Tools WG Meeting Notes from 3 December 2013

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

DIAGRAM Tools Working Group: Agenda for December 3, 2013

1. Update on server-side MathJax/ChromeVox MathML rendering

2. EDUPUB update

  • Widgets group
  • Metrodigi
  • Sonifier widget
  • SVG working group, ARIA roles for SVG sonification, EPUB 3 use

3. Poet Update

  • improvements to admin functionality, image description search for admins
  • R&D automated image classification - Math & Charts


  • Update
  • Tools - and Google CSE

5. SVG support for aria-describedat

  • SVG spec will point to ARIA 1.1 spec

6. Neil on MathPlayer support in IE 10/11.


Geoff Freed
Gerardo Capiel
Steve Nobel
John Gardner
Ge Vu
Neil Soiffer
Kathi Fletcher


Richard Ladner
Bruce Walker


Gerardo:  server-side MathJax/ChromeVox MathML rendering-- a way to create a bridge for MathML support. Chrome has dropped MathML support; IE 11 has major problems with MathPlayer. Some publishers are holding back on MathML support. Not all EPUB reading systems support MathML. To provide MathML support in these and other situations, Benetech is looking into converting MathML into SVG, then (if necessary) to something else, such as PNG for older non-SVG systems.  Annotating SVG could also result in alt for PNG.  Now setting up DIAGRAM subcontract with American Mathematical Society to create tools to make this process easy/scalable.  Also meeting with ChromeVox engineers about providing assistance. MathML provides navigation capabilities; important for complex expressions.  Can do w/this approach?  Or is it lost? Gerardo has spoken to SVG WG at W3C about supporting MathML within SVG; was received well by the group.  Essentially embed the MathML source within the SVG itself.  Could also provide a link back to the source MathML.

Neil: MathML element also allows for alt text/image; systems that can’t show MathML could grab/display the alt or description.  Could be very simple

Gerardo: The challenge is supporting older reading systems.  Browsers update automatically, but not other types of e-readers.  This approach is intended to be a fallback/bridge for older systems.  This approach might encourage authors to actually make use of MathML.

Neil: Did you talk w/SVG WG about parallel markup?  Ability to highlight?

Geoff: Why are publishers reluctant to implement MathML?

Gerardo: Mostly because of reading-system support.  MathML support is lacking in older and some newer browsers.  Some materials are EPUB3/MathML capable; EPUB 2 can support MathML with a switch but reading systems do not always provide this support.

Gerardo:  EDUPUB summary. Good meeting in Boston in October. One discussion was a need for open-source widgets; Gerardo and Raman presented a session on that topic.  Other groups discussed widgets as well. An IDPF widgets working group/task force has been started to further discuss.  One example is a math sonifier widget that takes MathTrax and turns it into sound within a browser.  Metrodigi has provided a library at ; take a look to see what is already available.

Gerardo: POET update. Have added new admin functions and image-description search.  Now doing r&d to automatically identify images of math.  Will be incorporating this feature into POET; will identify all images that need to be presented as MathML.

Gerardo:  TPAC update:  came to an agreement about accessibility properties in  Will probably be available on this week; have already announced publicly.  Accessibility filters from will be implemented at sometime in the near future.  For more info about accessibility metadata, see

Neil: update on MathPlayer w/IE

IE 11 has removed support for MathPlayer.  IE10 is troubled but Neil has spoken with Rob Sinclair about current problems.

MathML in Safari/iOS is improving but still not perfect; worth investigating, however.  Currently working on some technology callled MathPlayer 2014 (might change) that might help in the general sense of making MathML accessible in other browsers and other applications, however.  GW Micro is on this grant as well; Window-Eyes currently makes a good connection with the math via MathPlayer 2014 in Word or other documents (HTML).  Discussing with Freedom Scientific and other vendors to provide support as well.  Is currently a DLL but might eventually be a Web service.  No on-line demos available yet, but there is API documentation.

Gerardo: It’s essentially an API to a MathPlayer-like service?

Neil: Yes.  Also does things like synch-highlighting, braille.

Problems with MathML/MathPlayer in IE 10:  have spoken with IE group, and MathML is no longer a priority for them.  Some bugs were fixed over the summer except one big one:  IE crashes when MathML is presented in a table.  IE group seems reluctant to fix, however. Hoping that Rob Sinclair and the accessibility group will pressure the IE group to do something soon. IE 11 will have no native support for MathML via MathPlayer; users will need to rely on other, non-plug-in approaches such as MathJax.  The MathPlayer 2014 approach might be a successful workaround, but will be slower. 

Gerardo: One person to speak to at Microsoft is Larry Wise.  Might be worth a try.  Will ask Jim Fruchterman to contact Rob Sinclair.

Geoff: Larry Goldberg (NCAM director) also knows Rob; will ask him to contact Rob and apply some pressure.

Neil: Will send a summary to the group that can be pasted into a message to Rob or others at MSFT for help.  MSFT might listen more closely to non-vendors (e.g., such as Neil/Design Science) than to vendors.

John: One note re LeanMath: LeanMath is an interface to MathType; in advanced beta but is working very well.  Purpose is to author/manipulate math; not so much for reading math.  Nothing online yet; if interested in trying the beta plz contact John Gardner.

Neil: Works very well.

John: Works well with most screen readers; fix is coming for Window-Eyes bug.

Gerardo: SVG 2.0 will be supporting aria-describedat (part of ARIA 1.1).

Neil: Will try to post a summary of the IE-MathML problem to the list today so people can write to Rob or others at MSFT.  (If you write, please let the group know; also let the group know if you get a reply).


Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.