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User:Idevlin/keep pubdate change proposal

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Change Proposal


Keep the pubdate attribute of HTML5's time element. In addition, add a new attribute: moddate

This is a counter proposal to:



The pubdate attribute was originally left over from an attempt to provide automatic HTML5 to Atom conversion. It has been around for a fair amount of time in its own right and has become a useful and much used part of the HTML5 time element and is featured in popular Wordpress themes which indicates heavy "real world" use.

In addition, there is a need for a moddate attribute (see #Positive_Effects below) which can be used to specify a time value that is the time that the document in question was most recently updated/modified.


  1. Keep the 'pubdate' attribute in the definition of the HTML5
  2. Add a 'moddate' attribute to the HTML5 <time> element. This attribute is the same as the 'pubdate' element, but allows the page author to specify which <time> element value is the date that the document has most recently been updated/modifed
  3. In the absence of a 'moddate' attribute, the 'pubdate' attribute is taken as the most recently modifed time of the document in question
  4. When both a 'moddate' and 'pubdate' are defined within a page, the 'moddate' value is taken to be the most recently modified time value of the document
  5. The same <time> element cannot have both a 'moddate' and 'pubbdate' attribute defined


Positive Effects

  • The 'pubdate' attribute is already in widespread use, for example through the popular Wordpress 'Twenty Eleven' and 'HTML5 Starkers' themes
  • Providing a 'pubdate' attribute would allow browsers and RSS readers, for example, to be able to readily identify the published date of a document, especially when a document contains a number of <time> elements
  • As stated above, Wordpress themes currently use the 'pubdate' attribute to identify the <time> element within a page (a blog post in this case) that identifies the published date and time of the page. It is also quite common that such pages need to be updated by the author due to feedback or extra information becoming available. If the information on a page is updated, authors want their readers to be aware of this, as they want them to know how recent the information is (and readers want to know this for other reasons)
  • One current method of bringing the updated posts to the attention of users or any tool (e.g. a search engine) that might be scraping the HTML markup is by changing the published date of the page, e.g. the <time> element with the 'pubdate' attribute. But this goes against the meaning of what 'pubdate' identified, as the new datetime value is no longer the published date but the modified date, and the original published date value is lost. Keeping both sets of information is more semantic
  • Similarly to the point made above regarding the 'pubdate' attribute, browsers and RSS Readers could also quickly identify the modified date of a page (if the author has provided them) and distinguish it from both the published date and any other <time> elements that may exist within the page's markup

Negative Effects

  • None identified

Conformance Classes Changes

As defined by the editor.




All references are inline