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Re: Regarding HTML5 <time>

From: Philip Gladstone <pgladstone@cisco.com>
Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2011 20:43:53 -0500
Message-ID: <4EB88959.1060505@cisco.com>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org
See inline

On 11/7/2011 7:01 PM, Arthur Clifford wrote:
> If HTML was just about marking up content to tell a browser how to display something then time as a tag may be irrelevant to that. The original content would likely be built in XML or obtained from a DB and transformed into some meaningful output; thus the unix timestamp in a mysql database could become a pretty formatted date or time for human consumption. But, it would lose all semantic meaning it would just be text in a document. All server-side languages worth working with have support for converting date formats so that would be a trivial operation to perform server-side. The consequence of saying that HTML is just for marking up content for display though is it runs competly counter to the industry expectation that content and its face should be separated and CSS not HTML should dictate presentation. However, the still extant<b>  and<i>  tags, along with table tags and other layout/formatting tags suggest that html hasn't shaken its roots as a rich text markup language. Not long ago someone ranted here about people getting ridiculously CSS happy and bloating a page with syntax. While it  is true that not everybody will do that, it is an industry trend to think it is wrong to treat html like a rich text markup language as it once was. So the ranting gentleman's views are completely warranted from the classic expectations of html.
The situation that I deal with is in the representation of lengths, 
speed, temperature etc. Who responsibility is it to get these displayed 
in the correct units (for some definition of the word "correct"). Having 
the web server generate the values according the first accept-language 
seems a broken approach. For example, for language 'en', should 
Fahrenheit or Centigrade be used? For lengths in the UK, I would expect 
younger people to be more familiar with metric units and older people 
with imperial units. I don't think we want the web server to know about 
the age of the user in order to generate the correct content.

This all argues for being able to tag data in such a way that it can be 
rendered appropriately by the browser (which presumably has more 
information about the user). I admit that there will be challenges in 
deciding which units to use for length. Is 0.001 meters to be shown as 
0.1 cm, 1mm or even 0.001 meters? For metric speeds, sometimes m/s is 
the right unit, sometimes km/h.

I suspect that this will all be solved by some (pseudo-standard) JS 
library that gets access (somehow) to units preferences for various 
values. Maybe the only thing that needs to be standardized is that 
preferences API.


Philip Gladstone
Phone: +1 978-ZEN-TOAD (+1 978 936 8623)

Received on Tuesday, 8 November 2011 01:44:23 UTC

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