MultiMarkdown and MathML - new feature and request for help

Dr. Drang drdrang at
Tue Jun 13 10:23:37 EDT 2006

On 6/13/06, A. Pagaltzis <pagaltzis at> wrote:


> You may want to take a look at itex2MML, if you haven't already.

> Jacques Distler uses it in combination with Markdown on his

> weblog.

I was hesitant to get into itex when I first looked at it because it
is described as a "dialect" of LaTeX,. Since I planned on using LaTeX
to produce paper output, I wanted real LaTeX. I've learned, however,
that the dialect is so close I may never run across the differences in
my work.

But for web output itex2MML has the same disadvantage as ASCIIMathML:
you need a MathML-enabled browser to view it. Firefox is fine
(although the Mac version stopped doing MathML for a few revisions);
IE works with a plugin, I guess; Safari is out; and I don't know about
Opera. Since a lot of my current visitors use Safari (me, too), it
wouldn't be right to shut them (or me) out. I really wish the WebKit
developers took MathML more seriously, but until they do I'm sticking
with jsMath.

Actually, I'm less concerned about having different backends for
producing math on web pages than I am about having different math
notations in the Markdown source documents. And I'm less concerned
about the equation delimiters--although I agree with JG that they
should not conflict with current Markdown syntax--than I am about
what's between the delimiters. Changing how you process documents is
simpler than changing the documents themselves; it is, at least, when
you have dozens or hundreds of documents.

Since the intent of MultiMarkdown is to produce XHTML that can be
easily transformed into LaTeX, and since LaTeX notation is commonly
used by people who need equations in their work, I think LaTeX should
be the notation used. Now, there may be a bright, MathML- and
CSS-drenched future in which I can print a web page and have it look
as good as a LaTeX document does now. When that day comes, it won't
matter what notation I used to get my equations. But until then, I
think LaTeX is our best bet.

Dr. Drang

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