Now, uninteresting international standards news!

It’s easy to forget about MathML, because unless you’re a publisher or doing complicated things with data flows, you never need to see it.

I’m not doing a great job of selling this story, am I? I couldn’t even find a picture to illustrate it.

After a lengthy lull in which MathML was deeply unpopular, mainly due to browser makers not supporting it but mainly due to it being extremely hard for the average mathematician to work with, the format which aimed to be able to represent all maths is having a bit of a resurgence these days. The web is catching up – MathJax uses MathML to represent mathematical notation internally, and that is adding pressure to browser makers to implement support for rendering MathML without any additional library.

The W3C have announced that MathML 3.0 is now an ISO/IEC international standard. That doesn’t have much impact on anything other than giving it a stamp of approval, so you can carry on with your day.

See, I told you this wasn’t interesting.

Christian, I know you know better than this but perhaps your readers might not. MathML was never intended to be used by mathematicians. Unlike LaTeX, it is not a language in which mathematicians (or students, chemists, biologists, etc.) should type their equations. Of course you did say “work with” not “type”. I just wanted to make it clearer.

Those of us involved in MathML technology still seem to have a battle to fight in some quarters. Although the publishing industry use it extensively, most browsers need MathJax to make it work. MathJax does a great job but it is still a head-scratcher why browser makers choose to absolutely ignore it. I guess it just isn’t sexy.

That’s a very good point.