[whatwg] proposal: extend <time> to markup durations

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Jul 14 14:36:36 PDT 2011

On Thu, 14 Jul 2011, Tantek Ã~Gelik wrote:
> Some in the microformats community have been making good use of the 
> <time> element, e.g. for publishing hCalendar, and implementing 
> consuming/converting hCalendar [1] with good success.
> [1] http://microformats.org/wiki/h2vx#HTML5_support
> It would be great if the <time> element could support expressing 
> durations as well for the use cases as needed by the hMedia and hAudio 
> microformats as well as other use-cases (Wikipedia, IMDB).
> Simple proposal, examples, faq, discussion (please contribute)
> http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/Time_element#duration

I haven't studied the above yet, but I just wanted to bring up a trial 
balloon for a possible alternative solution: drop <time> and replace it 
with a generic solution.

There are several use cases for <time>:

A. Easier styling of dates and times from CSS.

B. A way to mark up the publication date/time for an article (e.g. for 
conversion to Atom).

C. A way to mark up machine-readable times and dates for use in 
Microformats or microdata.

Use cases A and B do not seem to have much traction.

Use case C applies to more than just dates, and the lack of solution for 
stuff outside dates and times is being problematic to many communities.

Proposal: we dump use cases A and B, and pivot <time> on use case C, 
changing it to <data> and making it like the <abbr> for machine-readable 
data, primarily for use by Microformats and HTML's microdata feature.

(I've also filed this as a bug here:
I generally prefer to only have issues discussed either in e-mail or in a 
bug, but Tantek informs me that for technical reasons he can't discuss 
this on the bug and his input is more important to me than convention, 
thus my bringing this up here again!)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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