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Fri, 10 Sep 2010

Webkit and ASCIIMathML

As you will no doubt know by now, I occasionally perpetrate mathematics. But it sucks to have to say in something like this "take the product of p(i)int(n/p(i)) for i=1 to i=Φ(n)". It would be much better if I could embed a proper formula.

There's a standard way of doing this, called MathML, and it's fucking horrible. And in any case, browser support for MathML is piss-poor. However, it's getting better - Firefox now supports it fairly well, and Webkit does too, although not quite as well as Firefox. There are also a few useful tools for making MathML suck less, in particular ASCIIMathML, which I am now using.

Using that, I type the above equation thus:

\prod_(i=1)^(\phi(n))p(i)^(\lfloorn/(p(i))\rfloor)

and it renders thus in your browser:

`\prod_(i=1)^(\phi(n))p(i)^(\lfloorn/(p(i))\rfloor)`

it should render something like this:

Note that at the time of writing, Webkit doesn't properly render the floor(n/p(i)) as a superscript to p(i).

Even with the flaws in common browsers (and the complete lack of support in many, including Safari) I'm going to start using it, because it's just so damned useful. Webkit and Firefox support it, which is good enough for me, and because Webkit is really just the nightly builds of Safari, we can expect a near-future release of Safari to support it too.

Incidentally, this journal entry exposes a bug in ASCIIMathML as well as in the current Webkit - can you spot it?

Update: it took the author of ASCIIMathML mere hours to respond to my bug report with a fix. Makes me rather ashamed of some of the bugs that have been mouldering in my RT queue for over a year :-)

Posted at 21:23 by David Cantrell
keywords: geeky | maths | meta
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