The need to write mathematics dates back to the creation of the Web
by researchers at CERN where it was intended to be used to exchange
scientific documents. A
<MATH> tag was proposed in a HTML 3.0 Draft from
1995 and the MathML 1.0 standard was released in 1998.
Years later, MathML is not supported consistently and reliably by all Web
rendering engines, assistive technologies or
mathematical tools. We still face a chicken-and-egg problem where some browser
vendors are reluctant to put effort on native MathML developments while other
companies, organizations or individuals have kept promoting their own hacks
to workaround the lack of MathML support in browsers:
Given the above, it appeared necessary to:
Create a nonprofit organization to collect money and fund native MathML developments in Web rendering engines. The various volunteers who have worked on native MathML implementations and the successful crowdfunding project Mathematics in ebooks showed that there is a strong interest. However, a legal entity seems necessary to encourage the participation of major actors and go farther than an individual or short-term effort.
Encourage the developments of concrete mathematical tools and Web-based applications demonstrating the benefits of a good integration of mathematical support in the Web platform. This requires a desinterested entity in contrast to companies, organizations or individuals focusing more on developing their mathematical tools and promoting their own products.
As a consequence, a group of math-on-the-web enthusiasts decided to create a nonprofit organization in order to provide a solid foundation for MathML development efforts and a legal entity to speak for people willing to make mathematics a first class citizen on the Web. In 2015, the Mondial Association for Tools Handling MathML, Ltd (for short, “MathML association”) was born.