Archive for the ‘Web/Tech’ Category

And now, an equation-display solution that actually works

A little online discussion turned up a free Java applet that does pretty much exactly what I need — given a LaTeX equation handed to it as a parameter, it renders the equation. Using Java seems like overkill, but I’ll take a conceptually-inelegant solution that works over a conceptually-elegant one that doesn’t.

So, here we go:

The applet’s hosted on my webspace at U of M; it’s pretty small, but all the same I’d prefer it if people would grab their own copies rather than using mine, bandwidth being a limited resource and all. The one clunky aspect is having to fiddle with the applet size in pixels; still, that’s something I can live with.

Update: Well, it turns out that the applet won’t run unless it’s locally hosted — it should work now, though.

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Er, let’s try that again…

Well, that was an embarassing example of how hard it is to get these things to work. TypePad added a bunch of hard line breaks to my MathML, which may be why it didn’t render — I think I’ve successfully turned that option off, though. One more try:

x

x
D

f
x

Putting equations on the web is, as everyone knows, a royal pain in the ass.

I’ve been researching this, both for course purposes and potentially for this log, and it seems that the only widely-supported solution is a bunch of little gif files. That’s deeply irritating — for one thing, on TypePad, I’d have to upload, and keep track of the names of, a dozen little files for each post — hardly worth the hassle, and the equations would end up being editable online.

Then there’s MathML. Just for grins, here’s a MathML equation:

x

x
D

f
x

(cribbed from a w3.org test page). It’ll probably work OK in Mozilla — but anyone else is going to need a plugin, which may or may not work. And it’s still a hassle to generate; there are various LaTeX to MathML converters out there, but It’d rather just type LaTeX (which is a nice compact format for equations, and one that I know) directly into the browser; the MathML source is rather bloated and hard to edit by hand.

Anyone out there have any better ideas?