MathML hits 3.0

The World Wide Web Consortium has released a new working draft of Version 3.0 of the Mathematical Markup Language (MathML), a schema for representing mathematical notations in an Extensible Markup Language format.

The rewrite includes about 35 tags for mathematical symbols and about 170 tags for specifying the meaning of the expression being encoded.

"The goal of MathML is to enable mathematics to be served, received and processed on the World Wide Web, just as HTML has enabled this functionality for text," according to an announcement issued by the W3C Math Working Group. 'MathML can be used to encode both mathematical notation and mathematical content.'

An earlier version of the working draft offered an example of how to encode a sample formula, in this case "x + a / b," which would be written in MathML as:

Sample forumla

Although the schema enables users to more easily read and write complicated formulas, the authors are hoping vendors will develop a variety of math editors and other software products to automatically translate equations to and from the MathML format.

W3C has also published a profile for using MathML with Cascading Style Sheets and a set of Unicode characters that translate directly into character entity references for XML-based languages.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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