Thursday, February 02, 2006

Firefox Released

Firefox's steady growth in share of the browser market and steady development cycles carry a small but significant feature for scientific computing: It is the only serious browser with built in support for MathML - the XML markup language for mathematical expressions.

MathML has been around for some years now, but Microsoft's disinterest in it has confined its use to a small number of specialist websites.

If Firefox can ever reach parity with IE, perhaps MathML use in technical websites will become a reasonable expectation. For now mathematical expressions typically appear as images - pretty, but useless.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Failure of implementation of MathML in MSIE is not due to Microsoft's disinterest. Anyone knowing the existence of equation editor on Word can claim this.

Microsoft expressed its interest in providing a native MathML browser, but they abandoned the project because error desings of the MathmL specification. The MathML is incompatible with others standards and and cannot be unified with rendering/CSS engine.

Therein Microsoft offers support via third party plugin is installed oven other internal layers.

The same about other browsers as Opera. Opera community is very interested in mathematical content but cannot break the broswer for supporting MathML, then they are offering mathematical support via a more intelligent desing does not use MathML.

Also Mozilla folks have got problems with MathML and are offering it via an additional layer is not very unified with rest of thecnologies. The support of Firefox is partial (just a part of presentation markup and many official test of MathML are not correctly rendered) and is not very efficient in rendering quality and speed. I can wait minutes before a complex document can be open and rendered.

They also are obtaining problems for a full implementation due to error designs of MathML specification.

Scientific publishers have also obtained problems and either are ignoring MathML or offering in-house modifications with partial implementation, authoring tools also are obtaining problems...

I began using MathML in a scientific/technical website and nowe i am close to abandon the whole project due to limitations of MathML. I am focusing now in other ways to present mathematical content to users.

Juan R.