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web time

It’s trivial to have good time strings and browser-based time conversion. Unfortunately, it’s not implemented.

The w3c has various time specifications for time & date, but there seems to be a lack of use and/or implementation.

There’s just no good excuse, given that a browser should recognize time values when present, and have awareness of the locale information of the operating system/user, for anyone to see “5:00 PST” or the like.

There’s no reason that today’s lunar eclipse times posted on the Wikipedia entry should include a table of various timezones.

Okay, I’m a little off with that statement. If you are planning to view in a timezone other than your own, or to relay that information to someone in another timezone. But, even then I believe you should be responsible for the conversion.

So what’s the alternative, everything in UTC/GMT? No.

The alternative is responsible implementations that allow aware browsers to display ALL time values converted to your local time.

In other words you should always expect a time value to be local to your current time locale.

So how does that work? It’s dead simple and requires only one change. It works by having well-formed time values with accompanying tags or markup that designate they are time values.

Given some string which is marked as time, the browser makes a best-effort parse to understand that string, and then displays in its place whatever preference the User (you) have for time display.

Many websites today do this by a few methods. A majority of them probably use javascript, whilst some (given you are registered) have a setting and use the server’s time +/- your setting’s offset.

Both of these are hacks. No one should need to have javascript enabled or login just to have times displayed “correctly” and even then the sites display them in the form they want, not in a user-specified, browser-profile format.

It is trivial to do this correctly, yet it’s not done.

bookStack 0.3.5

0.3.5 announcement of the Firefox extension bookStack.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with bookStack on its page it’s now up to 0.3.5 and pretty good with respect to features, stability, and customizability.

Also of note is that the Netscape browser is finally going away which means that there will no longer be a Link Pad as Netscape 9 had. As of February that browser is no more.

A quick rundown of where the extension is now and where it will likely go in the following months:

Added drag & drop support, support for customized viewing options, more sidebar control of useful preferences. A lot of code cleanup, as well. The 0.3.X branch has mainly focused on stability and better integration into the browser.

What’s next? Probably will look at multiple-stack support where the user can easily switch between stacks, add stacks, remove, and merge stacks. The goal there is to allow multiple ‘projects’ to be handled simultaneously through the stack archetype.

I’d like to look at adding a context menu to the sidebar. There may not be enough items to justify it, but that will depend, at least in part, on how the multi-stack ends up being implemented.

And sooner or later (sorry to those who have requested it already) I’d like to get this running with Firefox 3. There are still some instabilities from what I can tell with the Fx3 code that make me wary of going too far in porting bookStack over, but the code is much cleaner for bookStack as I can finally shed the RDF quirkiness and use the utensils Firefox 3 offers for managing the bookmarks.

Thanks for all the feedback on bookStack and I hope to continue to develop it and help make it easier for people to optimize their browsing.


Netscape 9: Linkpad

Netscape 9’s Linkpad feature and how it impacts my extension for Firefox.

In my endeavor to get bookStack included in the official Mozilla addons repository I was told to accumulate some user reviews. As a result of talking to some users I found out the upcoming version (currently in beta) of the Netscape browser, Netscape 9, has a very similar feature to the one bookStack provides.

The main difference is they use a sidebar and do not (from what I could tell, haven’t tried it myself yet) give direct access to the stored items (eg, via the bookmarks manager).

So I’m currently working toward a version of bookStack that has a sidebar so that people who want Linkpad for Firefox can get it.

It should be ready in about a week.