Re: Shortref [was: Re: Super and Subscripts]

Dave Raggett (
Tue, 24 Jan 95 05:09:15 EST

> |For double superscripts 3
> | 2
> | x = c m

> If it has to look like TeX, how about this :-)

> <math>x=c^{2^{3}}m</math>

Nice try Bert, but I also need { and } for the BOX element. This is
used for bracketing things, stretchy delimiters, numerators and
denominators. I suppose one could use another symbol to close subscripts
and superscripts, but which one?

Trying to make the syntax too close to TeX would in any case only cause
users confusion, leading to errors as they forget precisely what the
differences are when entering expressions.

I did consider representing math as an sgml notation, using a subset of TeX
to avoid the compexity hit of a full implementation in every browser. This
suffers from the same problem, though. It would be hard for people used to
TeX to avoid making mistakes due to mental confusion as to what things were
supported in the subset and what were not.

Study of math support in Word and FrameMaker showed that a relatively
simple representation of math for html was indeed practical, and the
widespread availability of the Adobe Symbol font (all PCs, Macs and
Unix boxes) makes this straightforward and valuable to do. Forcing
filters from say Word to have to generate bitmaps for math has a number
of drawbacks, e.g. you can't easily scale the bitmaps to match the
chosen font sizes for each browser; it also slows document transfer
particularly for documents with lots of math.

-- Dave Raggett <> tel: +44 272 228046 fax: +44 272 228003
Hewlett Packard Laboratories, Filton Road, Bristol BS12 6QZ, United Kingdom