Dear Docutils developers,
support for mathematical formulas in Docutils is currently limited to LaTeX
input format and conversion to MathML is defined for only a limited subset.
OTOH, Paul Tremblay wrote and maintains a Python library for conversion of
`ASCIImath` to MathML (http://sourceforge.net/projects/asciimathpython/)
which is also used in his sandbox projects.
* ASCIImath as input format offers a simpler syntax for mathematical content
that nicely blends in with reST for text.
ASCIImath as output format seems "the right thing" for text based formats
like "man" as well as a fallback. It could also be added as text
alternative to HTML math objects.
* MathML as output format is "the right thing" not only for HTML+MathML, but
also for the native XML and ODP output formats.
MathML is not suited for handinput, however it should be supported for
formulas that are dropped from some other source or input as external file.
This the three supported input formats ASCIImath, LaTeX, and MathML
should either recognized automatically (easy with MathML) or specified as
an option to the mathdirective (or when defining a math role inheriting
from the default math role). We could also add a "defaultmathinput"
setting.
Conversion to a suitable output format should move to a "math" transform.
I imagine a matrix of math format conversions similar to:
in\out MathML LaTeX ASCIImath MathJax HTML
MathML * ?  OK ?
LaTeX partially * TODO OK OK
ASCIImath OK TODO * OK ?
Notes:
* MathJax understands all three input formats, so there is no need for
conversion, just the right wrapping.
* With an ASCIImath <> LaTeX conversion:
+ ASCIImath input could become an alternative math format supported by
all standard writers
+ LaTeX to MathML could go LaTeX > ASCIImath > MathML for a unified
handling and simple maintenance.
Günter
