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Time element accepted

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Summary: Research, data, use cases, issues, and enhancements related to the HTML5 time element (see also W3C TR time snapshot) that have been adopted in HTML (and HTML5).

HTML5's new <time> element presents a huge opportunity to improve the publishing of datetime information on the web, the biggest opportunity since the introduction of hCalendar and other time-based microformats.

The time element has been improved through the research done on this page.

For other proposals for improving the <time> element, see:

Tantek (and other proposal authors).


year only

Status
2011-11-18 Adopted in WHATWG HTML.
Summary
The time element should accept just a year.
ISO8601 syntax
YYYY

year only use cases

use case research:

  • http://microformats.org/wiki/birthday-examples#year_only
  • use cases in VCARDDAV & EDTF - see external links
  • Wikipedia 'Start date' template - thousands of YYYY instances
  • Wikipedia infobox with YYYY birthdate (unknown MM-DD)
  • Copyright notices are often year-only; e.g. that at the foot of [1]
  • In biological taxonomy, a species', genus' or other rank's authority (the person who named it, and the year they did so) always includes a whole-year date value. For example:
    • Barn Owl, Tyto alba (Scopoli, 1769) [2]
    • Strigiformes (Wagler, 1830) [3]
  • Photo date taken
  • Citations from a bibliography which list two or more works by the same author disambiguate them by year
  • Commerce
    • "a piece of jewellery hallmarked 1933"
    • "a 1973 Chevy"
  • Sport
    • 2008 Olympics
    • 1966 World Cup
  • Awards
    • "1973 Oscar for best film"
    • "1988 Nobel Peace Prize"
  • Restyling dates for localisation and to follow user conventions
    • 2010 to 平22年 to 2010年 (all acceptable ways to represent 2010 in Japan)
  • Relative dates in texts: news websites and blogs often use phrases such as
    • "damages during last year's Gaza offensive" [4],
    • "recession next year almost inevitable" [5]

year only discussion

Opinions / discussion:

  • +1 Faruk (per Bug 7145 - Valid date strings should accept ambiguous inputs, like "2009" or "2007-01") One example is the very common archive view found on most blogs, which contain distinct links or headers for each year, each month per year, and often each date within a chosen or highlighted month. Currently, the <time> element only allows for datetime values as precise as a specific day, e.g. YYYY-MM-DD.
  • -1 Hixie - "Without clear use cases, I don't intend to change the spec here." (ibid)
  • +1 Tantek (per HTML5 Super Friends Technical Details: time element)
  • +1 Andy Mabbett (Per use cases in VCARDDAV & EDTF - see external links)
  • +1 Philip Jägenstedt - for marking up release dates on e.g. MusicBrainz where the date is given as YYYY, YYYY-MM or YYYY-MM-DD.
  • +1 Asbjørn Ulsberg - for marking up years on Wikipedia ("...global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945...").
  • +1 Glenn Jones - This is often used to format date description for resume's Stackoverflow http://careers.stackoverflow.com/klmr I could list more cases in the wild. Like YYYY, YYYY-MM or YYYY-MM-DD its part of the http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime profile.
  • +1 Oli Studholme This would be useful for semantically marking up years, as in Japan there’s an additional era-based method of representing years (and even Japanese people find it difficult to convert between them), and it would allow the browser to automatically display the user-preferred format. It would also also enable browser-based localisation (adding a 年 after the year). Finally it would be useful for marking up future imprecise dates (e.g. events being planned), allowing someone to add these dates to a calendar automatically (rather than marking up teh events plus manually adding them to a calendar). ref: email to WHATWG
  • +1 Martin Janecke - This would be great to mark up relative dates ("next year I will …") that actually refer to an absolute date in the context of the text and the publication date of the text respectively.
  • +1 drublic - As input-fields support `year` the datetime-attribute as it is (was until ) should also allow users to define year-only dates. Furthermore it will help making newspapers, wikis and quotations more accessible and semantically powerful.
  • ...

year only related posts

Related posts (listed with quotes directly related to year only) :

  • 2009-02-23 Dates and coordinates in HTML5 blog post by Andy Mabbett -
    hCalendar microformats are already used to mark up imprecise dates (“June 1977″; “2009″). ISO8601 already supports them. Why not HTML5?
  • 2009-02-25 HTML 5, politics and me blog post by Bruce Lawson - look for mention of "time element" which mentions:
    I see no reason why authors shouldn’t be able to mark up ... dates like ... “1935″ which are currently disallowed by the spec

year only next steps

Per this edit/comment from Ian: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-diffs/2010Aug/0234.html

We need to help create a CSS feature for styling dates to local conventions (e.g. 2000-12-31 vs 31-12-2000 vs 12-31-2000 vs Japanese conventions for year and year-month). Once such a CSS feature exists, it will apparently provide additional weight for including year-only dates in the time element.


year month only

Status
2011-11-18 Adopted in WHATWG HTML.
Summary
The time element should accept just a year and a month.
ISO8601 syntax
YYYY-MM

year month use cases

  • Blog/publishing archive pages - see Benward.me, ablognotlimited.com (need specific links to archive pages)
  • output equivalent of <input type="month">, see impedance match new date time inputs.
  • use cases in VCARDDAV & EDTF - see external links
  • Wikipedia 'Start date' template - thousands of YYYY-MM instances
  • Photo date taken
  • Credit/ debit card expiry dates, entered into, then republished for verification on, e-commerce sites (security concerns prohibit use of example URL)
  • Restyling dates for localisation and to follow user conventions
    • 2010-08 to 08-2010 to 平22年8月 to 2010年8月 (all acceptable ways to represent August 2010 in Japan)
  • Relative dates in text: news websites, blogs and statistical institutes often use phrases like:
    • "in June 2010, the turnover […] decreased by 10.5% compared to the same month of the previous year." [6]
    • "George W. Bush leaves office in January next year" [7]

year month discussion

Opinions / discussion:

  • +1 Faruk (per Bug 7145 - Valid date strings should accept ambiguous inputs, like "2009" or "2007-01") One example is the very common archive view found on most blogs, which contain distinct links or headers for each year, each month per year, and often each date within a chosen or highlighted month. Currently, the <time> element only allows for datetime values as precise as a specific day, e.g. YYYY-MM-DD.
  • -1 Hixie - "Without clear use cases, I don't intend to change the spec here." (ibid)
  • +1 Tantek I think the blog archives use case (where blogs often link to their archives by a specific month and year) is sufficient to justify adding this capability to the time element. Content hosting sites like Flickr also list archives by specific year/month, e.g. see http://www.flickr.com/photos/tantek/archives/
  • +1 Andy Mabbett (Per use cases in VCARDDAV & EDTF - see external links)
  • +1 Philip Jägenstedt - for marking up release dates on e.g. MusicBrainz where the date is given as YYYY, YYYY-MM or YYYY-MM-DD.
  • +1 Asbjørn Ulsberg - for marking up month+year on Wikipedia ("In July 1937, Japan captured the former Chinese imperial capital of Beiping...").
  • +1 Glenn Jones - This is the most commonly used format date description for Resume's. Linked-in use it http://www.linkedin.com/in/steveganz and Stackoverflow http://careers.stackoverflow.com/klmr I could list many more cases in the wild.
  • +1 Oli Studholme As with the year example above, this would be useful for semantically marking up year-month dates, as in Japan there’s an additional era-based method of representing years (and even Japanese people find it difficult to convert between them), and it would allow the browser to automatically display the user-preferred format. It would also also enable browser-based localisation (adding a 年 after the year, and 月 after the month). Having this data semantically notated would help make the use in Japan of 2-digit years on credit cards and in e-commerce more accessible. Finally it would be useful for marking up future imprecise dates (e.g. events being planned), allowing someone to add these dates to a calendar automatically (rather than marking up teh events plus manually adding them to a calendar). [ref: email to WHATWG]
  • +1 Martin Janecke - This would be great to mark up relative dates ("next January I will …") that actually refer to an absolute date in the context of the text and the publication date of the text respectively.
  • ...

year month related posts

Related posts (listed with quotes directly related to year-month) :

  • 2009-02-23 Dates and coordinates in HTML5 blog post by Andy Mabbett -
    hCalendar microformats are already used to mark up imprecise dates (“June 1977″; “2009″). ISO8601 already supports them. Why not HTML5?
  • 2009-02-25 HTML 5, politics and me blog post by Bruce Lawson - look for mention of "time element" which mentions:
    I see no reason why authors shouldn’t be able to mark up ... dates like “July 2008″ ... which are currently disallowed by the spec
  • 2009-03-06 Marking up a blog with HTML 5 (part 2) : Time blog post by Bruce Lawson:
    I suggest the spec be amended to allow dates like "July 1966"
  • 2009-08-20 HTML 5: what’s hot, what’s not blog post by Bruce Lawson - see section on TIME which explicitly mentions:
    The time element is still hamstrung by not being able to markup ... dates like “December 1935″
  • 2009-08-30 HTML5 and me blog post by Jeremy Keith - see section on "time" which explicitly mentions
    make a piece of information like “April 1912” machine-readable
  • 2010-02-09 The time element (and microformats) blog post on HTML5 Doctor by Bruce Lawson - mentions:
    The only trouble with <time> is that the [sic] it must contain positive date on the Proleptic Gregorian calendar, meaning you can’t encode a date before the Christian Era. Neither can you encode imprecise dates such as “July 1904″.

year month next steps

Per this edit/comment from Ian: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-diffs/2010Aug/0234.html

We need to help create a CSS feature for styling dates to local conventions (e.g. 2000-12-31 vs 31-12-2000 vs 12-31-2000 vs Japanese conventions for year and year-month). Once such a CSS feature exists, it will apparently provide additional weight for including year-month dates in the time element.

year week only

Status
2011-11-18 Adopted in WHATWG HTML.
Summary
The time element should accept just a year and a week number.
ISO8601 syntax
YYYY-WNN
reasoning
to provide the output equivalent of <input type="week">

year week only use cases

  • output equivalent of <input type="week">, see impedance match new date time inputs above.
  • OpenStreetMap's opening_hours tag allows specification of opening hours (of business, shops, parks etc.) by week number. See example, documentation
  • ... Please add any more sites which publish references to specific weeks of a year, either by name / expression (e.g. "first week of the year") or by specific number (e.g. "weeks 1-26"), please provide URLs and quotes of example content.

year week only discussion

Opinions / discussion:

  • +1 Tantek per good design of impedance matching date time inputs.
  • ...

month day only

Status
2011-11-18 Adopted in WHATWG HTML.
Summary
The time element should accept just a month and a day.
ISO8601 syntax
--MM-DD
use case research
http://microformats.org/wiki/birthday-examples#month_and_day_only
use cases discussed in VCARDDAV & EDTF - see external links
Facebook - allows users to elect to show their birthday as, for example, "17 December", with no year.

Opinions / discussion:

HTML5 internal consistency

impedance match new date time inputs

Status
2011-11-18 Adopted in WHATWG HTML.
Summary
More reasoning for broader date time granularity - to impedance match new date time inputs.

The time element should be able to represent every granularity of times and dates that the new date time <input> elements allow. Here is a list of all the date time <input> elements along with the corresponding <time> element usage (if applicable)

<input type="date">           - <time>YYYY-MM-DD</time>
<input type="datetime">       - <time>YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS</time>
<input type="month">          - <time>YYYY-MM</time> (as of 2011-11-18)
<input type="week">           - <time>YYYY-Www</time> (as of 2011-11-18)
<input type="time">           - <time>HH:MM:SS</time>
<input type="datetime-local"> - <time>HH:MM:SS-ZZ:YY</time>

In particular the <time> should have support for the following date inputs:

Opinions / discussion:

See Also