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Subject: RE: FW: Date/Time (WAS: Re: To get things started... Data Format s)

ISO 8601 is absolutely the way to represent dates/time 
-- we believe this even if we aren't as careful as NASA in 
showing this on the press release page of our website ;-)

HR-XML is exploring certain data types based on 8601 
representations of date and time. Why bother with the data types?
For certain types of transactions, we want to be able to set 
constraints rather than merely allow any variety of compliant
8601 representation. 

As our draft documents point out, a high degree of precision is 
often required in HR transactions. In transactions with a partner
or third party that may effect employees' pay and benefits
(and the employer's tax and/or reporting obligations to 
governmental agencies) there are many instances where you
might want to have time and date information submitted
in a very exact and predicable way. For example, you might 
want to require that trading partners include the time zone 
indicator. As I understand it, 8601 allows you to optionally
append a time-zone indicator, but doesn't give you a 
mechanism to require it - This is what you can do with schema and 
data types.

I guess the other way that 8601 isn't sufficient on its own
is in expressing periods or durations. Again, if you take a
look through those rough, non-consensus, off-the-cuff,
please-overlook-the-stupid-typo drafts, you will see that
the workgroup is very much interested in standardizing ways
to communicate period and duration information.

I'm not sure whether ebXML core components needs to address
what in HR-system speak we call "effective dating". However,
I was interested in sharing the documents to give other ebXML
participants an idea of the type of transactions and 
requirements within the HR domain. My guess is
that while our docs may give the HR spin, there are likely
a lot of other vertical and other horizontal domains that
share some of the same type of requirements.

Best Regards,

Chuck Allen
Director, HR-XML Consortium, Inc.

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