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Re: HTML has, probably, confusing date format

From: Liorean <Liorean@user.bip.net>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2002 16:24:53 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: cyril2@mail.ru, www-html@w3.org

At 08:53 2002-11-29 +0300, Cyril wrote:
>Liorean wrote:
> > At 00:41 2002-11-26 +0300, Cyril wrote:
>What is this, the "00:41 2002-11-26 +0300", Liorean?

That is the date system chosen for use by Eudora to represent a date parsed 
from the mail you sent. It's got nothing to do with the standard, but with 
a single proprietary system. It is derived from the MIME header called 
Date, which follows another form than the IS. That form is then reparsed 
from "Thu, 28 Nov 2002 15:11:05 +0100".

The format of the MIME Date header has a few problem that the IS addresses:
* Nonlogical ordering - datetime variable order doesn't follow either a 
descending or ascending time span order.
* Proprietary, language dependent day and month names - "Thu" and "Nov" 
wouldn't be called that in a lot of languages.

>But it isn't a traditional, human date and it isn't the new, next 
>standard, date (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssTZD).

It's a quite traditional date format. And, it solves one of the problems 
with MIME dates - it's not language dependent.

And, your comment about "new, next standard" - the IS has fourteen years 
behind it, and the European(Swedish and British that I know of, possibly a 
few more) and *US* date standards that match it goes back even further.

>I can't remember how many those thoroughly researched standards fordates 
>existed in my life. Where they are now? And how I have tired! Please, 
>leave me the option, the freedom, at least, to choose on my own which date 
>format to use.

The date format is made to be easily parseable by computers - and it's easy 
enough to be human readable too. It's a locked format that  allows no 
variable data formatting, thus making it easier to represent a datetime in 
a way that everyone can read.

There are de facto date standards, standards that specify either date or 
time, etc. depending on your location. If this format is the one of 
preference, your computer system will likely chose it to describe a time. 
It will use the IS if it wants to communicate the datetime to other 
systems, though - unless it uses a proprietary system for representing 
datetime, which then other systems can't understand.

If you want a date displayed locally in one way or the other, let the 
computer do that. Use the IS to represent a date that other systems that 
your own will read, and let them display the date in their way. You never 
have to see the IS date, if you chose not to, but you need it to make dates 
that work cross system, time and language.

(Also note that only ins and del elements use datetime attributes. The HTTP 
standard uses it too, and thus the meta elements that use datetime through 
http-equiv require it, but that's not regulated by the HTML standard.)

// Liorean 
Received on Friday, 29 November 2002 10:24:38 UTC

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