When word got out last week that the
<time> element would be dropped from the HTML5 specification, there was a small but fierce uproar within the Web standards and developer communities. "I think this is a bad decision," wrote Bruce Lawson, Web Evangelist at Opera. Web designer and co-founder of the Web Standards Project Jeffrey Zeldman linked to Lawson's post, sparking more than a few dissatisfied comments from readers.
A week later, the W3C has overridden the decision, restoring the
<time> element back to the HTML5 spec.
<time> tag, as its name implies, is intended to designate timestamps and other time-related data on Web pages. This adds additional semantic context to this type of information when it shows up on the Web and makes it more machine-readable.
It also gives front-end developers the opportunity to more easily style timestamps using CSS. This of course, could always be done by assigning a unique class or ID name to whatever HTML tag happened to contain the date and time information, but giving
<time> its own tag simplifies things a bit.
The element was initially slated for removal from the spec by HTML5 editor Ian Hickson. The move didn't sit well with many developers and semantic Web advocates, a sentiment that ultimately trickled up to the W3C working group overseeing the development of the HTML5 specification.