-in to render MathML markup correctly. Those without browser support can also use the JavaScript MathJax software to render the symbols. (For the really advanced formulas, MathJax also renders the LaTeX scientific documentation typesetting standard.)

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Development toolsInternet-based applications and servicesapplication developmentLanguages and standardsWeb services developmentsoftwareinternetWorld Wide Web Consortium

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?