RE: MS Math layout (was: ZWJ, ZWNJ and VS in Latin and other Greek-derived scripts)

From: Murray Sargent (murrays@exchange.microsoft.com)
Date: Tue Jan 30 2007 - 20:46:42 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: MS Math layout (was: ZWJ, ZWNJ and VS in Latin and other Greek-derived scripts)"

    Philippe Verdy notes:

    > Some character choices in this document
    > (http://www.unicode.org/notes/tn28/UTN28-PlainTextMath-v2.pdf)
    > seem to be extremely arbitrary, and I don't think they are more readable or
    > easier to understand than the corresponding "Autocorrect" alias names (with
    > the \xxxxx form)... Another final note: the set of keywords used for the
    > "\autocorrect" notation should be localizable.

    These two observations are related: the reason for using Unicode symbols for the linear format operators instead of character strings is that single symbols are by nature global. The "autocorrect" strings can be localized as desired by storing the desired localized strings in the autocorrect table. Re the codes being arbitrary or nonintuitive, they are the best we could come up with given the restriction that we couldn't add clearer characters to Unicode. I tried several times to add such characters, but was never able to convince the UTC :-( Nevertheless the codes chosen really aren't as bad as you think; at least people seem to get used to them.

    > Another interesting thing is: can we recognize such an expression so that it can
    > produce an unambiguous computation in programming languages, and how can we extend
    > the syntax recognizer of those languages so that they allow inputting formulas and
    > visualizing them with more mathematical-friendly rendering?

    Section 6 of the paper discusses this question. I agree, programming languages could and should be changed to look more like mathematics. For example in C/C++/C#/Java using <= for seems really primitive. And using math alphabetics as variable names gives you the same variables in a program as in the source mathematics.

    Thanks for the feedback
    Murray



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