[uf-discuss] Human and machine readable data format

Bob Jonkman bjonkman at sobac.com
Mon Jul 14 20:39:57 PDT 2008

On 14 Jul 2008 at 22:39, Breton Slivka wrote:

> There is another solution that I have been trying to advocate, which
> is not metadata, and it's not natural language parsing. It is quite
> simply, to define a strict date format that IS human readable, 

But there already IS a strict date format, and is IS human readable 
without any language barriers.  It's the ISO8601 date format, YYYY-
MM-DD.  Same for the time format, hh:mm:ss  

No, it's not the prettiest format, but it exists now and is 
universally accessible.  A conversation on IRC some days ago 
suggested that just the date or time by itself pose no access 
barrier to speech readers (which is why the idea of splitting date 
from time is so attrative).

> which can optionally be used in place of ISO 8601 in the title
> attribute of an ABBR tag. 

And that's the OTHER problem people are objecting to, the (alleged) 
mis-use of the <abbr> tag.

> Unless a screen reader supports iso8601 in a title
> attribute specifically, 

...and I believe that Jaws does, as long as the date is separated 
with dashes, eg. 2008-07-14  and the time is separated with colons, 
eg. 22:30:00

So, it's for these reasons that I am not in favour of any prosaic 
date formats.  Besides, the microformats community doesn't exist to 
create date format standards -- it adopts existing standards to make 
existing content more accessible (both for people and programs).


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