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CS298 Proposal

MathML without Plugins using VML

Namon Nuttayasakul (

Advisor: Dr. Chris Pollett

Committee Members:Dr. Agustin Araya, Department of Computer Science, SJSU (, Dr. Michael Beeson, Department of Computer Science, SJSU (


The desire to display math on the Web has been around for more than a decade. A number of mechanisms previously proposed are still not adequate. This proposed project uses the XSLT transformation language to convert XML files that contains MathML to XML file containing HTML and VML (Vector Markup Language). Since this approach uses technologies that are natively supported by many popular Web browsers, viewing mathematical expression on the Web can be done without using any Plugins. Furthermore, it uses vector graphic to view the result which will dramatically reduces the time to render and improves the image quality of the result in comparison to the conventional ways that use image file or HTML tricks.

CS297 Results

  • Researched VML, SVG, XML, XSLT, LaTeX2e,and MathML
  • Wrote XSLT Transformation to render matrices in VML
  • Designed an XSLT framework of translation from MathML to VML
  • Finished the transformation for some tags from MathML to VML using XSLT

Proposed Schedule

Week 1 (8/26 - 8/30)Prepare 298 proposal
Week 2 (9/2 - 9/6)Token Element (Mathematical notation)
Week 3 (9/9 - 9/13)General Layout Schemata (Layout of basic notation)
Week 4 (9/16 - 9/20)Script and Limit Schemata (Layout of scripting notation)
Week 5 (9/23 - 9/27)Table and Matrices
Week 6 (9/30 - 10/4)Final test and debug
Week 7 (10/7 - 10/11)Write-up: Chapter 1
Week 8 (10/14 - 10/18)Write-up: Chapter 2
Week 9 (10/21 - 10/25)Write-up: Chapter 3
Week 10 (10/28 - 11/1)Write-up: Chapter 4
Week 11 (11/4 - 11/8)Give draft to committee, clean up code
Week 12 (11/11 - 11/15)Prepare final presentation
Week 13 (11/18 - 11/22)Finalize write-up
Week 14 (11/25 - 11/29)Finish the report
Week 15 (12/2 - 12/6)Oral defense.

Key Deliverables:

  • Software
    • Provide an XSLT transformation from content mode MathML to VML.
  • Report
    • Description of the architecture that allows transformation from MathML to VML

Innovations and Challenges

  • Uses vector graphic to view the mathematical expressions on the Web which allows shorter time to view the result than the conventional way that use image file such as GIF or JPEG and also gives a better rendering result than those displaying the result using plain HTML.
  • Uses style sheet transformation to convert the standard mathematical mark-up language file which is not natively support by many popular Web browsers to another mark-up language file that can be view on the Web without using any types of Plugins.
  • This project performs the transformation on-the-fly by using XSLT.


1. Van Ossenbruggen, J., Hardman, L. Rutledge, L., and Eliens, A. "Style Sheet Support for Hypermedia Documents". Proceedings of ACM Hypertext 97. pp. 216-217, 1997.

2. Greg J. Badros, Alan Borning, Kim Marriott, and Peter Stuckey. "Constraint cascading style sheets for the web." In Proceedings of the 1999 ACM Conference on User Interface Software and Technology. pp.73-82, 1999.

3. WANG, P. S. "Design and Protocol for Internet Accessible Mathematical Computation." In Proc. ISSAC'99, ACM Press. pp. 291-298, 1999.

4. P. Wadler. "A Formal Semantics of Patterns in XSLT." In Proceeding of the Conference for Markup Technologies, 1999.

5. F. Bry and M. Kraus. "Adaptive Hypermedia made simple using HTML/XML Style Sheet Selectors." In 2nd Int. Conf. on Adaptive Hyperw, edia and Adaptive Web Based Systems, 2002.

6. S. Abiteboul, P. Buneman, and D. Suciu. "Data on the Web: From Relations to Semistructured Data and XML." Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2000.