[uf-discuss] Formatting arbitrary dates, not part of hCalendar

Ara Pehlivanian ara.pehlivanian at gmail.com
Fri Mar 9 07:10:35 PST 2007

On 3/8/07, Bob Jonkman <bjonkman at sobac.com> wrote:
> These are arbitrary dates, NOT related to the publishing date of the document it appears in,
> not related to any resources such as a software release.  I simply want dates occuring within
> prose to be recognized as machine-readable dates.  This is for both for screen readers and
> disabiguation of dates such as 3/2/2006 or 02-03-06.  It's also useful when quoting text with
> poorly formatted dates, without altering the presentation of the original quote, eg.
>   The Constitution of <abbr title="1776-07-04">4/7/76</abbr>
> Andy Mabbett suggested a class of "dtstamp" which comes closer to what I intend, but the
> iCalendar property DTSTAMP is specifically meant to indicate when an iCalendar object was
> created, which is not the case here.
> Following the design pattern for dates, I think we need a semantic classname such as
> "datetime" which James Craig pointed out is an attribute for <ins> and <del>
>   <abbr class="datetime" title="2006-03-02">March 2, 2006</abbr>
> Does such a classname for an arbitrary date/time already exist?

I've always had trouble with the idea of using <abbr> to mark up dates
because semantically, it isn't expressing an abbreviation of any sort.
It's simply a different form of the same date. I also have a hard time
with the idea of using <ins> and <del> because their semantic meaning
is to express content that's been changed[1].

I really think that what's needed, in line with what you're asking, is
a class name that's canonized as a microformat along these lines:

<span class="datetime iso" title="2006-07-02">July 2, 2006</span>

In this case, the title serves to provide the accurate datetime data
while the content within the tags can be tailored to the author's
preference and country/language while still being machine readable.

1- http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/text.html#h-9.4

Ara Pehlivanian

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