User talk:Admin

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Pros of TeX

  1. TeX is semantically more precise than HTML.
    1. In TeX, "x" means "mathematical variable ", whereas in HTML "x" is generic and somewhat ambiguous.
    2. On the other hand, if you encode the same formula as "{{math|<var>x</var>}}", you get the same visual result x and no information is lost. This requires diligence and more typing that could make the formula harder to understand as you type it. However, since there are far more readers than editors, this effort is worth considering if no other rendering options are available (such as MathJax, which is available to logged in users as an preferences opt-in).
  2. One consequence of point 1 is that TeX code can be transformed into HTML, but not vice-versa.[1] This means that on the server side we can always transform a formula, based on its complexity and location within the text, user preferences, type of browser, etc. Therefore, where possible, all the benefits of HTML can be retained, together with the benefits of TeX. It is true that the current situation is not ideal, but that is not a good reason to drop information/contents. It is more a reason to help improve the situation.
  3. Another consequence of point 1 is that TeX can be converted to MathML (e.g. by MathJax) for browsers which support it, thus keeping its semantics and allowing the rendering to be better suited for the reader’s graphic device.
  4. TeX is the preferred text formatting language of most professional mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. It is easier to persuade them to contribute if they can write in TeX.
  5. TeX has been specifically designed for typesetting formulae, so input is easier and more natural if you are accustomed to it, and output is more aesthetically pleasing if you focus on a single formula rather than on the whole containing page.
  6. Once a formula is done correctly in TeX, it will render reliably, whereas the success of HTML formulae is somewhat dependent on browsers or versions of browsers. Another aspect of this dependency is fonts: the serif font used for rendering formulae is browser-dependent and it may be missing some important glyphs. While the browser generally capable to substitute a matching glyph from a different font family, it need not be the case for combined glyphs (compare ‘  ’ and ‘  ’).
  7. When writing in TeX, editors need not worry about whether this or that version of this or that browser supports this or that HTML entity. The burden of these decisions is put on the software. This does not hold for HTML formulae, which can easily end up being rendered wrongly or differently from the editor’s intentions on a different browser.[2]
  8. TeX formulae, by default, render larger and are usually more readable than HTML formulae and are not dependent on client-side browser resources, such as fonts, and so the results are more reliably WYSIWYG.
  9. While TeX does not assist you in finding HTML codes or Unicode values (which you can obtain by viewing the HTML source in your browser), copying and pasting from a TeX PNG image in Wikipedia into simple text will return the LaTeX source.
^ unless your wikitext follows the style of point 1.2
^ The entity support problem is not limited to mathematical formulae though; it can be easily solved by using the corresponding characters instead of entities, as the character repertoire links do, except for cases where the corresponding glyphs are visually indiscernible (e.g. &ndash; for ‘–’ and &minus; for ‘−’).

In some cases it may be the best choice to use neither TeX nor the HTML substitutes, but instead the simple ASCII symbols of a standard keyboard (see hereafter, for an example).

Some heading