# Russell's Blog

## Vort.org... now with more math!

Posted by Russell on April 13, 2007 at 5:03 a.m.
Back when Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau brought forth the World Wide Web, the idea was to create an easier way for researchers to discuss and share their work. For reasons I've never really understood, through many revisions, the specification for web layout has never included a good way of writing mathematics. Now there is this MathML thing that we are supposed to use. It is only now starting to seep into the default configurations of most browsers. Sadly, it ignores the fact that there is already a perfectly wonderful and truly elegant markup language for typesetting mathematics.

So, until MathML takes over the world, or is replaced by something that people might actually want to use, there is a fantastic little program called mimeTeX. Once it is happily nestled in your cgi-bin directory (remember CGI?), mimeTeX will burble forth all the equations you could ever want. You just pass it a string of LaTeX math mode in as a query, and out pops beautiful equations:

$\normalsize \left(\large\begin{array}{GC+23} \varepsilon_x\\\varepsilon_y\\\varepsilon_z\\\gamma_{xy}\\ \gamma_{xz}\\\gamma_{yz}\end{array}\right)\ {\Large=} \ \left[\begin{array}{CC} \begin{array}\frac1{E_{\fs{+1}x}} &-\frac{\nu_{xy}}{E_{\fs{+1}x}} &-\frac{\nu_{\fs{+1}xz}}{E_{\fs{+1}x}}\\ -\frac{\nu_{yx}}{E_y}&\frac1{E_{y}}&-\frac{\nu_{yz}}{E_y}\\ -\frac{\nu_{\fs{+1}zx}}{E_{\fs{+1}z}}& -\frac{\nu_{zy}}{E_{\fs{+1}z}} &\frac1{E_{\fs{+1}z}}\end{array} & {\LARGE 0} \\ {\LARGE 0} & \begin{array}\frac1{G_{xy}}&&\\ &\frac1{G_{\fs{+1}xz}}&\\&&\frac1{G_{yz}}\end{array} \end{array}\right] \ \left(\large\begin{array} \sigma_x\\\sigma_y\\\sigma_z\\\tau_{xy}\\\tau_{xz}\\\tau_{yz} \end{array}\right)$

It's not the solution that would make the most sense -- a LaTeX engine on the client-side -- but it's the next best thing. So go ahead and blog about math, and stop writing stupid things like f(x-a)/sigma_thingy.

Oh, and if you are too lazy to install it yourself, I warn you now not to use mine. I will use url_rewrite to introduce embarrassing mistakes into your posts.

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