Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Can we agree on a date?

I don't know why we have so many date formats, but we need to simplify the way we represent the date.  Let's take an arbitrary date, the 7th of August 2006.  Below are the various accepted ways of showing it:

  • 7 August 2006
  • 7 Aug 06
  • 07/08/06
  • 07/08/2006
  • 06/07/08 (Now things start getting confusing - are we in July or August?)
  • 06/08/07
  • ...You get the trend.

Seems like a small thing to get anal about, but it can cause quite a deal of confusion and frustration when you are trying to figure out whether 10/09/09 means 10 September 2009 or 9 September 2010 or 9 October 2009.

I propose we eliminate all numeric dates and only allow the following 2 formats:

  • 23 January 2011
  • 23 Jan 2011

Further, I move to pass a bill where anybody that deviates from this format be liable to execution by public stoning.  If we only stick to the above 2 formats there will be no more confusion.  I know that this format is also relatively clear:

  • 2008-Nov-09 

But it's also plain ugly and looks like it forms part of a programmer's binary code.  Let's keep it simple, unambiguous and neat.  This way we don't waste precious time in our lives deciding if it's 2008 or 2009.

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