Date Time Formats - Dave's Blog

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Date Time Formats

2007 Sep 27, 2:17Starting on a new simple project I wanted to get the history of my Delicious links. Delicious has an export tool available via the settings section so I thought I'd try that. However, the links aren't exported in XML not even in XHTML but rather in HTML. Shocking. An example:
"Don't Tase Me, Bro!" (UF Student Tasered Remix)
Remix of the 'Don't tase me, bro!' guy getting tasered.At this point I'm already not going to use this file because its in HTML but I'm even more disgusted by those date time values. Raymond Chen of the Old New Thing posted about recognizing timestamps and timestamp sentinel values. From the first blog post and with the use of a calculator for base conversion one can tell that those are UNIX style timestamps counting the number of seconds since 1970.

It reminds me of my hatred for the MIME date time format I developed working on my webpage's server side parsing of atom and RSS. Atom is of course my favorite as Atom uses the Internet date time format described in the following documents. Here's an example of one 2007-09-27T020:50:00.000-08:00 On the other hand the evil and villainous RSS uses the MIME date time format now described in the more recent IETF MIME standard. Here's an example Thu, 27 Sep 2007 20:50:00 -0800
The Internet date time format has the advantage of being so easy to sort. An alphabetic sort with normal C-style collation rules of strings containing Internet date times will also sort them chronologically. This is not the case for the MIME date time due to the preceding day of the week and the spelled out month name. This also means that when producing these you have to figure out the day of the week and when parsing them you have to match month names rather than just parsing out numbers. Anyway now days if I see mention of a date time in a new proposed standard or spec I be sure to point out the numerous advantages of the Internet date time format.
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