Using the Amaya Editor/Browser for XML/MathML
to Display and Use Mathematics on the Web
L. David Roper (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is Amaya?
MathML is a subset of XML, which is a superset of HTML. In other words
XML will eventually replace HTML and MathML will be the way to do mathematics
in XML. Some useful web sites for learning about XML and MathML are:
Amaya is first an editor to create XML/MathML code to enable mathematics
to be presented on World Wide Web (WWW) sites. See
http://www.w3.org/Amaya/. Actually, as I
understand it, Amaya creates
a reformulation of HTML 4.01 in
Second Amaya is a browser to enable mathematics to be seen on the WWW.
The browser part is necessary because the standard browsers Netscape and
Microsoft Internet Explorer do not allow XML/MathML to be seen on the WWW.
MathML has the capability of allowing math to be done as well as seen on
the Internet. By "done" it is meant that the user not only sees the
mathematics, but can also manipulate it in the many ways mathematics can be
manipulated. This is refered to as putting the "content" as well as the symbols
on the WWW. Amaya does not yet have the capability of doing math on the
There is a useful overview of Amaya at
Some frequently asked questions about Amaya are available at
An Introduction to
Amaya is useful to read. There is a users manual at
Amaya was created by the World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C), which distributes it free at
The W3C's Math Home Page has some
valuable information about MathML.
There are other ways to present
math on the Internet.
I have decided to concentrate on using Amaya to put mathematics on the
WWW for the following reasons:
Amaya as a Web Browser
Amaya has the basic browsers features, but not all features that the
standard browsers have.
For a comparison of browsing versus editing see
The main deficiencies compared to the standard browsers are:
- Amaya does not support
- Amaya requires that one type in http:// before www.xxxx.xxx in a web
- Amaya does not have a way to save web addresses (favorites or
Amaya as an XML/MathML Editor
I have used Amaya to create a rather complicated mathematical physics
XML/MathML document: http://arts.bev.net/roperldavid/rollovers.xml.
You will need to have
Amaya on your machine to view the mathematics in that document.
I will describe some of the good features I have found in Amaya and some
of the problems I encountered.
Good Features of Amaya
- One can display the WYSIWYG view of a file being edited or viewed in
one window, the source-code view in another window and the structure view in
another window. Editing can be done in either of these windows. A cursor or
line marker shows in the non-active windows where the cursor is in the active
window. BE SURE to save (File-Save or CTRL-s) or synchronize (File-Synchronize
or CTRL-r) any changes made in the source window before switching to another
window; all other windows automatically synchronize with the remaining windows.
The sizes and locations of these windows can be fixed with
Special-Preferences-Window Geometry. Another window can show the table of
contents and another the links in the file.
- One can switch from viewing a downloaded web page into editing it by
clicking on a pencil button, and then save the source code to a local
- There is a palette for the major mathematics structures and it
contains a button for another palette for the major mathematics symbols. These
can be viewed with Amaya at
Problems with Amaya
- It is not clear in the WYSIWYG view where the cursor is relative to
MathML tags. One has to move to the source view to be exactly sure where the
- When a MathML structure or a table structure is inserted at the end
of a file in the WYSIWYG view, one has to move to the source view to move the
cursor after the MathML or table tag. One can prevent this by entering some
text and then putting the MathML or table just before the text.
- The source code often gets scrambled when one pastes items into a
table cell in the WYSIWYG view, especially for MathML code. It is best to do
such pasting in the source view.
Special Features of Amaya
- When viewing a downloaded web page, one can activate a pencil button
to change the read-only web page into an editable web page. After changes are
made, one can save the page to a local disk.
- One can set up the windows' size and location and then save the
windows configuration, with Special-Preferences-Window Geometry, for future
- One can choose whether a single-click or a double-click activates a
link. When editing it is convenient to have double-click activation; whereas,
single-click saves time and effort when viewing only.