Formatting DATETIME values

Date-time values must be formatted when converted to strings.

When does DATETIME formatting take place?

Datetime formatting occurs when converting a DATETIME to a string, for example in a LET, DISPLAY or PRINT instruction, and when displaying datetime values in form fields.

By default, DATETIME values are formatted in the ISO format:
yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss.fffff

A DATETIME value can be formatted with the util.Datetime.format() method:

IMPORT util
MAIN
  DEFINE dt DATETIME YEAR TO SECOND
  LET dt = CURRENT
  DISPLAY util.Datetime.format(dt, "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
END MAIN
This code example produces the following output:
2015-12-23 11:45:33

Converting strings to DATETIME values

When a string represents a datetime value is ISO format, it can be directly converted to a DATETIME:
DEFINE dt DATETIME YEAR TO FRACTION(5)
LET dt = "2015-12-24 11:34:56.82373"
If you need to convert a string that does not follow the ISO format, use the util.Datetime.parse() method, by specifying a format string:
DEFINE dt DATETIME YEAR TO MINUTE
LET dt = util.Datetime.parse( "2014-12-24 23:45", "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M" )

Formatting symbols for DATETIME values

When formatting DATETIME values, the format-string of the util.Datetime.parse() and util.Datetime.format() methods consists of a set of place holders that represent the different parts of a datetime value (year, month, day, hour, minute, second and fraction).

Table 1 shows the formatting symbols for DATETIME expressions. Any character different from the placeholders described in this table is interpreted as a literal and will appear as-is in the resulting string.

The calendar used for date formatting is the Gregorian calendar.

Table 1. Format-string symbols for DATETIME values
Placeholder Description
%a The abbreviated name of the day of the week
Note:

When parsing a datetime string, %a and %A are equivalent to detect the name of the day of the week in abbreviated form or full day name.

%A The full name of the day of the week
%b or %h The abbreviated month name
Note:

When parsing a datetime string, %b/%h and %B are equivalent to detect the month name in abbreviated form or full month name.

%B The full month name
%c The date and time representation
%C The century number (0-99)
%D Equivalent to %m/%d/%y
%d The day of month with 2 digits (01-31)
%e The day of month with one or 2 digits (1-31)
%F[n] The fractional part of a second (1<n<5, %F=%F5)
Note:

%F[n] includes the dot: In the format string, there is not need to preceed this placeholder with the dot.

%H The hour with 2 digits (00-23)
%I The hour on a 12-hour clock (1-12)
%y The year on 2 digits (91)
%Y The year on 4 digits (1991)
%m The month as 2 digits (01-12)
%M The minutes (00-59)
%n A newline character
%p The locale's equivalent of AM or PM
%r The 12-hour clock time. In the POSIX locale equivalent to %I:%M:%S %p
%R Equivalent to %H:%M
%S The seconds (00-59)
%t A tab character
%T Equivalent to %H:%M:%S
%x The date, using the locale's date format
%X The time, using the locale's time format
%w The ordinal number of the day of the week (0-6), with Sunday = 0
%y The year within century (0-99)
%Y The year, including the century (for example, 1991)
Table 2. Datetime formatting examples
Formatting string Datetime value Corresponding string
%d/%m/%Y %H:%M:%S%F3 2011-10-24 11:23:45.98765 24/10/2011 11:23.45.987
%d/%m/%Y %H:%M 2011-10-24 11:23:45 24/10/2011 11:23
[%d %b %Y %H:%M:%S] 2011-10-24 11:23:45 [24 Oct 2011 11:23:45]
(%a.) %b. %d, %Y 1999-09-23 (Thu.) Sep. 23, 1999