1.2 Summary of Browser Support for MathML

For those in a hurry, a brief overview of major browsers (ordered by quality of support for MathML rendering) follows:

  • Firefox. Native rendering support has been available since the original production release of Firefox. “Just works” support requires Firefox 3+ and a modern operating system. Other Gecko-based browsers, such as Camino, also inherit this MathML support.

  • Safari. Native rendering support was introduced in Safari 5.1 (July 2011). Safari is based on the Apple sponsored WebKit open source project. MathML development is ongoing in WebKit (see here for Webkit’s current MathML implementation status). The current production release of MathML support is a little rough around the edges (but improving). It is nonetheless appreciated by mathematically-oriented Safari users.

  • Chrome. Native rendering support was introduced in Chrome version 24 (November 2012). Chrome, like Safari, is WebKit based. They share the same MathML implementation.

  • Opera. MathML rendering support has been available since Opera 9.5. Opera renders MathML using the MathML for CSS profile, a subset of presentation MathML. As such, its rendering of mathematical notation is somewhat more limited (and quirkier) than Firefox’s or Safari’s.

  • Internet Explorer. No native rendering support (and no ongoing development announced). Historically, the free MathPlayer plugin provides good MathML support for Internet Explorer and has been readily available for several years. However, the advent of Internet Explorer 9 complicated the situation. At this time, production releases of MathPlayer do not work with IE9 or IE10. This implies Internet Explorer users who require robust MathML support should probably stick with IE7 or IE8 and MathPlayer 2.2 for the time being.

Cut to the chase. For the most robust native rendering of MathML, use a recent release of Firefox. Safari 5.1+ and Chrome 24+ render MathML natively, but the execution is a bit more limited in scope and quality than Firefox. The same can be said of Opera 9.5+ (but more so). Internet Explorer is in a more chaotic state. The “IE constrained” should view MathML publications usingIE6-IE8 with MathPlayer 2.2. Recent releases of IE/MathPlayer are spotty at best, with regard to MathML rendering. Patrons of other browsers have few viable options unless the content provider implements local measures to support these browsers.