Embedded maths

Musing on the Web I discovered those little gems: JEuclid, Open Office Math and ASCIIMathML.

JEuclid is a renderer for MathML. MathML is an XML-based representation of mathematical formulæ. It has a FOP plugin, which transforms an embedded MathML expression into a nice formula in the resulting PDF.


JEuclid claims it supports the .mml files exported by Open Office Math.

MathML is horribly verbose and not intended to be used by humans, but rather to help programs to interoperate.

OpenOffice Math is a math formula editor, bundled with Open Office. It’s partially WYSIWYG as it lets you type a formula in plain text and produces a preview in (quasi) real time. Open Office Math favors its .odf format but is able to save and load formulæ in MathML. Its text-based editor supports formulæ like this:

f(x)=sum from{n=0} to{infinity} 
  { { f^{(n)}(a) } over {n!} (x-a)^n }

You can see OpenOffice Math in action here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenOffice.org_Math

Used together, JEuclid and OpenOffice Math could make Novelang more attractive to TeX users, who always have been unbeatable when it comes to craft beautiful graphics from text-based formulæ.

Novelang could learn to recognize a reference to a MathML file to be edited with Open Office:

When ``a > b`` we always have
bla bla blah.

In a perfect world, Novelang would support formulæ inside the source document (with a tweak to make a n:lines-of-literal appear inside a paragraph).

When ``a > b`` we always have
f(x)= ...
blah blah blah.

This requires a translator from text-based formula to MathML. Such a translator is hard to find, especially with the OSS constraint.

Maybe I’ve found this rare beast, with ASCIIMathML. It’s a Javascript-based translator designed to run inside a Web browser. The interactive demo is stunning!


It recognizes TeX (same formula as above):


… or its custom ASCII-based format. Here again, the same formula:


ASCIIMathML is released under the LGPL. Great. I just wonder if it works inside a Java-powered Javascript interpreter.

1 comment:

Laurent Caillette said...

This one could also make sense:
Pmml2SVG is a MathML-to-SVG converter. (It requires the STIX Fonts that seem downloadable from here.)

One could dream of such a pipeline so equations get viewable from every user agent:
asciimathml -> mathml -> SVG -> bitmap