MathML3 2nd Edition published as a Recommendation.

XML Entity Definitions for Characters (2nd Edition) published as a Recommendation.

The members of W3C are currently reviewing the second editions of MathML 3 and XML Entity Definitions for Characters. The Math Working Group updated both Recommendations to correct some obvious mistakes and especially to add many clarifications. The review lasts four weeks and the expectation is that these documents will replace the existing Recommendations around March/April.

Most people are used to MathML on its own or inside XML-based formats. But now that people are starting to use math in HTML5, which has slightly different syntax rules, people asked for more explanation. MathML has the same structure and meaning independent of the concrete syntax, but may have to be written in a different way inside HTML5. The new specification explains that, and also makes sure that all examples (except, obviously, those that specifically demonstrate syntax issues) can be copied and pasted into an HTML5 context.

As far as implementations go, the new specification requires no changes. HTML5 implementations have to follow the syntax defined in the HTML5 specification, XML implementations follow the XML specification, and the MathML specification defines how to display and interpret the resulting elements. And that part has not changed.

The XML Entities specification was updated to include the latest Unicode specification. (The previous Recommendation referred to Unicode 5, the current version to 6.) Descriptions were added for symbols that are new in Unicode 6, including the new Arabic math symbols. The text was also reorganized for more clarity. No new entities were defined.

Frédéric Wang, well-known for his work on MathML in Firefox
and MathJax, has launched a call for sponsors for a project
called **Mathematics in ebooks.**

Although Firefox supports MathML, and MathJax can be used to emulate MathML in browsers that support JavaScript, the resulting rendering is not as good as one would hope: Before you convert a book with mathematical formulas to an e-book, you would want typesetting closer to the quality of paper books.

The problem is lack of programmer time. There are few people who can do the programming and they have little spare time. Frédéric Wang is one of them and the project is meant to allow him to work full-time for a few months.

The main goals of the project are twofold:

- Create a collection of educational & scientific documents that will serve as examples & test cases for publishers and implementers.
- Improve rendering quality in WebKit and Gecko so that EPUB publishers can rely on it.

His initial target is € 3960, or one person in France working full-time for three months.

With the advancement of CSS Level 2 Revision 1 to Recommendation, the MathML for CSS Profile automatically also became a Recommendation.

The Profile describes which parts of MathML3 can be formatted with CSS and which can thus be displayed by many types of software that understand CSS but do not understand MathML itself. This allows quite a large part of MathML already to be used even though not all browsers and formatters implement full MathML yet.

The specification had already been tested and reviewed by the W3C members and the W3C Director in October 2010, but it has a normative dependency on CSS, and thus couldn't be a standard unless CSS Level 2 was a standard itself.

The W3C Director has advanced MathML version 3.0 to a W3C Recommendation. The press release has more information. Several companies have already expressed support for the new standard.

Compared to MathML 2, the major additions in version 3 are support for bidirectional layout, better linebreaking and explicit positioning, elementary math notations, and a new strict content MathML vocabulary with well-defined semantics.

MathML 3 is also part of version 5 of HTML (currently still in development), which means embedding math in Web documents will become easier, with direct import from HTML to mathematics software and vice versa.

The MathML for CSS Profile has also received positive reviews, but it cannot yet progress to W3C Recommendation, because it depends on CSS2, which is still in CR status. (The CSS working group expects CSS2 to become W3C Recommendation early in 2011.)

The W3C Director approved the publication of the MathML version 3.0
specification and its companion, the MathML for CSS
Profile, as *Proposed
Recommendations.* Until September 10, the two documents
undergo what

Paul Libbrecht and the MKM
Conference are organizing MathUI10, the 2010 Workshop on Mathematical User
Interfaces. The workshop offers a forum discussing how users can
interact with the mathematical objects

As expected, the specification XML Entity Definitions for Characters has become a W3C Recommendation. The W3C members expressed support for the specification and had no further requests for changes.

Design Science welcomes the XML Entity Definitions for Characters Recommendation. The nature of mathematical notation and its many symbols inevitably leads to the need for good character names. As a leading vendor of scientific communication software, we are keenly aware of the errors and confusions that have long been the result of multiple conflicting sets of names in different contexts. By providing a single, authoritative source of character names – consolidating more than a decade of painstaking work – this specification makes a significant contribution, and we look forward to implementing it in our products.

Dr. Robert Miner, Vice President, Research and Development, Design Science, Inc.

See all W3C member testimonials.

The
specification XML Entity Definitions for Characters has
advanced to the status of Proposed Recommendation, the final
step before becoming a standard.