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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    I’ve extended the itex filter so that you can choose how you want the output to be displayed. The choices are:

    • MathML
    • SVG
    • PNG
    • Source
    • Auto

    To change your choice, go to “My Details” and select the itex options from the menu on the left.

    MathML, SVG, and PNG are hopefully obvious. The advantage of SVG over PNG is that it is styleable and scalable. But the SVG is embedded in the page, so I don’t know how various browsers will cope with that.

    Source means just that: you see the itex source. Since you can see the source anyway, I don’t know that there’s much point in this one. But it was easy to put in, and later on I might make it so that you can choose a different format for preview as for proper view, in which case you might want to choose “source” for preview since it doesn’t involve any trips to the itex server.

    Auto means that I try to figure out what to do based on what your browser tells me. The rule is, if it’s gecko-based (firefox and clones) then I send MathML, if it’s IE+Mathplayer, then I send MathML, otherwise I send PNG. If you regularly use the nForum from different browsers, this might be best for you. This is what people not logged in get sent.

    I’m still experimenting a little with the best way to get the various different formats into the cache. One option is that when the filter converts itex then it does all three in one go. That makes it slow, though, as that’s three calls to the server each time (and the conversions to SVG and PNG take longer than to MathML), and given that this is most likely to occur when someone is previewing a comment, that slow-down is significant. Another option is to generate them on demand (with caching) so that if you’re the first person who uses SVG to look at a comment then you get the slow-down while it converts it all. That’s the current system. This could be backed-up with a cron script to convert stuff slowly in the background which would eliminate most of the timelag, I think. But if anyone has a better idea, please let me know!

    As with all the recent changes, what’s most important is that this doesn’t introduce any hindrances for anyone. So if the nForum suddenly slows to a complete crawl because of this, please let me know!

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    This is an awesome idea (maybe the nLab should do the same thing! I wonder how many people are turned off by not using a MathML-capable browser?), but the “auto” setting doesn’t work for me in Google Chrome – it still tries to display in MathML which Chrome can’t handle.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    That’s because my capability checker isn’t too sophisticated. It checks for the word “gecko” in the user-agent string, thinking that only browsers built on the gecko engine would display that (firefox, epiphany, galeon, etc). I didn’t think that anyone would be so daft as to write

    (KHTML, like Gecko)

    in their user-agent string. But that’s what google chrome does!

    It’s times like this that I wish PHP had a “is_capable_of_mathml” function so I didn’t have to invent one.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    (-: We should complain to Google. And while we’re at it, we should all tell them to get busy supporting MathML. None of this pass-the-buck nonsense about “well, Webkit doesn’t support it, and we’re built on Webkit…”.

    It’s times like this that I wish PHP had a “is_capable_of_mathml” function so I didn’t have to invent one.

    Surely someone somewhere must have written one before?

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    “detect MathML” gets a few hits of sites that have the capability and I was attempting to reverse engineer one of those, but it didn’t get anything that would help me actually write it. If anyone can come up with something simple, please help me out! User-agent strings are the main thing that I have to go on. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list: http://www.user-agents.org/

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    RIght, I’ve set ’webkit’ to png. (Actually, for webkit, SVG might be the better choice.) I’ve just found that Google Chrome has a Linux version so I’ll install it and take a look at what this place looks like.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    Gosh! Does the Forum really look that bad in Google Chrome? Or is it just the Linux version? The titles of discussions were non-existent and the text was all over the place!

    I clearly have a lot to learn about how different browsers do stuff. *sigh* Makes me wish that there was some central body that set some sort of standard that everyone agreed to adhere to.

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2010

    I had to look at several stylesheets until I found one that looked okay in Chrome.

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorEric
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2010
    • (edited May 16th 2010)

    The double dollar signs (math mode?) do not seem to be working.

    E=mc 2E = m c^2

    I’ve also noticed that I can no longer quote properly in math mode (which is probably related), e.g.

    Let me try to quote something

    E=mc 2E = m c^2

    Did it work?

    Do I have some setting wrong?

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2010

    Bizarre. Not sure why that happened. It’s fixed now (though stale stuff in the cache, such as that above, won’t regenerate).

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorEric
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2010
    • (edited May 16th 2010)

    I think this is a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I cannot get math to render the way it did before. How can I get it to work as before? It was beautiful.

    For example, this comment looks horrible (now that I’ve been spoiled).

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2010

    What’s wrong with it? Looks fine to me. It looks to me the way it ought to look.

    What browser are you using? What itex setting are you using?

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorEric
    • CommentTimeMay 17th 2010

    I’m now experimenting with Chrome because Firefox couldn’t even open the page. Which itex mode should I use so that it displays as before, e.g. inline mode looked very nice next to regular text, etc?

    I’ll send a snapshot when I get a chance, but the font has changed and the vertical alignment is off (like it used to be in the beginning). It could just be a setting on my end.

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeMay 17th 2010

    Chrome doesn’t work with MathML so the automatic setting is to send the maths as a PNG. To force it to send MathML, choose the MathML option from your user settings (via “My Details”). I’ve no idea how Chrome will cope with the MathML, though.