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DATETIME  January 2010

DATETIME January 2010

Subject:

Re: syntax of date ranges

From:

"Edward C. Zimmermann" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion of the Developing Date/Time Standards <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 26 Jan 2010 19:54:54 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (67 lines)

On Tue, 26 Jan 2010 08:15:31 -0800, Per Bothner wrote
> I notice the proposal uses '/' for a date range,
> and '-' as a date component separator.  Unfortunately,
> I think this is the reverse of what most "humans"
> (at least in the US) expect.  I.e. traditionally when

That's precisely the point. Most humans don't live in the US or are US
ex-pats. The standard date syntax used in the U.S. clashes with the syntax
found in many other countries and is thus quite ambiguous. 9/11 might have
come to mean 11 Sept, the date when the WTC was attacked but its in
Europe 9 Nov, the date of the Kristallnacht (9 Nov 1938) or the "fall"
of the Berlin Wall (9 Nov 1989) or the declaring of the German Republic
(9 Nov 1918) or the Beer Hall Putsch of 1918 or...
Quite simply a date like 09/12/27 can mean (in some of the countries where I
have lived) 9 Dec 1927 or 12 Sept 1927 or 27 Dec 2009. There are a number
of common date/time formats in use that are reasonably well determined but
most people (excluding specialists or those writing software that needs or
wants to extract these dates) don't know which formats are OK and which
ones are ambiguous.
 
That's where ISO 8601:1988 and this group to help develop date/time standards
enters the picture.. 

> humans write dates, '/' is used as a separator while '-'
> is commonly uses for ranges.  For compatibility reasons we're
> stuck with using '-' as a separator, but please don't use
> '/' for ranges.  Somebody reading:
> 
>    2004/2006
> 
> is going to assume that means 2004 *or* 2006.
> 
> A suggestion: Use two dots, as in '..'.  For example:

I really don't see how ".." is better than "/". Its hardly more economical:-)
> 
>    2004..2006
>    2004-12-20..22
>    2005-12-24..2006-01-06
> 
> Alternatively, the specification could use 3 dots, which is
> traditional in mathematics, but there is precedence for using 2 dots:

(its actually not... An ellipsis is an omission, a pause or an unsaid
thought. In mathematics the ellipsis is an omission to imply the continuation
of a defined series: "et cetera" (and so forth). All hardly the stuff of
ranges... )

> 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis#In_programming

In programming the semantics for ".." or "..." are quite arbitrary, typically
function looking for some well-defined lexical ... 


> -- 
> 	--Per Bothner
> [log in to unmask]   http://per.bothner.com/


--

Edward C. Zimmermann, NONMONOTONIC LAB
Basis Systeme netzwerk, Munich Ges. des buergerl. Rechts
http://www.nonmonotonic.net
Umsatz-St-ID: DE130492967

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