MathML in HTML5: Finally cross-browser HTML+MathML!
Web applications are a big success
The past decade and a half has seen innovation by all
and has great promise for delivery of content and applications on PCs, tablets,
and mobile devices. Unfortunately, this innovation and growth has come at a
cost. It has resulted in all kinds of incompatibilities between browser
platforms, security holes, and the need to install browser plug-ins to provide
certain kinds of functionality.
HTML5 is the new level playing field
Realizing the need to rationalize and standardize this new powerful browser
platform, the browser community created HTML5 and the World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C) has subsequently taken
up its cause. HTML5 takes the best of all the functionality introduced by
various browser companies and other parties and consolidates it in a single
rational and consistent standard. Although the W3C standardization process might
take years, browser makers are not waiting. They all implement HTML5 to a high
degree in their latest versions.
MathML is part of HTML5
Until the advent of HTML5, MathML was not officially supported in HTML.
Internet Explorer supported MathML in HTML but in a Microsoft-specific way.
MathML is supported in XHTML but Internet Explorer (up until IE9) did not
support XHTML and this was one of the many reasons it did not catch on. For people interested in math and science communication,
one of the most exciting aspects of HTML5 is that it includes MathML, thereby
math part of the standard HTML platform.
All the browser makers are behind HTML5
All the major browser vendors have pledged support for HTML5: Mozilla
(Firefox), Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Opera, Microsoft (Internet
Explorer). Microsoft has long been seen as failing to implement web standards or
harboring incompatibilities. However, Microsoft seems to have had a change of
heart with HTML5 and has pledged its support. Now
Internet Explorer has HTML5 support!
Internet Explorer has had good MathML support for years
Internet Explorer has had the best MathML support for years
via our free MathPlayer
plug-in. MathPlayer features high-quality math typesetting, supports both Presentation
and Content MathML, and turns math into speech for accessibility via screen
readers. In 2010, almost 290 million equations were displayed by MathPlayer and
over 7 million equations were spoken via assistive technologies.
HTML5 with MathML gives us math in all browsers and devices!
Since MathML is part of HTML5 and HTML5 is now supported by all modern
browsers, websites can finally
serve standards-compliant HTML pages with MathML equations. Web browsers used on
personal computers either support MathML directly or they can rely on
MathJax, an open source MathML display
engine. MathJax uses native MathML rendering in browsers that have it and
smartphones, tablets, and ebook readers.