Somehow… <time> Disappeared
As you might have heard the
<time>-element was removed from the HTML5 specification last saturday by Ian “Hixie” Hickson, the editor of the spec. Hixie decided to remove
<time> and replace it by the more general
A question that came up: Why got
<time> removed and why did nobody stop Hixie?
Well: There was a discussion on the bug-tracker about replacing
<data>. But nothing about it on the mailing-list and stuff… and Hixie decided to drop
<time> and replace it by the power he has as the editor.
<time> was removed from the specification but also its attributes
pubdate was the only way to indicate when a blog post or web-page was published.
As I'm not into the processes at W3C and WHATWG I decided to dig a little bit into it and keep track of what was going on about that issue with
I collected some useful information and posted the links on Google+. Also we talked about this issue on the (german) podcast Working Draft on monday. I was invited by Christian "Schepp" Schäfer to discuss about some stuff with himself and Marc.
Steve Faulkner was the first one (for what I noticed) that tweeted about that intensively and was really upset by the dropping. Furthermore it was his tweet that encouraged me to keep track of the whole story.
There were some pretty good blog posts about that topic, as for instance
- Bruce Lawson- Goodbye HTML5 <time>, hello <data>!
- Jeremy Keith - Timeless
- Oli Studholme - Goodbye time, datetime, and pubdate. Hello date and value.
- Eric Eggers - Etherpad with a collection of reasons to keep <time>
- The <time>-element also got its own page: whynotime.com by @jack_l_smith
As it turns out
<time> is wildly in use all over the web:
- the WordPress twentyeleven-theme uses it
- The Boston Globe makes use of it
- I'm using it on this page
- And many others too…
As so many people where effected by the change that was made to the spec and many people though it was a bad decision there was hope that this story was not over yet… And it wasn't.
Again Steve Faulkner tweeted:
"I feel confident that
<time>will be back in the W3C HTML5 specification by the end of the week"
~ Steve Faulkner, 31. Oct 2011 via Twitter
This was a decent statement as you can say by today.
There were proposals on how to deal with
<time> and how to improve it for the future and get it back into the spec. A leading role in this process is held by Tantek Çelik. Read his comment on Bruce Lawson's post. Also Stephanie Sullivan Rewis has some interesting thoughts.
And then - the Turningpoint
Currently the TPAC 2011 is happening which is a conference and meeting of the W3C and its members.
At (Please notice my use of
<time> in this case. Nice, right… right?) people of the W3C HTML Working Group met and discussed about
<time> and its removal. You could have followed the discussion on IRC on W3C's channel #html-wg. Here you can find the "minutes" (a transcription) of it. Tantek added this as a point for discussion to the Agenda.
As this all was said, there was a mail on the mailing-list by the Chairs of the HTML WG asking the editor of the spec (Hixie)
"for a revert of this change to be completed no later than the end of day on Tuesday 8th of November". If Hixie will not change this until Tuesday the Chairs will ask the W3C staff
"to make this change". What ever this means then… I have no idea.
Today Tantek began to define some new requirements for the
<time>-element and its attribute
datetime (especially the syntax of the mentioned attribute).
So what's the conclusion now?
All the things I mentioned above show how strong the community is and how many people try to get the best out of the tools we have.
Hixie's decision to remove the
<time>-element in favor of the
<data>-element was not found democratically by everyone contributing to the HTML5 spec but was a bossy behavior.
Personally I learnd a lot about the process within the W3C, the WHATWG, how the specification is build, and so on asf… This was pretty good and I feel good about how things work.
I hope there are more people who like keep a little bit more track of what is going on with all the new stuff and be part of decisions that are made.
Thank you for reading all the words I wrote.