Math Typesetting, Mathematica, MathML

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Here's a linear algebra notes i wrote in 1998, using Mathematica version 3, with much math typesetting. linearAlgebraNotes.nb.

Mathematica 7 convert it to PDF very well. See: linearAlgebraNotes.pdf.

Surprisingly, when converting to HTML, it actually generated a valid html [HTML Correctness and Validators] with valid CSS. See: linearAlgebraNotes.html

But further, it also exported to XML+MathML well: linearAlgebraNotes.xml (can be viewed with Firefox 3.6.12). Very well done!

Mathematica linear algebra 2010-11-29
Mathematica linear algebra 2010-11-29

A note about Mathematica's typesetting. Mathematica's typesetting capabilities is best on this earth. It was invented with Mathematica version 3 in 1996. It's not just a inert incomprehensible code as in TeX. For example, typing 1/Sqrt[x^2 + y^3], press a button, then it gets rendered into a 2-dimensional math notation. Yet, Mathematica understands it as a live math expression. When writing math, you don't need to learn some inane specialized formatting language. You just type as you code in a computer language.

Also, whatever complex math expressions are automatically formatted, meaning, automatically wrapped. All these capabilities, i'd attribute to 2 very simple ideas:

  1. A 100% regular nested syntax (as in lisp; but lisp's syntax has many irregularities. [see Fundamental Problems of Lisp]
  2. Typesetting based on regular markup. (as in MathML)

Today, most mathematicians and engineers still use the TeX/LaTeX mumbo jumbo. And much of open source offerings are based on TeX. [see Tools to Display Math on Web] [see The TeX Pestilence: Why TeX/LaTeX Sucks] MathML was a great idea (with much input from Wolfram Research), but it's a decade now and it's still practically not usable.