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Subject: Re: ISO 8601 anyone?? And more on Parties.
Eduardo Gutentag is pushing for mark up: "XML's strength is that transforming from one format to another is a piece of cake, particularly if you avoid non-separated strings (e.g. 20010417) in favor of marked up entries, in whatever order." The nice thing about the W3C schema is that it has forced some basic data types onto people, such as the ones I mentioned yesterday (date, time, dateTime, and duration), with fairly tight constraints on how they are to be used. In effect, W3C has made some basic core components. These "rules" can be somewhat liberating, in that they eliminate decision making - an aspect of "standards" that is fairly underrated. The extended dateTime format imposed by XML Schema - 2000-03-04T23:00:00 - is not especially superior or inferior to the alternatives, like the ISO 8601 basic format 20000304T230000; but having chosen one, I feel very comfortable with the authors' decision. It's like the side of the street you drive on, left or right: it doesn't really matter which one the legislature chooses, but it's really important that it's the same as the neighboring states and countries, and that the rule doesn't change frequently. Most of us treat dateTimes as atomic units, and it's overkill to break out each individual constituent. The same with phone numbers. And address lines - as Michael Conroy has so effectively demonstrated. Those who need to operate on dateTimes for converting them to other formats, or for manipulating periods and durations, can easily parse the ISO 8601 extended format. Perhaps a cottage industry can grow up around ISO 8601 in providing date-time functions. William J. Kammerer FORESIGHT Corp. 4950 Blazer Pkwy. Dublin, OH USA 43017-3305 +1 614 791-1600 Visit FORESIGHT Corp. at http://www.foresightcorp.com/ "accelerating time-to-trade"
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