Simon Willison’s Weblog


Dates on the web

4th December 2003

D. Keith Robinson writes about Using Dates For Featured Web Content. Keith’s right, including a date with your content really is a no-brainer. I’ll add an anecdote of my own. Several years ago I ran a popular news site for Team Fortress Classic, a team based online first person shooter game with a thriving clan scene. I was careful to include dates on every piece of content, but in my youthful naivety I neglected to include the year. The years rolled by and the content built up until I suddenly realised that I was no longer sure what year some of it was written in! The site has sadly now passed in to history but the lesson remains: the web moves faster than you might think, so omitting the year in your dates is a pretty dumb thing to do.

It’s pretty obvious but I’ll point out anyway that using dd/mm/yyyy or mm/dd/yyyy for dates on sites is a bad idea as well. Us crazy brits use the former, them crazy yanks use the latter and everyone ends up thoroughly confused about any written date before the 13th of the month. I personally like to use the full “4th December 2003” format, but when space is limited the least ambiguous format is ISO standard YYYY-MM-DD.

This is Dates on the web by Simon Willison, posted on 4th December 2003.

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