On the disappearance of HTML5 <time>

A decision has been made by the power that is Ian Hixie, to remove the time element from the HTML5 specification and replace it with the data element. This in my view is a terrible decision that has been made by one person despite a lot of opposition to the initial idea that was put forward.

Many documents and pages that get posted on the web have some sort of timestamp attached to them. Think of every news and blog article that’s written, this very post included, that indicate somewhere when it was posted. Having a machine readable element that encapsulates this special case piece of information is very useful for both machines and humans alike to read and understand.

The additional pubdate attribute that was also part of the time element that allowed you to specify when the article was published was also a useful tool in checking if a particular post was up-to-date or not.

But these have all been removed and replaced with the more generic data element, whose addition to the specification, although rather late, I don’t disagree with, as it can be used to encapsulate other information, outside of time.

There have already been a number of voices registering their opposition to the removal of the time element. Eric Eggert has posted a collaborative list of objections to its removal, HTML5 Doctor Bruce Lawson has spoken about his disappointment at its removal and Steve Faulkner has been prompted to initiate a revert request for the dropping of the time element.

I think we need to fight this one.


On , the W3C Chairs announced that the .