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Subject: Re: RE DOCBOOK: Re: RFE: Date Format

/ Vladimir Gutzko <e_aperta@everyday.com> was heard to say:
| Please be always aware that many DocBook docs are being translated
| and have to be maintained in several languages in parallel. Using
| ISO at least greatly facilitates this job.

The issue that I'm having a hard time following is this: where do you
want automatic date translation? Yes, if dates are important to your
data, you probably want to use distinct elements for the parts of the
date, but in DocBook, dates only occur in metadata, bibliography entries,
and revhistory.

1. In metadata (like bookinfo), if you're translating a book from French
to English, I think it makes sense to translate the date format as well.

2. If the date is in a bibliography, I would expect the format of the
date to be in the locale of the document cited.

3. In revhistory, maybe you'd like to do automatic format translation, but
that strikes me as an edge case not worth the extra complexity of requiring
authors to type <date><year>2001</year><month>1</month><day>12</day></date>.

Especially considering:

a. The compound format is still going to be ambiguous if people type

b. XML doesn't allow '&' connectors, so the content model is either going
   to have to enforce an order or not be able to prevent

c. Unless the date element allows mixed content, it will be *impossible*
   to enter a date the way you want it to be formatted. You will have
   to have the stylesheet do it. That means that stylesheets will have
   to handle an extraordinary number of possible cases.

   If the date element does allow mixed content, then you'll have even
   more room for ambiguity and you will have lost the only possible advantage
   of going to the delimited form: automatic translation.

                                        Be seeing you,

Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>      | Everything the same; everything
http://www.oasis-open.org/docbook/ | distinct.
Chair, DocBook Technical Committee |

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