[om] OpenMath and Imaging

Ka-Ping Yee ping at lfw.org
Fri Sep 24 08:18:14 CEST 1999

Hello, Manfred.

On Thu, 23 Sep 1999, Manfred Riem wrote:
> 	I'm currently involved in a project that will render 
> OpenMath objects. We're thinking about the following layout 
> to achieve this.
> 1. OpenMath XML --> 2. OpenMath Object  |
>                                         |-> 4. DisplayTree
>                  3. OpenMath Stylesheet |       |
>                                                 |
>                                          5. JPEG/GIF/Canvas
> The first
> question I've got is simple: "Do those operators cover about
> all there is in rendering OpenMath?"
> The second question I've got is more towards the
> 'stylesheet' language: "What kind of parameters
> should I expect?"

You may wish to have a look at the design strategies and the
components of the system i designed in 1996 for rendering
mathematics on the Web, completed long before OpenMath or MathML
came on the scene.  It had pretty much the entire structure
that you describe in your diagram above.  The parts were:

    1. MINSE (Medium-Independent Notation for Structured Expressions)

    2. Internal parse tree (a Python data structure)

    3. Rendering stylesheet (written in Python routines)

    4. Typesetting language

    5. Automatically generated ASCII art, or antialiased GIF
       image, or spoken audio (depending on the recipient)

There was one additional component, the notation definition,
which lay between parts 1 and 2.  It allowed you to flexibly
define unary and binary infix operators and their precedences
so you could avoid the tedium of typing everything in prefix
notation.  Unfortunately, MathML has completely given up on
being humanly enterable or readable.  The MINSE design and
implementation have been for over three years, and still remain,
the only practical and accessible way to display mathematics
in HTML documents on the Web, since anyone can render the
mathematics in any Web browser, even Lynx.


The notation dictionaries, stylesheet definitions, and list
of typesetting operators may be relevant to your current
project.  I hope they are of some use to you.

-- ?!ng

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