[uf-discuss] Human and machine readable data format

Bob Jonkman bjonkman at sobac.com
Sat Jul 5 12:07:30 PDT 2008

On 3 Jul 2008 at 10:03, Scott Reynen wrote:

> On [Jul 2], at [ Jul 2] 4:37 , Bob Jonkman wrote:
> > In an appointment, the date IS the content.
> *A* date is, but not the ISO date.  I think that's a subtle but 
> important distinction we've overlooked too often.  You never see ISO 
> dates presented to (nor entered by) people in applications that work 
> with iCalendar.  They're only used to *produce* content.  I think HTML
>  entities are probably the closest analogy.  The entities themselves 
> are not the content; they're merely used to produce the content in 
> various contexts (i.e. character sets).  We don't display entities; we
>  only display the content they're used (by machines) to produce.  If
> we  recognize that ISO dates are the same type of information
> ("metadata"  or whatever you want to call it), then not displaying
> them isn't a  compromise; it's just the obvious way to treat that type
> of  information, the same way it's treated everywhere else.

In that case it should be acceptable avoid the use of <abbr> 
altogether, so that neither sighted nor hearing people have to put 
up with seeing or hearing the metadata. 

  <span class="dtstart" title="2008-07-06">

The title text still shows a popup in my browser (FF3), but I don't 
believe screen readers speak it.  It also doesn't distract sighted 
users since a <span> element is by default undecorated, while <abbr> 
shows with a dotted underline in FF3.  However, styling is dependent 
on the browser implemention and can always be specified with CSS 

I believe that an ISO date is a valid expansion of prosaic dates, so 
that <span> is less semantic than using 

  <abbr class="dtstart" title="2008-07-06">

but that debate appears to have no resolution and I'm willing to 
cede just to move along.

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Bob Jonkman <bjonkman at sobac.com>         http://sobac.com/sobac/
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