MathML support in chromium based browsers
I’ve noticed this after rereading some of my notes about ODE with a chromium-based browser.
Support for MathML
Wikipedia has a good overview about which browser does support MathML, you will notice that chromium used to support it, but then decided to drop it.
It’s frustrating because today browsers are adding extensions for a lot of technologies that have nothing to do with viewing websites, like access to the microphone, camera, GPS location, notifications, and USB drives, or alternative formats like AMP, but fail to add a standardized a part of HTML5 has been there for years.
Alternative to MathML
An obvious solution to the problem is avoiding MathML entirely and use something else.
It has multiple advantages, like
supports (a subset of) LaTeX
works on mainstream browsers/operating systems
it is an additional resource that the end-user needs to download
it needs to be kept updated to avoid potential security issues (it is code that gets executed after all)
it means executing untrusted code (as it is code that’s downloaded from a website you do not necessarily trust that much) on your pc.
A possible solution is letting the end-user injecting MathJax on the pages with a MathML formula.
There is, in fact, at least one plugin for chromium-based browsers that claim to do that: FMath. It seems to do a good job, but just like any additional program, it is hard to tell if it is trustworthy, or if future version will contain malware, like it happened multiple times.
Of course, it is better than having all websites providing their own, possibly outdated, version of MathJax or through a CDN, as it is more difficult to ensure the trustworthiness of what is executed, and will consume more resources.
Another solution is to switch to another browser. I mainly use Firefox so I only noticed the issue by accident. Proposing to change browser might be too much to ask, but it is the only one putting some effort into supporting MathML.
This shows that diversity is a good thing, but unfortunately, as of today, most browsers have a common ancestor.