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Friday, December 21, 2007

Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 3.0

Members of the W3C Math Working Group have released a third Public
Working Draft which specifies a new version of the the Mathematical
Markup Language: MathML 3.0. MathML is an XML application for
describing mathematical notation and capturing both its structure
and content. The goal of MathML is to enable mathematics to be served,
received, and processed on the World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled
this functionality for text. MathML can be used to encode both
mathematical notation and mathematical content. About thirty-five of
the MathML tags describe abstract notational structures, while another
about one hundred and seventy provide a way of unambiguously specifying
the intended meaning of an expression. Additional chapters discuss how
the MathML content and presentation elements interact, and how MathML
renderers might be implemented and should interact with browsers.
Finally, this document addresses the issue of special characters used
for mathematics, their handling in MathML, their presence in Unicode,
and their relation to fonts. While MathML is human-readable, in all
but the simplest cases, authors use equation editors, conversion
programs, and other specialized software tools to generate MathML.
Several versions of such MathML tools exist, and more, both freely
available software and commercial products, are under development.
Note: The W3C WG has also published "A MathML for CSS Profile"; this
MathML 3.0 profile admits formatting with Cascading Style Sheets.
This will facilitate adoption of MathML in web browsers and CSS
formatters, allowing them to reuse existing CSS visual formatting model,
enhanced with a few mathematics-oriented extensions, for rendering of
the layout schemata of presentational MathML.

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