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Re: revert request for http://html5.org/r/6783 dropping of time element, adding of data element

From: E.J. Zufelt <everett@zufelt.ca>
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2011 05:57:59 -0400
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <C4F7CED6-09B2-4732-A8C8-2B4F501724DF@zufelt.ca>
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Good morning,

Thanks Steve for posting this revert request. I am in full agreement.

We have been working in the Drupal community to implement the <time> element in our Core thming system. Speaking only for myself I would like to see it reinstated.

My chief objection is that there is now no reliable method for external applications, like assistive technology to recognize and present datetime data to users in their preferred format. Second to this is the lack of the ability to associate the publication date of an article with the article contents.

Thanks again,
Everett Zufelt


On 2011-10-30, at 3:59 PM, Steve Faulkner wrote:

> the editor of the HTML5 specification has made a change to the specification that is not supported for good reasons (see below, source: http://willyou.typewith.me/p/9Zl7I2dOKs)
> 
> I therefore request a revert of this change http://html5.org/r/6783, so that it can be further discussed and decided within the consensus based HTML WG process.
> 
> 
> 
> [1] The time element, while being limited to a very specific use case, is simple. Uptake so far has been good, as far as I can tell. There are many blogs outside who already use this, and the Boston Globe has them, too: http://bostonglobe.com/ Also, there is adoption by the microformats community: http://microformats.org/wiki/html5#time_element
> 
> The default WordPress theme, 2011, uses <time> and pubdate on blog <article>s http://twentyelevendemo.wordpress.com/ 
> 
> [2] The data element is just a container like div or span. The only difference is the value attribute which could be made valid for (nearly) every element, thus eliminating the need for data completely.
> 
> [3] It makes no sense to remove the pubdate attribute which was a fast and convenient way to specify the publish date of an article. Now this specification is much more complicated, you’d need either a complete hAtom microformat or some kind of rather complex microdata. I think those two won’t get any faster adoption than time, risking that the date of an information might get lost in non-semantic code.
> 
> [4] <time> (or its precursor, <date>) has an obvious semantic (easy to learn, easy to read). Because it's  restricted to dates and times, the datetime attribute has a specific syntax that can be checked by a validator. <data value=""> has no such built-in syntax, as it's for arbitrary data, so can't be machine validated, leading to more erroneous dates being published. Therefore, the reliability and thus the utility of the information being communicated in machine-readable format diminishes.
> 
> 
> [5] The spec for <data> says "A script loaded by the page (and thus privy to the page's internal convention of marking up dates and times using the data element) could scan through the page and look at all the data elements therein to create an index of dates and times." (http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/text-level-semantics.html#the-data-element) 
> 
> This is a retrograde step from the <time> element that uses a wider standard/ convention for dates, such as ISO 8601 because now the script must be "privy to the page's internal convention".
> 
> 6] <data> as an element is public data. data-* attributes are private (only for scripts on a page, not external crawlers: "These attributes are not intended for use by software that is independent of the site that uses the attributes." http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/elements.html#embedding-custom-non-visible-data-with-the-data-*-attributes). This is highly confusing.
> 
> [7] The spec has an example of a sortable table. What does <data value=""> bring that <span data-value=""> doesn't?
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> with regards
> 
> Steve Faulkner
> Technical Director - TPG
> 
> www.paciellogroup.com | www.HTML5accessibility.com | www.twitter.com/stevefaulkner
> HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives - dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/
> Web Accessibility Toolbar - www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html 
> 
Received on Monday, 31 October 2011 09:58:40 UTC

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