#730 ✓bluesky
Michael A Osborne

Feature Request: Mathjax support

Reported by Michael A Osborne | April 25th, 2014 @ 04:24 PM

Would it be possible to support mathjax (http://www.mathjax.org) in composing mailmate messages? I appreciate that this may be a niche request, but thanks for its consideration.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • benny

    benny April 26th, 2014 @ 01:55 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “bluesky”

    I would love to support beautifully formatted math (I have an academic background with extensive use of LaTeX), but the problem with mathjax is that it's based on Javascript. Receiving email clients (and MailMate) do not enable Javascript in the message view. I could probably work around this in MailMate, but it would not work in general.

    I looked into alternatives and it seems the best option would be to convert math to MathML and hope the receiving email client can display it. This seems to be true for Thunderbird, Apple Mail, iOS Mail, and any other email client based on Webkit (which includes MailMate). There is an interesting blog post here.

    Currently, browsers/clients do not display math as nicely as in TeX (and mathjax), but I guess that might improve over time. Here is a test page.

    If implemented in MailMate, I would allow $...$ and $$...$$ to be used in Markdown mode and convert these using, e.g., itex2MML.

    The main problem is, of course, that widespread support for displaying it correctly might take years if not decades (Outlook?), but it might still be useful when knowing the email client (or operating system) of the recipient.

    An alternative solution is to somehow (not trivial I'm afraid) use mathjax to generate HTML+CSS and use this in the HTML generated output instead. This would create great looking output in many email clients, but it would also be the “wrong” way to do it. The receiving email client, for example, would not be able to identify it as math when editing the message.

    I would implement the itex2MML solution just for the fun of it, but for now I'll mark the request as bluesky (would be nice in some future version of MailMate). I might reconsider if more users make the same request. (Most people wouldn't even understand the syntax used for TeX math which makes such a feature quite a niche request as you also state.)

  • Michael A Osborne

    Michael A Osborne April 26th, 2014 @ 02:09 PM

    Hi Benny

    Thanks for the detailed and informative response, and for considering the request. You correctly guessed my true desideratum: to display formatted maths in email. MathML would be a perfectly acceptable alternative. Given your description of the difficulty, and that this is certainly fairly niche, I completely understand that this will have to remain blue-sky for now, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for future mailmate releases :)

    Thanks again!


  • Graham Leach-Krouse

    Graham Leach-Krouse June 1st, 2014 @ 04:13 PM

    Hi Benny

    I'd like to add my vote to this feature request. One possible route to implementation would be to add support for alternative markdown engines like pandoc.

    I've had some luck with getting pandoc's TeX support working with mailmate, and it's already pretty convenient (and an eye-catching mailmate feature for the TeX-users who get the emails). But it's not as smooth as the native markdown engine. Official support, or informal best-practices for this kind of custom extension, would be great.


  • Pierre Gaillard

    Pierre Gaillard December 14th, 2016 @ 12:12 PM

    Hi, I also vote for this feature.

  • benny

    benny December 14th, 2016 @ 03:40 PM

    @Pierre: My comments on MathJax in this ticket are still valid, but note that MailMate now supports both TeX and asciimath for conversion to MathML. It works pretty well in at least Webkit-based email clients as I “predicted” in my initial reply to this ticket.

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