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Re: Dates & Times (was Re: Future of HTML)

From: Carl Beeth <carl@beeth.com>
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 20:56:01 -0700
Message-Id: <v03007801b155e7ed41f6@[]>
To: www-html@w3.org
Rob wrote:
>If we're going to discuss a way to notate dates and times to make them
>more machine-friendly (mainly web robots,proxies,  intelligent agents,
>and browsers) then we have to think/discuss what machines will do with
>those dates.

Actually there are some interesting things that could be done if dates were
machine readable

Imagine yourself reading a web page about the next W3C conference. Among
the information there will be dates, times, locations. Well, what do you do
with this information. If you are interested, you might mark the dates and
location in your calender.
What if we had a system where the different elements where marked in a
standard way so software agents could exploit them. For example: having the
dates marked in your calender with just a click.

Those of you who have used Apple's Data Detectors with Contextual Menus or
similar will instantly understand the beauty of this. For those not
familiar, ADD is an extension to the MAC OS that recognizes different
datatype in any selected text string irrespective of what application you
currently are running. This allows contextual menus to do a lot of
interesting stuff with that data: like opening or bookmarking a URL in your
browser or send an e-mail with your e-mail client.

So here is what I suggest (Code is just for example and will have to be
done by someone that actually knows what he is doing):
You write the document in any way you wish but then surround the date with
a container where we specify what it contains and repeat it there in
machine readable form.

...Our annual party will be on<SPAN DATA="schedule" DATE="05-06-97"
DESCRIPTION="Acme inc's annual party">the 5th of june</SPAN>"...

There would probably need to be a lot other attributes just for Schedules like:
GMT="+1" (time zone)
DURATION="2:20" (could be days)
FREQUENCY="Daily" (could also be "once"[default] "weekly" "monthly"
"yearly" ...)

Of course, similar things could be imagined for a postal addresses and
probably many other data types

In some ways this could be achieved with class="schedule" but for the
objective to be reached we need a standard and that means writing it in to
the specifications.

Some schedule examples that could be lifted of the net or the corporate
From PTA to Stockholders meetings, Trade shows and conferences, movie
releases and rock concerts, all kinds of sporting events, election and tax
deadlines, Astronomical events, Radio/TV/WebCast Programs, etc.

Carl Beeth

101 South San Antonio road
Petaluma 94952 CA.
Received on Saturday, 11 April 1998 23:52:19 UTC

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