Authoring for MathPlayer and MathML
A MathPlayer-ready web page is simply a normal HTML (or XHTML) page with MathML "islands". You can create such pages in any HTML editor or use one of
our other products to create the page for you.
MathML is a way of encoding mathematics using XML developed under the
auspices of the W3C (World Wide Web
Consortium), the group that sets the basic standards that define the Web. A
growing number of software packages including browsers, editors, computer
algebra programs and publishing software use MathML to communicate. Unlike other
ways of putting math in a web page, such as images and PDFs, MathML provides
ways to directly encode various interactivity properties of an equation, which
makes it an ideal choice for dynamic math on the Web. From the beginning, Design Science has played
a leading role in developing this important new technology. Consult
About MathML for more
information and related resources.
MathML stores information not only about the visual appearance of
equations, but also about the mathematical structure and meaning.
This makes MathML a powerful and flexible format. Some of its
benefits over other formats include:
- MathML display matches the surrounding text, including font,
size and color scheme. Changing the font size in the browser scales
MathML along with text, unlike web pages using images to display
- Since MathML markup is part of the HTML or XHTML source, MathML
equations are easier to edit and maintain than equation images.
Download and display times for MathML web pages are also much
faster than pages using many equation images or large PDF
- MathML has built-in interactivity features such as roll-over highlights,
tooltip messages, and toggling of subexpressions. MathML equations
effects. By contrast, almost no interactivity beyond standard
hyperlinks is possible with PDF or equation images.
- MathML equations can be copied from Web pages and pasted into any
MathML-aware application, such as Maple, Mathematica, MathType,
and many others. See the MathML
Software list maintained by the W3C. Such
interoperability is not possible with PDF or equation images.
- MathML was designed to be accessible and has been widely adopted by the
accessibility community. It is the basis for math accessibility in many
standards including DAISY. Since the
introduction of MathPlayer 2.1 in 2007, assistive technology such as
screen readers and learning
disability tools have been used to
listen to millions of equations via MathML and MathPlayer.
- MathML equations also have the potential to be more searchable
than other formats. Math Searching is the
focus of another NSF grant to Design Science, under the National
Science Digital Library (NSDL) program. Design Science is working
with other vendors, publishers, and professional societies to enhance
the infrastructure for math searching on the Internet.
Web pages containing MathML can be viewed in the following
- Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 through 9.0, with MathPlayer
- Firefox (including other Mozilla projects such
as Camino and Sea Monkey) on Windows, Unix, and Macintosh computers
- Safari 5.1 and later (support is still limited and the rendering quality
not very high)
- Opera has support for a subset of MathML implemented using a
CSS stylesheet. This may be acceptable for elementary mathematical
notations but is not recommended for complex formulas or in cases where the
rendering quality is an essential point.
- Amaya on all platforms
- Chrome has no MathML capability, and Google has announced plans to
not incorporate it.
Design Science and others are actively pursuing ways of expanding support for MathML to other
browsers and platforms.
Authors interested in creating MathML web pages can use a variety of tools
and techniques. One of these tools is to use MathType's "Publish to MathPage"
command in Microsoft Word. With MathPage, you can publish in several formats,
but we recommend publishing with MathML using the HTML+MathJax, as this is the
format most likely to be universally readable in all browsers on all platforms.
is an open source math display engine.) To find out more about using Design Science's MathType to create MathML web pages, as well as other authoring tool
options and technical information for web programmers, see Creating MathML Web Pages.
To insure a good reader experience, some extra effort is warranted
when publishing MathML pages to a web site. By making sure your web server
is properly configured, and clearly informing your readers of browser
requirements, many potential pitfalls can be avoided. Consult Creating MathML Web Sites for
in-depth information about best practices for publishing MathML web pages.
If you publish web pages containing MathML, readers using Internet Explorer
will need to install MathPlayer on their computers. Obviously, one way to do
this is to have them download MathPlayer from our website like you probably did.
To get some tips on how best to communicate this to your readers using our
MathPlayer Logo Program, as well as some alternative distribution options, visit
Making MathPlayer Available to your Readers.
Dynamic math can make your content more effective and engaging. MathPlayer gives you two ways to make your MathML web pages come alive. Simple kinds of interactivity can be encoded directly in
MathML. For more complicated kinds of interactivity, the combination of MathML and scripting in a web
page is extremely powerful. To find out more, see Dynamic Math with MathPlayer.
MathPlayer interacts with Internet Explorer at a low level, working directly with the basic
Windows HTML display component used by many software packages. As a result, once installed,
MathPlayer can be used to display MathML in RSS readers,
mail clients, and more, not just your browser. Consult MathML in Other HTML Media for details.
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