Updated April 3, 2023
Definition of MathML
MathML stands for Mathematical Markup Language. It facilitates the use and reuse of mathematical content on the web. It is basically a dialect of XML consisting of a number of XML tags used to markup an equation in terms of semantics and presentation. These tags are also used to describe the mathematical notation and capture its content as well as the structure. It was developed by W3C schools and its first versions were released in the year 1996- 2004. In order to facilitate the use of mathematical content on the web and its transfer between applications. As the MathML very nicely handles the definition of meaning and formatting of mathematical equations it is very useful for most of the applications on the web.
Why do we need MathML?
As we have described above, it uses the XML tags and is used to markup the equation in terms of semantics and format. It provides the easiest way to describe the mathematical content and display it on the web, it is widely used over web by applications like voice synthesis, computer algebra systems, print typesetters, etc to encode the mathematical information for the description and appearance which makes its ideal to exchange and store the information on the web. Moreover, it also allows the fast and easy communication and transfer of mathematical content between applications.
Working of MathML
Some of the important points describing the working of MathML language are given below:
- It consists of the XML tags which are similar to the HTML except end tags can not be omitted in the XML. Moreover, the tags having no content inside it should be marked with a slash before the closing bracket.
- XML tags are used to markup the mathematical notation in terms of both description and presentation. It allows the users to describe the meaning of the equation rather than concentrating entirely on the formatting on the web browser.
- It allows the machine to communicate so it does not involve editing by the hands of the developer. But it requires the usage of some authoring tools to export to and from other available math packages.
- It basically uses two ways: The presentation way and the Semantic way to represent the mathematical notation on the web which uses the different markup tags.
- All the elements fall into three major categories which are content elements, presentation elements, and interface elements.
- It can be rendered easily using the XML tags in the browsers with the help of plugins.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- One of the advantages of using the MathML is that it makes it very easy for the people working on the web to use and reuse the mathematical content including its description and presentation.
- It is available free on most browsers or free plugins are available on the internet.
- It is quite simple to use as it has a limited number of tags and to use in the code along with mathematical operators.
- One most important point about MathML is that it tries to be as media-independent as possible with the support of speech synthesis, computation, interactivity, etc.
- Rendering is better in the case of MathML as it does not put a heavy load on the client-side, unlike MathJax.
- One advantage of coding in MathML is that the programmer has full control over the grammar and structure using the XML tags.
- Much of the mathematics present on the web is in the form of text containing GIF images which is difficult to read and interpret by the languages like MathML.
- Although there are plugins available for free to use the MathML on the browser there are some limitations using them like limited character set, unavailability of displaying all the symbols, limited printing according to the screen resolution, etc.
- MathML relies on a character entity set that is supported by a limited number of browsers.
- Issues like font size, screen resolution, search on textual characters arise in GIF images which creates problems in using the mathematical content and displaying it according to the requirements.
Usage of MathML
- It can be used to create a dynamic mathematical website having the description and presentation of mathematical notation on the web and involving the setting of the database, interactive queries, etc.
- It can be used to develop the software of speech synthesis for the audio of mathematics for individuals with visual disabilities.
- Mathematical equations are used widely in websites, using the MathML for their description and formatting on the browsers makes them be handled easily.
- Mathematical content used in the websites can be reused and transferred easily between the applications using the MathML.
- For the high-quality visual display, MathML is used to encode the mathematical notation.
- MathML is considered to be a general format for the incorporating and exchanging of mathematics in maths as well as scientific applications.
Career Path of MathML
MathML is a low-level format for the description and formatting the mathematical content on the web using machine-to-machine communication. It is highly appreciated and used widely in the IT industry as it is comparatively better than other languages like MathJax. All the developers are using it wherein involves the description and rendering of mathematical content. Currently, MathML equations are available to be viewed on web browsers. Many new tools for authoring, processing, and viewing of MathML are going to be available in the upcoming version 4 of MathML to make it much better. Developers having knowledge of MathML are high in demand in the IT market and at higher salaries.
The above description clearly explains what MathML is and how it is used to describe and present the mathematical content on the web. Since its first release, it has gained popularity and got support from both the IT industry and academia. One can use the MathML directly from most of the browsers or the freely available plugins on the internet.
This is a guide to MathML. Here we discuss the definition, Why do we need MathML?, Advantages and Disadvantages, usage, and career path. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –