[uf-discuss] human readable date parsing

Al Gilman Alfred.S.Gilman at ieee.org
Thu May 3 18:18:11 PDT 2007

At 12:24 AM +0100 4 05 2007, Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
>Tantek Çelik wrote:
>>2. Keep both copies of the data at least somewhat visible to humans so that
>>at least *some* human eyes/ears can easily inspect both copies and ensure
>>that they have not diverged.
>For the sake of argument, though: assuming that those human 
>eyes/ears use a microformat-consuming tool/extension/etc, this can 
>still happen. If I have a page with, say, contact details marked as 
>a hcard, and human users export it to Outlook,  they'll be able to 
>see (and ensure) whether or not the generated vcard details in the 
>"add to address book" dialog match the page's visible details or not.
>After all, isn't that what microformats are there for? Being 
>consumed by "machines" that can make something useful with them?


They are there so that people and machines can share info.

If the machineable info is not routinely passing through the
consciousness of the communicating principals (that is, people), then
it must be expected that the machine and the person will frequently
have different values for the same datum. Not a good thing.

The old saw is, "out of sight, out of mind."  In this case it is "use
it or lose it (it's validity)" for data.

Microformats are to eliminate the mumbo-jumbo quality of the data
the machines deal with; rather to give them the same many-eyeballs
'bazaar' checking support as the virally-maintained meanings of plain
English (Chinese, Arabic or what have you...).

That's a little overstated, but the devil is in the details.

If in some community of communication, the data is routinely
extracted into view often enough so that bad data tend to get weeded
out, then the storage or transmission form doesn't have to be
directly comprehensible by people. But one of the virtues of markup
languages is just how much of the info is directly under the quality
control of people; expressed in as little-encoded form as can be
gotten away with.


>Patrick H. Lauke
>re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
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>Co-lead, Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
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