My current workflow is:

  1. looking up symbols through detexify
  2. typing math expressions into this editor
  3. scrolling up and down between the editor and preview box to make sure output looks good.

I think all these can be combined into a single step using Mathcha. Since it is an online service, surely MSE can be integrated with it. Mathcha already offers an export to latex option, so my new workflow would be:

  1. click on Mathcha icon in editor's header
  2. breeze through writing math expression
  3. press "Insert" to insert latex code of my math expression into editor

I feel my already favorite site would become more powerful with the integration of Mathcha.

What does the community think of this?

UPDATE: I also realized that for beginner posters (like high school students) - with little know-how of online equation editors and certainly no idea of Latex commands - having an integrated equation editor can completely remove the friction between having a maths query and being able to ask it properly on MSE.

  • $\begingroup$ I believe som similar suggestions have been made in the past. (Perhaps not about this specific site, but about including some similar editor in the interface.) Maybe you'll be able to find also some other posts about this. After looking through the questions tagged mathjax+editor and mathjax+feature-request, I found this: How to increase service/traffic, a set of suggestions. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 4 '17 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ However, that question is not very good, since 3 unrelated suggestions were made in the same post. (However, one of them was about and editor with a palette of TeX buttons - so I assume that the poster had in mind something similar to the site you linked to.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 4 '17 at 5:52
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Thanks for taking attention! However, the post you linked to has been downvoted heavily. Of the possibly useful links I found there were links to an external equation editor (CodeCogs, which is nowhere near Mathcha in terms of capabilities) and links on how to use latex commands. (guides to mugging them up) Certainly neither of them add value to my current post. I hope you agree. $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Sep 4 '17 at 6:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ One obvious disadvantage of the Mathcha editor is that it seems to be designed for LaTeX rather than MathJax. You can get things which will not work here - for example, tables. (And probably you can find more similar stuff.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 4 '17 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ But probably before discussing which specific solution should be used, it would be good to know whether including some type of MathJax editor into the the PageDown editor is feasible at all. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 4 '17 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak part (1): we can restrict the Mathcha editor's features to only those which we require and can support through Mathjax. The MSE mods/devs should surely be able to talk to Mathcha's creator regarding this; part (2): if integrating code snippets into Stackoverflow's editor is possible, surely mathcha should also be possible :) $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Sep 4 '17 at 12:06

You asked, so here are my thoughts.

  1. Site developers are at a premium. Too much to do, too few to do it all. This is reflected in various discussions on Meta SE, as I mentioned in Comments on this previous post. Relative scarcity of developer resources was also at the crux of "sunsetting" the Documentation project. "While we have an exceptional team of engineers, there just aren't enough of them to support all the projects Stack Overflow is working on."

  2. Your mention of code snippets illustrates the pitfalls of introducing dependence on an external site. Mathcha is a new (2017) website, supported by two people. The experience with MathJax and with code snippets suggests that StackOverflow is more likely to prefer ways of doing things that can be managed through site software rather than with external web services.

  3. The superficial workflows you describe both have three steps, and it is only asserted that one involving Mathcha will be simpler for beginners. Eventually edits will need to be made to posts, and users will be disaccommodated by WYSIWYG functionality when that need arises. Mathcha's ability to export $\LaTeX$ scarcely suggests any ability to import and revise such markup.

  4. A more mature and compatible online math editor is StackEdit. "StackEdit integrates MathJax to render mathematics from LaTeX expressions inside your markdown document, as you would do on Stack Exchange." You might try this for comparison, which abandons WYSIWYG for the ability to cut-and-paste with Stack Exchange (thus allowing edits on an equal footing with original drafts).

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for doing a comprehensive reply! :-) I am not so experienced in terms of depending on external teams for software, so that's why the points 1 and 2 didn't come to my mind. I don't really agree with 3 - although WYSIWYG is overrated in terms of web development (HTML) - but I think it can be pretty useful in a more objective and fact based thing as math formulae. (4) suffers from the same problem as the existing stackoverflow editor that it is not so math-equations-latex-beginner-friendly. $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Sep 5 '17 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ Although point 1 is very strong, so I'd agree with it. Ok, so topic closed. $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Sep 5 '17 at 11:32

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