Re: embedded equation component manifesto (long)

I absolutely agree about the importance of this component and with the
bulk of you coments about how to do it right. I practice though I think
it might be possible to acheive an approximation to your ideas with less
complexity and still be better than current systems.

My background is as a frequent LaTeX user. LaTeX does most (but not all
things right). Other systems I have used include Wordperfect and MS
Word. WP borrows heailty from LaTeX and so does quite a good job, but I
am always frustrated that I can't lauch straight into an equation
without touching the mouse. Word is hopeless, requiring mouse actions at
every step, as well as laying out the result badly.

Dealing with your points in turn:

1. Baseline Alignment
2. Side Bearings
clearly need to be handled in the equation component as something like
the Java 'insets', which can then be passed to parent app.

3. Auto line spacing
4. Ambient font
The current font and size of the area into which the equation must fit
can be passed to the component, which will use this info in sizing the
equation, font selection, and in setting the insets. For getting the
result to look 'just right' in the case when a large symbol is required
will probably require a dialogue to override some of this.

5. Cross-Page and Column Embedded Objects
7. Cross-Equation Alignment
I'm not sure the LaTeX approach of stackable equations is necessarily
the right one. Might it not be more general to allow an extra set of
tabs on the ruler, the positions of which may be passed to the embedded
object. All equations are then entered singly. This allows both LaTeX
style eqnarrays, but also equations separated by paragraph text to be
aligned, and stacks can be broken across a page boundary if necessary.
The ruler can be changed whenever the user desires. This seems a simple
solution, with the only setback being that the '=' is not positioned
automatically. On the other hand, there will be greater consistency
between equations throughout a document.

My biggest wish for such a component remains that I can type an equation
directly into text without taking my hands off the keyboard.

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