# MathML is now an ISO and IEC standard!

We've blogged about MathML lots of times, so I'm sure I don't need to tell you why MathML is the way math should be written on the Web or why it is so important for accessibility. Instead, let me take this space to write about its history as a standard.

MathML was the first XML-based W3C standard back in 1998. (OK, W3C only issues "recommendations", but most people consider them standards). It came at a time when most people thought the future of the web was going to be XHTML. XHTML (and more generally, XML) is used a lot by publishers and others who want to make sure what they write is "valid". But for the rest of us, HTML and its lazy "I'll make it work" attitude is the direction the web took. That was an unfortunate direction for math for many years because MathML wasn't part of HTML. Thankfully that changed in the last couple of years when MathML was included as part of the HTML5 spec; HTML5 became the official standard last year but had been widely implemented well before its standardization.

Firefox and our MathPlayer plug-in for IE have long supported display of MathML. Safari added support a few years back. Chrome briefly had support but in a very controversial move, removed it due to security concerns with the implementation and lack of an internal support person. Thankfully, the JavaScript-based MathJaX does a great job of supporting MathML in all browsers, so you use MathML in all your pages. There's no need to use images that don't scale, can't line break, and are inaccessible.

MathML is now endorsed by ISO and IEC. This is a nice progression for MathML because several governments have laws that state that if there is an ISO standard available, it should be used where appropriate. This will definitely help cement MathML's place as a method to represent mathematical notation.

You can read the W3C's announcement here. It includes a link to a video that our own Bob Mathews made showing an iPad screen reading a Wikipedia page with MathML. If you want to see more examples of Math being spoken, you can see examples of JAWS, ChromeVox, and MathPlayer speaking the same Wikipedia page by taking a look at my CSUN talk (slide #12). Design Science has been an integral part of both the design and dissemination of MathML since the very start. I hope you'll excuse us if we give each other a little pat on the back as we watch our baby grow and mature – it feels good to be part of such a useful and successful standard!