Addressing the Problem with Historical Timestamps

Filed as Features on April 29, 2009 5:35 pm

A friend on Plurk asked whether it is possible to use actual historical dates on your blog’s CMS (i.e. 4th of July 1776 for Independence Day). I did some digging and there are posts that address this question:

On WordPress, it seems that you can’t use a time stamp before December 12 1969. There seems to be a fix with a piece of code.

On Drupal, you can’t seem to use dates before 1970.

Using historical time stamps could very well add to the architecture in mapping out historical information and events. Not that I’m channeling a Da Vinci Code, but there is a certain intellectual joy in being able to recreate a piece of history — even if it is as trivial as building your family photo album and cataloging them with correct time stamps.

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  1. By redwall_hp posted on April 29, 2009 at 8:48 pm
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    Historical timestamps is an interesting idea, but it would introduce some problems.

    1. You wouldn’t be able to schedule posts too well.

    2. If you wanted your latest posts to be visible, it would be necessary to re-write your posts loops to order posts by id rather than date.

    An alternative would be to create a function in functions.php called display_date() or something. Have it check for a custom field with a historical date, and if it is empty use the “normal” date, then output the result.

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  2. By Su posted on April 30, 2009 at 4:14 am
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    This has been possible with Movable Type from the start, as far as I’m aware. The most well-known example is probably Phil Gyford’s long-running Pepy’s Diary.

    Bit disappointing this seems to still(?) be impossible with WordPress. Projects like the Orwell Diaries would work better if they could be properly dated.

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  3. By Sue Wemett posted on July 7, 2009 at 8:01 am
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    I am in the process of blogging my great-uncles letters into a historical blog, and it is such a pain not to be able to use the actual dates of the posts, and have them order by the date of the letter. The blog would be much more interesting and simplified if I could just change the dates posted to the date of the letter. These letters were written in the 1920s and 1930s. I use the date in the title of each letter but have a difficult time ordering the letters.

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