embedded components and equations


First, I'm new to GNOME and this list, so if I use the wrong terminology or
commit some other sort of faux pas, cut me a little slack please.

I'm with Design Science, the makers of MathType and the Equation Editor that
comes with Microsoft Office, so my interest is the editing of equations in
documents. I don't know what my eventual involvement with GNOME will be but
I am at least interested in making sure that some of the pitfalls and
problems that occur in this area are avoided.

I've browsed the GNOME site and equation editing within documents is
mentioned a few times in connection with component development but I
couldn't find evidence of anyone doing anything about it specifically. If I
missed it, someone please point me in the right direction. Also, if my
subject should be posted to a different list, let me know.

It seems to me that the problems with creating an equation editor component
are in the richness (or lack thereof) of the interface between it and the
document that contains it. The simple model is one where the document asks
the equation component "how big are you?" and the component replies with a
width and height in a suitable coordinate system. The document editor use
this info as input to the page layout process and, eventually, decides where
the equation component should be put. Later, the document editor will ask
the component to display itself within its rectangle using a canvas given to

To make a practical equation editor component takes a much richer interface
than this. Before I expand on this at greater length, I want to be sure I'm
saying it in the right place, it hasn't already been dealt with, and it is
generally welcome. If any of these is missing, I'll slink off and never be
heard from again.

Paul Topping                          http://www.mathtype.com
Design Science, Inc.                  email: pault@mathtype.com
                                      phone: 562-433-0685

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