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

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 14:51:37 PDT 2011

On Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 2:36 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> 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'm fine with this, but as I expressed when this was discussed
earlier, I think this should be more explicitly aimed at Microdata,
with something like <itemdata @itemprop @data>...</itemdata>.

This makes it less immediately applicable to Microformats, but in my
opinion Microformats should switch to using Microdata as their
embedding syntax, as that would solve their "you have to write a
custom parser for each vocab" problem.

(I want to address usecase A at some point, but it's a complicated
problem that I don't have anywhere near the bandwidth for.  It doesn't
necessarily require <time>, though - <itemdata> would work just fine
if CSS specified a particular date format that the data had to be in.)


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