[Haskell-cafe] Re: Pandoc questions

Andrew Coppin andrewcoppin at btinternet.com
Fri Oct 17 13:30:10 EDT 2008

John MacFarlane wrote:
> +++ Andrew Coppin [Oct 12 08 11:21 ]:
>> There doesn't seem to be any option to make Pandoc produce actual MathML  
>> output. Is there a reason for this?
> 1. Nobody has written the LaTeX -> MathML code yet, and I've been too
> lazy.  Anyone who is interested in doing this should get in touch.

Well, I'd certainly be "interested". I use mathematics *a lot* in my 
writing. Presumably modifying a large program like Pandoc is intractably 
difficult though?

It strikes me that perhaps using LaTeX to enter mathematical markup is 
rather against the spirit of Markdown. Surely there should be an option 
to include raw LaTeX, but a more "natural" encoding that covers "most" 
mathematics would be nice also. Of course, that means somebody has to 
design it first...

> 2. Not all browsers can process MathML. The current system (using the
> LaTeXMathML.js javascript) has the advantage of "falling back" to raw
> LaTeX in browsers that don't support MathML.

It's been a while since I looked, but I believe the spec provides a way 
to provide an "alternative" block of XML, similar to the 'alt' tag in 
the <img> element, for precisely this reason. (And if there was a math 
converter, rather than raw LaTeX you could provide something a little 
easier on the eyes given what raw Unicode + plain HTML can do...)

MathML has the advantage that it's machine-readable as well as 
human-readable. That probably doesn't matter right now, but maybe it 
will someday.

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