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

Ara Pehlivanian ara.pehlivanian at gmail.com
Fri Mar 9 08:35:24 PST 2007

On 3/9/07, Scott Reynen <scott at randomchaos.com> wrote:
> On Mar 9, 2007, at 9:10 AM, Ara Pehlivanian wrote:
> I think the confusion here is that we're actually using
> "abbreviation" more semantically than literally.  That is, it's not
> the character count that's abbreviated; it's the meaning.

All of the definitions[1] for abbreviation state that it's a
shortening of the original. What you're saying is that "shortening" in
this application is making it more human friendly. I think that's
stretching the intended definition a bit. Considering that the
abbreviated form is in fact /translated/ and not /shortened/, from one
notation to another (alphanumeric, more chars, human readable -->
numeric, potentially less chars, machine readable).

However, since we find ourselves in a situation where no <date> tag
exists to explicitly wrap date content, we need to find a best fit and
if it means stretching the meaning of a tag, so be it. It's the one
that comes closest to what we need.

> > 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>
> I see a couple problems with this markup.  The content "July 2, 2006"
> is not properly classified as "iso" here, as that's not an ISO date.

Good point. The class applies to the contents of the span, not the
title. My bad.

> the title attribute in <span>s has less specific meaning than the
> title attribute in <abbr>s.  In <span>, like most elements, "This
> attribute offers advisory information about the element for which it
> is set." [1].  But in <abbr>, "The title attribute of these elements
> may be used to provide the full or expanded form of the
> expression." [2]  So to use <span> to provide the full form, we need
> to add to HTML's existing semantics, whereas <abbr> already contains
> those semantics, as long as we think of it as abbreviated information
> rather than abbreviated character count.

The added semantics of the <abbr> tag's title attribute does
definitely lend itself better to our purpose.

> This is all relevant to existing specific-purpose date-time
> properties, but I think Paul was right to point out that we don't yet
> have a compelling use case for generic date information, so it's too
> early to be discussing markup for that.  What exactly would we want
> to do with a generic date apart from any specific context?

Well, blog posts and articles online come to mind. They're normally
dated, yet there's no convention that states that "this is how you
should date an article". Especially when you have  a list of articles
and all of them have dates (RSS's pubDate would be a real world
example of this sort of thing). Maybe what we need are specific
microformats for specific uses (like the article list example) but all
using the same convention.


Ara Pehlivanian

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