[whatwg] Historic dates in HTML5

Bruce Lawson brucel at opera.com
Thu Mar 5 03:50:41 PST 2009

Henri Sivonen said  

"The <time> element is meant as a replacement for the microformat
<abbr> design pattern in hCalendar (if the microformat community
embraces <time>; if not, <time> in pretty much pointless in HTML5).
The expected use cases of hCalendar are mainly transferring *future*
event entries from a Web page into an application like iCal."

If there's one thing that getting involved in specs of markup languages  
has taught me, it's that "expected use cases" don't matter. People always  
do other things.

And if there is a limit on  a use case, it should be in the spec. There is  
nothing I can see in the editors draft that limits the use of <time>. (I  
use it on my website to markup publication dates of blog entries and  
comments; why on earth wouldn't I?)

What it does limit is the format: no "fuzzy dates" like "July 1897" for my  
great grandmother's birthday (no-one remembers the exact day) or the  
precise date of Charlemagne death "28 January 814"

Henri is right: <code>time</code> is pretty much pointless in HTML5 if  
it's not embraced by the microformats community, but why would they  
embrace it? It prevents them doing a lot of what they do - like fuzzy or  
ancient dates -  so what do they gain by adopting it?

Bruce Lawson
Web Evangelist
www.opera.com (work)
www.brucelawson.co.uk (personal)

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