Re: [htdig] Using metatag other than htdig-notification-date?

Subject: Re: [htdig] Using metatag other than htdig-notification-date?
From: Gilles Detillieux (
Date: Thu Jan 20 2000 - 07:24:16 PST

According to Ivan Trundle:
> > >>> Geoff Hutchison <> - 20/1/00 3:46 AM >>>
> >
> > >And if I manage to overcome this metatag-problem, how do I get htnotify to use
> > >our local dd-mm-yyyy format? Would setting date_format do the job?
> >
> > I believe so, but it's been ages since I've looked at
> Nope - we tried this, but the date_format only appears to apply in
> the formatting of found results, and is not used by htnotify. Shame
> really, since here in Australia we have no idea what 1/30/2000 means -
> is it only the US that uses mmddyyyy formatting? ;-)

As far as I no, that's true, although that format certainly has seeped
over the border into Canada, despite the fact that the Canadian convention
is supposed to be dd/mm/yyyy. It causes a lot of confusion here.
I'd rather see us adopt the ISO 8601 convention of yyyy-mm-dd.

> Gilles, in a later posting, implies that it can be configured, with
> an iso_8601 option, but we have yet to make this work. I'd like to
> know more (Gilles? Would you care to expand on this comment?).

I thought my previous e-mail and my notes in notification.html made
it fairly clear, but I guess I wasn't expressing it clearly enough.
I do have a hard time explaining algorithms in English, rather than in
a programming language. Perhaps my followup to Roel this morning will
help clarify things, and a peek at parse_date() in should
remove any doubts if you can walk through the code there.

The key to avoiding ambiguities in these date formats is to use 4-digit
years, to remove any doubt about which of the 3 fields is the year.
Then, the only ambiguity left is which field is the date and which is the
month, when they're both 12 or less. That's where the iso_8601 attribute
comes in. When set, the algorithm favours yyyy-mm-dd and dd-mm-yyyy, and
will only try others if these don't "fit", while if not set, it favours
mm-dd-yyyy first, then yyyy-mm-dd, then yyyy-dd-mm, then dd-mm-yyyy.

In either case, it doesn't care what puctuation or space you use to
separate the fields, as long as you use something, and it doesn't care
whether you use 1 or 2 digits for the date and month. It's very flexible
that way. Note that this holds for version 3.1.2 and up. Older versions
were much more rigid.

> > There are many "wishlist" items for htnotify, but it's been placed
> > far down on the TODO for most of us--if someone wants to fix that, I
> > think we'd all appreciate it.
> htnotify has the potential to do many things that would make my website
> management tasks enjoyable and error-free - but it is, in essence,
> a different beast to the main tools employed in htdig operations.
> I'd be happier with htdig developers focussing on making the searches
> accurate, configurable, and fast - though of course it would be
> *really* nice if other file management tools (htnotify, et al) were
> able to be incorporated in the overall package. I only wish that I
> had the resources to pitch in and help make htdig the ultimate website
> swiss-army knife...

I like that! If anyone can think of any gadgets they'd like to see in
this swiss-army knife, whether in htdig or htnotify, then feel free to
suggest them. I don't think you need to worry about the developers losing
their focus - that's what feature freezes are for. But good suggestions
may capture the imagination of other potential developers on the list,
who may take an idea and run with it. I think htnotify would be a good
place for a new developer to come on board, because it's a fairly simple,
non-threatening (and also not so critical) piece of code for someone to
start with.

Gilles R. Detillieux              E-mail: <>
Spinal Cord Research Centre       WWW:
Dept. Physiology, U. of Manitoba  Phone:  (204)789-3766
Winnipeg, MB  R3E 3J7  (Canada)   Fax:    (204)789-3930

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