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RFC: a human-eye date format everyone can love

From: Karl Fogel <kfogel_at_newton.ch.collab.net>
Date: 2002-06-24 19:17:38 CEST

Please read "RFC" as "Request For Consensus"... :-)

Now that Hadaka has committed the bulk of the new date output code, we
should decide on a human-output date format. Currently, svn is

   "Mon, 24 Jun 2002 10:36:04 -0500"

...but we all know this is just a placeholder until we figure out what
we really want. On IRC just now, Hadaka came up with a neat solution,
which we'd like to propose together:

   "2002-06-24 10:36:04 -0500 (Mon 24 Jun)"

The goal of this format is to start with an ISO-8601 section (and
perhaps compliant with some other standards as well), followed by a
clearly delimited second section intended for human consumption.

Automatic parsers will only read as many chars as they need, since
they know the width of the standard-compliant date. Meanwhile,
English-reading humans can look at the second section to do faster
mental processing. Everybody wins.

Furthermore, since the second section is ignored by automatic
processors, we can make it locale-sensitive, so non-English-readers
can get friendly output too.

The main disadvantage here is that this format is slightly longer than
the old one. We don't see a big problem, though; it's still short
enough that it keeps log output well within an 80-column line. IOHO
the extra information is worth it.

NOTE: If I made any errors in formatting the first part of the date
above, please point them out. We certainly intend to propose
standards-compliance in that portion. Hadaka points out that the
space before the "-0500" might be illegal; in that case, I'm +1 on
keeping the space anyway for readability, also +1 on eliminating it
for compliance :-) ).


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Received on Mon Jun 24 19:27:49 2002

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