[uf-discuss] Hcalendar in bbc.co.uk/programmes

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 14 06:06:37 PST 2007

Ciaran McNulty wrote:
> On Dec 13, 2007 3:19 PM, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
> <bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com> wrote:
>> Robert O'Rourke wrote:
>> 1. 16:03 isn't an abbreviation for 12 September 2007. That's
>> /additional/ information. So that should be a SPAN not an ABBR.
> I'd disagree with this.  16:03 in the context of your original page
> *will* refer to 16:03 on a specific day (I'm finding it hard to think
> of a non-contrived example where it wouldn't) - it's just abbreviated
> to 16:03. A human would gather that information from context but it's
> more explicit in the machine-readable version.

The expansions of normal abbreviations are intended for confused humans, 
not (just) baffled machines. You can throw normal abbreviations into 
www.acronymfinder.com and generally one of the results will be 
applicable in context. If you throw 16:03 into www.acronymfinder.com, 
you will not get back 12 September 2007. That is, normal abbreviations 
(Mr., Dr., ibid., etc.) are no more dependent on context than ordinary 

What you're really saying is that ABBR should be used to make /contexts/ 
explicit in the TITLE attribute, for the benefit of machines. I think 
that's a radical deviation from expanding an abbreviation for the 
benefit of humans and machines.

Given the HTML 4.01 specification:



I think all of the following would be misuses of ABBR and TITLE:

| Combien d'œufs ai-je vendre? J'ai vendu <abbr title="quarante-cinq">
| 45</abbr> aujourd'hui.

| Combien d'œufs ai-je vendre? J'ai vendu <abbr title="45
| œufs">45</abbr> aujourd'hui.

| Combien d'œufs ai-je vendre? J'ai vendu <abbr title="45
| eggs">45</abbr> aujourd'hui.

| Combien d'œufs ai-je vendre? J'ai vendu <abbr title="30+15">
| 45</abbr> aujourd'hui.

| Combien d'œufs ai-je vendre? J'ai vendu <abbr
| title="sales:a464Z37;q45dt2007122007">45</abbr>
| aujourd'hui.

"16:03" could be re-expressed as "3 minutes past 4pm". It's not obvious 
that "16:03" is an /abbreviation/ of "3 minutes past 4pm". For one 
thing, the 12-hour clock is not an expansion of the 24-hour clock: they 
are equivalents. For another thing, I'd say it's more of a common 
symbolic representation. "4" wouldn't normally be called an abbreviation 
of "four": it's just a symbol. (Some symbols are also arguably 
abbreviations, at least in origin, like cm, but this wouldn't generally 
be said of 4.)

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list