1. What are the goals of the MathML association?

The goals of the MathML association are:

  • Native implementation of the MathML language in all Web rendering engines.
  • Development of software tools to let users read, write, search, store and transfer MathML formulas; with particular attention to make them accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Usage of the MathML language to publish educational, technical and scientific content in Web sites, ebooks or Web apps.
  • Other developmental and promotional activities to further the dissemination of mathematical content in Web sites, ebooks or Web apps.

For more details, take a look at our Manifesto.

2. What are your plans to implement MathML in Web rendering engines?

In general, we started to write a detailed technical document “MathML in HTML5” to describe how to implement a core subset of MathML 3 in a way that is both compatible with the existing browser codebase and with the requirement of “high-quality” mathematical rendering. We expect that it will be instrumental in getting native MathML implementations accepted by browser vendors.

Gecko (e.g. Firefox) and WebKit (e.g. Safari) are open source, have some MathML support and there are developers from companies working on these rendering engines who accept to review patches. Hence we will continue to collaborate with them to fix bugs and improve the MathML support.

Blink (e.g. Chrome) is open source but Google has indicated they will only consider native MathML once it becomes more popular on the Web. Hence we instead want to get in touch with other companies working on the Blink codebase and see if they are interested in starting a development branch with MathML support. Fortunately, we can rely on the effort made for WebKit.

EdgeHTML (Microsoft Edge) is proprietary so we do not have any control on the codebase. Note that according to a blog post from Murray Sargent, an implemention of “Office MathML” exists in Microsoft Office and could be use for Microsoft’s browser. We would very like to convince Microsoft to give a try.

3. Where can I vote for MathML support in Chrome and Microsoft Edge?

Try to vote for MathML in Chrome and MathML in Microsoft Edge.

4. How is the MathML association different from the OpenMath Society?

As stated on the OpenMath website, the goal of OpenMath Society is to “coordinate OpenMath activities” with focus on “semantic meaning or content” of mathematical formulas. The MathML association is instead focused on making MathML well-integrated into the Web platform and natively supported by Web browsers and assistive technologies.

That said, “the two technologies may be seen as highly complementary”. OpenMath is strongly related to Content MathML and the <semantics> element can be used to provide MathML formulas with both presentation and meaning. The MathML manifesto highlights the importance of combining these two languages.

Many members of the Open Society are already involved in the MathML Association. We hope that more of them will support the MathML Manifesto and could become MathML affiliates.

5. How is the MathML association different from the MathJax Consortium?

As stated on the MathJax website, “The core of the MathJax project is the development of its state-of-the-art, open source, JavaScript platform for display of mathematics” while the MathML Association does not focus on a particular product but on native support everywhere.

We are happy that MathJax has already embraced MathML, which is used as its core formula representation language. While MathJax has provided an invaluable bridge solution for displaying beautiful math-on-the-web today, the MathML association is focusing on advancing the state of web mathematics tomorrow.

Our goal towards standards-compliant web mathematics, via native MathML support in all browsers, aims at faster rendering, better accessibility and towards building a healthy ecosystem of math web application development. Quoting MathJax’s Manager, “While we are proud of our accomplishments at MathJax, we know that we can only provide half the solution: native browser support must be the goal”. Consequently, we hope that the MathJax Consortium will support our manifesto and could become a MathML affiliate.

6. How is the MathML association different from the W3C Math Working Group?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an “international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web”. The Math working Group (Math WG) instantiates this to “facilitate and promote the use of the Web for mathematical and scientific communication”. The Math WG has developed the MathML representation langauge for the presentation and content of mathematical formulae since 1997, the current recommendation is MathML3 (April 2014), which was approved as ISO/IEC International Standard in June 2015.

The MathML association wants to promote the standards (W3C recommendations) developed by the W3C Math WG, support their implementation in web technologies, and raise public awareness about MathML.