Re: Progress on HTML 3 (acrobat, applets)

lilley (
Thu, 9 Nov 1995 15:16:32 +0000 (GMT)

> >> acrobat, acrobat, acrobat......
> >Coming soon to a Unix platform near you (but not very soon)
> If by this you mean that acrobat is not available on Unix platforms, you
> are mistaken.

Nope. The *current* (version 2.0) Acrobat reader is available for:

* Intel based PCs running MS-Windows 3.x or greater (possibly also NT, not sure)
* 68k Macs (or emulation on PowerPC) with MacOS 7.x

That is all.

> It is definitely available at least for the Sun/X platform

Version 1.0 is available for SunOS 4.1.3 - it does not do searching, it has
printing problems, and is not being further developed.

> and I believe for several more.

Cite them, please. I believe they do not exist. I take available to mean
there is something that can be downloaded, or something that is being
developed that Adobe development partners can beta test.

> It is probably not available on all Unix
> platforms, or anything close to all, and that is certainly an issue.

Yes. To put this in perspective: I have mailed Adobe several times over
the past year regarding an Acrobat reader for HP-UX. I have offered to
beta test or even alpha test such a reader (my organisation is a member
of the Adobe Developers Association). Nothing, not even a reply.

> In
> fact it's hard to have much faith in an interoperability solution that
> depends so entirely on a single vendor (at least so far).

Quite so. Hence my lack of enthusiasm when malcolm suggested acrobat as
a solution to lack of HTML math support. Plus, anyone who has seen parallel
HTML and PDF versions of the same document will appreciate the enormous
difference in file sizes.

> The issue will be the extent to which the structure of an equation is
> described in a way that makes sense to tools that read html --- provided
> equations have enough structure that one would want to do the sorts of
> things one might do with other structural information in html.

Phill Hallam-Baker of W3C spoke to me last year about math support in HTML 3
and the intention at that time was *not* to replicate TeX/LaTeX, which merely
describe pictures of equations. He wanted to describe the equation; so there
was enough info there to drop in intio say a symbolic algebra package or a
graphing program. That does not seem to have happened.

> I suspect
> they do. It seems quite likely that variables in one equation will be
> linked to their definitions elsewhere in a web document, and that the
> relations within and among equations will be something that web indexing
> and maintenance applications should process. At least that's the way I
> would want to compose and maintain web documents containing math. It is
> conceivable that this would still work with equations supported by applets,
> but it won't happen by accident.

OK, so I hear you saying that it must be possible to link into equations
using fragment identifiers on URLs, and link out of equations (into HTML
documents, and other things).

If you could do that using a media type other than HTML, but which could be
embedded inline into an HTML document, would that satisfy your requirements?

Chris Lilley, Technical Author and JISC representative to W3C 
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