[whatwg] Re: Proposal: datesubmissionformat (repost)

Malcolm Rowe malcolm-what at farside.org.uk
Thu Jul 22 05:25:42 PDT 2004

Lachlan Hunt writes:
>> [converting a date control that accepts 'dd/mm/yyyy' to a WF2 'date'
>> control]
> Why couldn't they just change the hint to a different format? 
>   <label>Enter date of visit as YYYY-MM-DD:
>          <input type="date" ... ></label>

They could, and I probably should have mentioned that. They would still need 
to change the server-side processing to parse a date in that format, 
however, and (possibly more significantly) they would then be requiring 
users to enter dates in a 'foreign' format. For a site with a sufficiently 
savvy or international audience, that's unlikely to be a problem (for 
example, both Bugzilla and Bonsai request dates in ISO format), but for a 
small site designed to serve 'local' customers only, requiring an ISO format 
is likely to be perceived as particularly unfriendly. 

My key point is this, I suppose: All of the other (commonly-used) input 
types are directly backward-compatible with existing practice, which allows 
a seamless upgrade to WF2 controls. All, that is, except for 'date'. Can we 
improve 'date' so that existing sites can upgrade with minimal effort? 

>> Critically, I am not proposing a general-purpose format specifier; the 
>> allowed values for this attribute would be drawn from a short list of 
>> 'common' date formats. The ones I had in mind were "iso" (for ISO8601, 
>> the default, yyyy-mm-dd), "d/m/y" (UK format, dd/mm/yyyy), "m/d/y" (US 
>> format, mm/dd/yyyy), and probably a 'European' format "d.m.y" 
>> (dd.mm.yyyy).
>   If there was going to be a date format attribute, then I would insist 
> that it accepts strings using the same letter convention as in the
> ISO8601 spec.

I think that's a very bad idea, for the reasons I mentioned in my original 
email. However ... 

> [..] I think attempting to restrict it to a list 
> of predefined formats wouldn't work anyway, because authors don't always 
> read the specs, so many would just guess and think they could enter it 
> however they like.

... I think that's a very persuasive argument. My alternative was to used 
named formats ('ISO', 'US', 'UK', 'Europe', though I wasn't particularly 
happy with the choice of names). Is that better? 


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