Date and Time Patterns

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Date and Time Patterns

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Date and time formats are specified by date and time pattern strings. In these pattern strings, unquoted letters from A to Z and from a to z represent components of a data or time value. If a letter or text string is enclosed within a pair of single quotes, that letter or text is not interpreted but rather used as is, as are all other characters in the pattern string. During printing, that letter or text is copied as is to the output string; during parsing, they are matched against the input string. "''" represents a single quote.

The following pattern letters are defined for the indicated Date or Time Component. All other characters from 'A' to 'Z' and from 'a' to 'z' are reserved. For an alphabetic ordering of the pattern letters, see Pattern Letters in Alphabetic Order at the end of this page.

Date or Time Component

Pattern Letter

Presentation as text or number

Examples

Era designator

G

Text

AD

Year

y

Year

1996; 96|

Month in year

M

Month

July; Jul; 07

Week in year

w

Number

27

Week in month

W

Number

2

Day in year

D

Number

189

Day in month

d

Number

10

Day of week in month

F

Number

2

Day in week

E

Text

EE=Tu; EEE=Tue; EEEE=Tuesday

Am/pm marker

a

Text

PM

Hour in day (0-23)

H

Number

0

Hour in day (1-24)

k

Number

24

Hour in am/pm (0-11)

K

Number

0

Hour in am/pm (1-12)

h

Number

12

Minute in hour

m

Number

30

Second in minute

s

Number

55

Millisecond

S

Number

978

Time zone

z

General

Pacific Standard Time; PST; GMT-08:00

Time zone

Z

RFC

-0800

Pattern letters are usually repeated, as their number determines the exact presentation:

Text

For formatting, if the number of pattern letters is 4 or more, the full form is used; otherwise a short or abbreviated form is used if available. For parsing, both forms are accepted, independent of the number of pattern letters.

Number

For formatting, the number of pattern letters is the minimum number of digits, and shorter numbers are zero-padded to this amount. For parsing, the number of pattern letters is ignored unless it's needed to separate two adjacent fields.

Year

For formatting, if the number of pattern letters is 2, the year is truncated to 2 digits; otherwise it is interpreted as a number

For parsing, if the number of pattern letters is more than 2, the year is interpreted literally, regardless of the number of digits. So using the pattern "MM/dd/yyyy", "01/11/12" parses to Jan 11, 12 A.D.

For parsing with the abbreviated year pattern ("y" or "yy"), the formatting codes and rules are the same as for the SimpleDateFormat java class: the abbreviated year is interpreted relative to some century by adjusting dates to be within 80 years before and 20 years after the time the SimpleDateFormat instance is created. For example, using a pattern of "MM/dd/yy" and a <code>SimpleDateFormat</code> instance created on Jan 1, 2018, the string "01/11/12" would be interpreted as Jan 11, 2012 while the string "05/04/64" would be interpreted as May 4, 1964. During parsing, only strings consisting of exactly two digits, as defined by Character.isDigit(char ch), will be parsed into the default century. Any other numeric string, such as a one digit string, a three or more digit string, or a two digit string that isn't all digits (for example, "-1"), is interpreted literally. So "01/02/3" or "01/02/003" are parsed, using the same pattern, as Jan 2, 3 AD. Likewise, "01/02/-3" is parsed as Jan 2, 4 BC.

Month

If the number of pattern letters is 3 or more, the month is interpreted as text. Otherwise, it is interpreted as a number.

General time zone

Time zones are interpreted as text if they have names. For time zones representing a GMT offset value, the following syntax is used:

GMTOffsetTimeZone:

GMT Sign Hours : Minutes

Sign: one of

+ -

Hours:

Digit

Digit Digit

Minutes:

Digit Digit

Digit: one of

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

 

Hours must be between 0 and 23, and Minutes must be between 00 and 59. The format is locale independent and digits must be taken from the Basic Latin block of the Unicode standard.

For parsing, RFC 822 time zones are also accepted.

RFC 822 time zone

For formatting, the RFC 822 4-digit time zone format is used:

RFC822TimeZone:

Sign TwoDigitHours Minutes

TwoDigitHours:

Digit Digit

 

TwoDigitHours must be between 00 and 23. Other definitions are as for general time zones.

For parsing, general time zones are also accepted.

SimpleDateFormat also supports ''localized date and time pattern'' strings. In these strings, the pattern letters described above may be replaced with other, locale dependent, pattern letters. SimpleDateFormat does not deal with the localization of text other than the pattern letters; that's up to the client of the class.

Examples

The following examples show how date and time patterns are interpreted in the U.S. locale. The given date and time are 2001-07-04 12:08:56 local time in the U.S. Pacific Time time zone.

Date and Time Pattern

Result

"yyyy.MM.dd G 'at' HH:mm:ss z"

2001.07.04 AD at 12:08:56 PDT

"EEE, MMM d, ''yy"

Wed, Jul 4, '01

"h:mm a"

12:08 PM

"hh 'o''clock' a, zzzz"

12 o'clock PM, Pacific Daylight Time

"K:mm a, z"

0:08 PM, PDT

"yyyyy.MMMMM.dd GGG hh:mm aaa"

02001.July.04 AD 12:08 PM

"EEE, d MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss Z"

Wed, 4 Jul 2001 12:08:56 -0700

"yyMMddHHmmssZ"

010704120856-0700

"yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSZ"

2001-07-04T12:08:56.235-0700

Date and time pattern letters in alphabetic order

The same pattern letters shown at first, above, in Date or Time Component order are shown below in alphabetic order for easy reference.

Pattern Letter

Date or Time Component

Presentation as text or number

Examples

a

Am/pm marker

Text

PM

D

Day in year

Number

189

d

Day in month

Number

10

E

Day in week

Text

EE=Tu; EEE=Tue; EEEE=Tuesday

F

Day of week in month

Number

2

G

Era designator

Text

AD

H

Hour in day (0-23)

Number

0

h

Hour in am/pm (1-12)

Number

12

k

Hour in day (1-24)

Number

24

K

Hour in am/pm (0-11)

Number

0

M

Month in year

Month

July; Jul; 07

m

Minute in hour

Number

30

s

Second in minute

Number

55

S

Millisecond

Number

978

w

Week in year

Number

27

W

Week in month

Number

2

y

Year

Year

1996; 96

z

Time zone

General

Pacific Standard Time; PST; GMT-08:00 |

Z

Time zone

RFC

-0800