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Typesetting mathematical equations for print/digital outputs is currently a serious pain point for many publishers. Two common workflow solutions are to either:
1. Use a specialized typesetting tool with rich mathematical rendering support (e.g., LaTeX)
2. Convert all equations to images for use in traditional desktop publishing tools (e.g., InDesign)
However, there are key downsides to both these approaches. For publishers that don’t focus exclusively on math and science titles, spinning up a LaTeX-based production program may require too much overhead in time/resources to justify the investment. And converting equations to images is not ideal either, as it decreases ease of maintainability and poses challenges for digital outputs in terms of both scalability for different form factors and accessibility for visually impaired readers.
As a tech publisher that produces many titles a year with mathematical content, O’Reilly Media was unsatisfied with the compromises entailed by the above workflow choices, and developed an alternative solution: a mathematics API called “STIX” that slots into its XML/
HTML-based single-source workflow.