My suggestions for Unicode based math expression format(s)
William_J_G Overington
wjgo_10009 at btinternet.com
Tue Dec 27 03:11:01 CST 2022
Hi
I have never used the various existing packages that have been
mentioned.
May I make three observations please?
1. I consider that using control codes to specify layout is a problem. A
way to express things without using control codes is needed.
2. Would a test be that what one wants to typeset can be typeset in
Microsoft WordPad? One might need to copy and paste characters from a
WordPad file that has one of each character in it, as if it were a
typecase. For the avoidance of doubt I am not suggesting that all
typesetting should be done in WordPad, not at all, but I am saying that
if it cannot be typeset in WordPad then a format may be too complicated
or too expensive or too inaccessible for widespread use.
3. Back in the early 1990s I was involved in a discussion of how to
express mathematical equations using just 7-bit ASCII characters in a
monospaced display typical of mainframe visual display units terminals
at the time.
Some of my suggestions might be relevant here.
I suggested using :pom: to express a 'plus or minus' sign as used in the
general solution formula for a quadratic equation. That format could be
used for special symbols. These days, an OpenType font could cause a
correct glyph to be displayed, even if the glyph is not a regular
Unicode character.
I suggested that an integral be expressed using three capital I letters,
one above the other in three lines of text.
I
I
I
that then allows upper and lower limits to be expressed for definite
integrals.
For example
I t=1
I exp(-t).dt
I t=0
Then summation could be expressed as follows.
S n=5
S n^2
S n=1
and product similarly using three P characters.
P
P
P
This system could be used to some extent immediately without any
additional software being needed. An OpenType font could be used to
substitute a 'plus or minus' sign for :pom: and for other symbols.
Hopefully software could be written to substitute the three capital I
letters with a single integral sign.
I hope this helps.
Best regards,
William Overington
Tuesday 27 December 2022
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