Saturday, September 08, 2012

Have a timestamp, for Christ's sake!

This post is an appeal to all the developers and content writers. Please take it seriously. Let us help each other by following the simple guideline of timestamping each artifact that is produced.

Whenever you encounter an issue, or while troubleshooting a problem, what is the first thing you do? I just copy and paste the error message in Google and search if someone else have encountered the same problem and if a resolution is available. Sometimes I get conflicting resolutions showing up in the Google results. For e.g. one site might suggest me to perform task A to resolve the problem, while another site might suggest to perform task B. If I have time, I will try each one of them until the issue is resolved. But unfortunately I find it a terrible waste of my time. Instead of appreciating the good intention of the author to share his wisdom, I end up cursing the person.

Why? The reason most of the times is very simple. Those articles don't have a date and time about when they were published. Most of the time, I find that the most recent ones are accurate. Rarely it might be otherwise too. Think how many times you have gone back and updated your old entries when your suggested method will no longer work! In my case, almost none. So, unless someone have a time of reference, they will not be able to compare two solutions to decide which one might be more recent.

So I appeal to all the developers and content writers this:
Please produce all your contents with both date and time. Timestamp all the artifacts that you produce. This will tremendously help everyone and save a lot of time.
Please don't publish an article just with time alone (like "Sun 12:00 PM", as you might find in most of the blogs!). It is just as useless as not having the timestamp at all.

With HTML5's time tag, you can also help the search engines to identify when the artifact was actually produced.

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