[whatwg] <time>

Aryeh Gregor Simetrical+w3c at gmail.com
Tue Mar 10 14:37:08 PDT 2009

On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 3:48 PM, Andy Mabbett <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk> wrote:
> How widely - compared to Julian dates - are those published, in the wild?
> You might be tending towards 'Reductio ad absurdum'.

There are definitely many non-Julian/Gregorian calendar systems used
in the wild.  Rarely in English, but often in other languages.  The
Jewish calendar is commonly used in Israel, for instance.  (The front
page of he.wikipedia.org has both "today in history", using the
Julian/Gregorian calendar; and "events in the Hebrew calendar", the
same thing using the Jewish calendar.)  As far as I'm aware, the
Muslim calendar is commonly used among the world's billion-plus
Muslims, and the Chinese calendar by the billion-plus Chinese.

And once you start with that, it pretty much goes without saying that
for the sake of internationalism you have to spec every calendar that
any group of 10,000 people anywhere in the world uses as long as
someone is willing to write it up and post to www-style enough.  Maybe
not the Roman calendar AUC (let alone consul-based year names!), but
there have got to be dozens that people could come up with that are in
common use somewhere.  This would almost certainly be a significant
burden to implement in the long run.

A much saner solution seems to be to say that HTML supports exactly
one type of calendar: in this case, proleptic Gregorian.  Authoring
tools can be used to convert from other formats to Gregorian.  This is
the approach already taken by every computing standard I can think of.
 One fixed format is used for transmission (usually either proleptic
Gregorian or Unix time).  HTTP is one example of a widely-used format
that does this already.

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