Friday, November 04, 2011

Time comes and goes and sometimes even comes back! The interesting ticking of the HTML5 Time element

DZone - HTML5 Microzone - HTML5 < time > element: returned!

"Well, after much hubbub, including some here at DZone, the HTML5 <time> element has returned.

Paul Cotton, on behalf of the chairs of the working group, issued a revert request -- and his explanation is interesting:

The Chairs have received multiple requests to revert change r6783.

This change is related to bug 13240 [1] which was never sent to the HTML WG since it used a possibly incorrect Bugzilla component. Since WG members were NOT notified of the creation of this bug the Chairs have decided that this change should be subject to the Enhanced Change Control rules in the WG Decision Policy [2]:

"Therefore during a pre-LC review, or during a Last Call, feature additions or removals should only be done with sufficient prior notice to the group, in the form of a bug, a WG decision, or an on-list discussion. This applies only to LC-track drafts and does not apply to drafts that may include material for future versions of HTML."

We therefore ask for a revert of this change to be completed no later than the end of day on Tuesday 8th of November. If this revert is not complete by that time, we will instruct W3C staff to make this change.

In addition the Chairs plan to change the component of bug 13240 so that it is considered to be a Last Call bug on the HTML5 specification. The Chairs also plan to add the TrackerRequest keyword to the bug so that it immediately becomes a Last Call WG issue(s). Therefore we direct the HTML5 Editor to NOT process this bug further until the WG reaches a decision on the WG issue(s). We note as well that this topic was on the agenda of today's WG F2F meeting [3].


In other words: people don't like it, and we never really meant to approve, and we're not really sure how it got through in the first place.


After the decision, a proposal to modify the reverted <time> element was posted on the W3C wiki. This might map the near future of <time>, so it's worth checking out for that reason alone -- though also, again, to help understand how HTML5-spec decisions are made. But however it happened, <time> is back.

So: did the W3C WG actually bow to popular outcry? or was there really just a bug in their bug-review system? ..."

Like the making of sausages, hot dogs and laws, the making of standards can be an "interesting" process. The last couple days for the <time> element is a case in point. And this also highlights that with all the talk about HTML5 support, the standard is many cases is still in flux and a moving target. That doesn't mean we can ignore it, far from that, but you do need to be flexible and ready for change.

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