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

Cameron Heavon-Jones cmhjones at gmail.com
Fri Jul 29 05:30:30 PDT 2011

On 14/07/2011, at 10:36 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> 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.

This may be a case of a disconnect between what a programmer thinks of style compared to what a user thinks of style.

A localized user thinks that 1/1/01 is a date, whereas this is just a style of formatting to a programmer who thinks of date's in the non-ambigous serialization of 2001-01-01

The question: is i18n formatting stylistic or semantic? 

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

I have concerns about the granularity of such an attribute as pubdate. 

> 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.

This sounds like a great area of research in hope of a simpler, yet more flexible and generic solution.

The inclusion of date\time\etc may amount to a similar situation as encountered in HTML4 with it's stylistic attributes and their resulting obsoletion when a better solution is found, in that case it was CSS.

> (I've also filed this as a bug here:
>   http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=13240
> 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.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Cameron Jones

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