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DATETIME  November 2010

DATETIME November 2010

Subject:

Re: Interval sign: "/"

From:

"Meehleib, Tracy" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 8 Nov 2010 13:28:05 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (57 lines)

I haven't had any today...

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion of the Developing Date/Time Standards [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Per Bothner
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 12:45 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [DATETIME] Interval sign: "/"

On 11/08/2010 07:05 AM, Denenberg, Ray wrote:
> Well I join you in regretting that ISO chose "/". However, If we were 
> to adopt a sequence of dots, or for that matter any convention other 
> than "/", it would mean abandoning the premise of this work, that any 
> feature prescribed, if it is a feature supported by ISO 8601, will be 
> prescribed in a manner compatible with ISO 8601. My position on that 
> is that there would need to be overwhelming sentiment to do that.

I agree parsimony argues for "if it is a feature supported by ISO 8601, will be prescribed in a manner compatible with ISO 8601", but I don't violating that rule breaks much.  To parse an EDTF specifier one needs a EDTF-aware processor. and a 8601 processor won't cut it.  The only thing using "/" might enable is that "converting" a 8601 string to an EDTF would be a no-op.  However, even that would not be true, since EDTF "selects relevant/necessary features of 8601, discarding unnecessary features."

I noted an inconsistency for "Uncertain, but known to be one of a set."
    [1667,1668, 1670-1672]
    One of the years 1667, 1668, 1670, 1671, 1672 In this context, we're using hyphens for a set.

I recommend just using ".." for an interval, so the above would be:
   [1667,1668, 1670..1672]

What about when "The endpoint of an interval is another interval"?
One option is to use parentheses - after all we already use parentheses for grouping of questionable dates, which this is, so instead of:

   20030312/20030319//20030320/20030321
we'd use:
   (20030312..20030319)..(20030320..20030321)

Alternatively, we can use square brackets, since presumably an "internals of intervals" really means that the endpoint is "Uncertain, but known to be one of a set".  Thus:

   [20030312..20030319]..[20030320..20030321]

On a related note, we can possibly get rid of the "Before/after indicator".
Instead of:
   .be.1760
I think this would be more readable:
   [..1760]
If you need "before" rather than "before or equal" you could do:
   [..<1760-12-03]
instead of:
   .bf.1760-12-03

When it comes it handling 8601-style "/", we have so choices:
(1) Not allow it.  A 8601-style internal has to be explicitly
   converted before being passed to an EDTF processor.
(2) Allow, but discourage "/" as a synonym for "..".  An EDTF processor must allow "/" in input.  On output it is recommended (but not required) for it to produce ".." and avoid "/".
(3) Make handling of "/" optional, like in a profile.

I think (3) would causes more trouble than it is worth, so I would recommend (1) or (2).  Specifically (1) for simplicity.
-- 
	--Per Bothner
[log in to unmask]   http://per.bothner.com/

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