# Could SE profile and hot questions support MathJax for titles and summaries?

I guess not, but just in case it's easily fixed: could the hot questions and SE profile support MathJax to render question titles and summaries?

On most SE sites, the SE MultiCollider does not support MathJax, and neither do the global SE profiles:

Of course, the specific site itself supports the very same title just fine:

I know support for this on the regular sites has been declined, "as it is an extremely heavy dependency". But maybe it's still doable just for rendering the titles and summaries? Or maybe only on the global SE profile? (Careers might like this too? Never used that.)

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Or maybe just remove the \displaystyle? (I wonder about the URL slug too, but I have no better idea than just stripping the odd displaystyle from prove-that-displaystyle-lim-x-rightarrow-1-fracx1-m-1x1-n-1-fracn. But well, any resulting slug for the title "prove that $\displaystyle\lim_{x\rightarrow 1}\frac{x^{1/m}-1}{x^{1/n}-1}=\frac{n}{m}$" would still be odd I guess. ;-)) –  Arjan May 1 '11 at 10:45
Awww, math formulas also hard to read just like Golfscript for me. –  YOU May 1 '11 at 11:16
Ah, the \displaystyle is not in all titles. That's much better already: Intuitive explanation for the identity $\sum\limits_{k=1}^n {k^3} = \left(\sum\limits_{k=1}^n k\right)^2$ and a better slug too: /intuitive-explanation-for-the-identity-sum-limits-k-1n-k3-left-sum-li. No changes for the example in the question though. Maybe it's cached? –  Arjan Sep 3 '11 at 11:36
Too bad: enabling it might even be a breaking change. –  Arjan Nov 3 '13 at 9:27
This seems to be status-declined as per Nick's investigations in November 2013. –  Arjan Dec 12 '13 at 20:13

The problem with doing that is that the MathJax dependency is a very heavy one, and with your proposal it'd have to be loaded on all pages of all sites.

What would be ideal is if it there was some sort of approximate LaTeX → Unicode translator in C# to make a display-friendlier representation of equations, bringing

$\displaystyle\lim_{x\rightarrow 1}\frac{x^{1/m}-1}{x^{1/n}-1}=\frac{n}{m}$


to (e.g.)

lim(x→1) (x^(1/m)-1)/(x^(1/n)-1) = n/m

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And no, I lack the know-how to make one. –  badp May 1 '11 at 10:53
Any idea if it's heavy in basically loading the script, or only when actually rendering? (Rendering would only occur when opening the MultiCollider thingy, or when looking at a global SE profile that happens to use MathJax, and then only for titles and summaries, not for full-blown posts?) –  Arjan May 1 '11 at 10:57
Maybe such Unicode title might even be the base for a better URL slug. Too bad @badp cannot make it ;-) –  Arjan May 1 '11 at 11:00
@badp: Just wanted to mention that you may be confusing what MathJax has to load on pages that don't include math with the loading for those page that do. Fonts are not loaded on pages that don't include mathematics. MathJax can be configured in many ways, but the usual approach is to load only the core MathJax.js file plus a configuration file. These are shipped gzipped from the MathJax CDN, and the files used at math.se when gzipped are less than 50KB total (smaller than the css file used here). For pages that include math, more has to be loaded, but this not for non-math pages. –  Davide Cervone May 1 '11 at 19:56
Also, the configuration file used on math.se includes a number of parts that could be left out of the configuration that is loaded on all pages (letting those be loaded on demand when needed). That could reduce MathJax's footprint for non-math pages even further. I haven't calculated it, but suspect you could cut it in half. –  Davide Cervone May 1 '11 at 19:59
It looks like about 16KB (after gzip) is possible for a minimal configuration. On the other hand, if you are going to be identifying mathematics and processing it yourself, why not simply identify it and include MathJax only on those pages that have math? No ned to do other processing, and you get the heavy download only when it is required. With the CDN and caching, I think this would give you reasonable performance. –  Davide Cervone May 2 '11 at 11:52
@dpvc It's not me you have to convince; I'm just proposing an alternative. :) –  badp May 2 '11 at 12:27

If MathJax cannot be enabled on non-MathJax sites, then maybe render a title such as:

Prove that $\displaystyle\lim_{x\rightarrow 1}\frac{x^{1/m}-1}{x^{1/n}-1}=\frac{n}{m}$

...on non-MathJax sites as:

Prove that <img src=...>


...where the image URL is taken from $[...]$:

http://latex.codecogs.com/png.latex?[...]


Like:

Prove that $\displaystyle\lim_{x\rightarrow 1}\frac{x^{1/m}-1}{x^{1/n}-1}=\frac{n}{m}$

(And some CSS to align the image, which might be hard as vertical-align: middle does not quite fix it...)

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