Tag Archives: hcalendar

Fixing Facebook’s Microformats (at their request)

Twitter, and the wider ‘blogosphere’, have been alive tonight (UK time), with people commenting on, or mostly simply repeating, the news that Facebook have implemented the on all their events, making them parsable by machines and thus easy to add to desktop or on-line calendars. They’ve also included for venue details.

This is generally a good thing, but what most people — at least some of whom should have known better — failed to notice was that the implementation is broken.

Consider this event, a concert by my friends’ band, Treebeard:

which, as you can see, is on 18 February from 19:00–22:00 (7–10pm).

That’s encoded, in the Facebook page’s mark-up, as:

<span class=”dtstart”><span class=”value-title” title=”2011-02-18T19:00:00-08:00“> </span>19:00</span> – <span class=”dtend”><span class=”value-title” title=”2011-02-18T22:00:00-08:00“> </span>22:00</span>

The “-08:00” at the end of each date-time value represents a timezone 8 hours behind UTC (as we must now call Greenwich Mean Time) — that would be correct were the event in California, or elsewhere in the Pacific Time Zone; but for the UK, the mark-up translates to 3-6am.

Since the event is in the UK, the start time should be encoded as “2011-02-18T19:00:00+00:00“, which puts it in the correct UTC timezone (in British Summer Time, it would be “2011-02-18T19:00:00+01:00“). Ditto for the end time.

The same will apply for events in any other timezone on the planet, each with an appropriate adjustment.

I’ve already alerted Facebook developer Paul Tarjan to the problem, and this is my response to his requests for assistance in fixing it.

hAccessibility: BBC drop hCalendar microformat

Almost two years after I first raised the issue (to a reaction from the cabal that runs the microformats “community” which began with denial and moved to hostility) the BBC have stopped using the hCalendar microformat due to accessibility concerns.

Maybe now something can be done to incorporate one of the several, more accessible proposed work-arounds, into the relevant standards?

Thanks to Bruce Lawson and Patrick Lauke for breaking the news.

Update: Patrick now has a post on the subject, at webstandards.org

More Nokia N95 (and Opera Mini) wishes

Dear Nokia, and Opera,

When using your browsers on my N95, please can I:

  • Copy text from a web page
  • Disable CSS
  • View the HTML source
  • Parse microformats (not least hCard, to add contact details to the address book and dial phone numbers; hCalendar, to add events to the calendar; and Geo, to find places on maps).

Surely that’s not a lot to ask for? Thank you.