[XML-SIG] Re: RSS and stuff

Dan Libby danda@netscape.com
Fri, 04 Jun 1999 14:32:23 -0700

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> We've been parsing dates for date search in our engine, and the
> Unix timestamp has real problems. No time zone, for example.

It is understood to be in UNC.  If you need to convert, you do so with
localtime() or equivalent.

> Lots of content has a meaningful precision other than one second.
> Press Releases are on a certain day. Books are published in a
> particular month. Forcing meaningless precision on those things
> is a mistake.

In general, I prefer "too much" precision to too little.  For example, if
we need to display
a timestamp for when this article was created in a consistent notation,
we may include all the way down to the minute. If they have given us
something like "June 1999", it places the onus on we, the receiver to
round to the nearest day, hour, minute, second.  The timestamp method
places it on the sender, who should know more accurately.

> Finally, the seconds thing totally falls apart if you need to express
> dates outside it's tiny range: photograph taken in 1893, an HP atomic
> clock app note written in 1964, etc.

True.... but not many web pages were created before 1970, and this format
is supposed to be describing web pages. (Site Summary)

What do you think about this for a compromise, two different tags:
<date>ISO 6501</date>
<timestamp>seconds since 1970, UNC</timestamp>

Or alternatively:
<date format="timestamp">...</date>
<date format="IS0-6501">...</date>

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