Date and Time Localization and Formatting

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Introduction and Getting Started

ex_cldr_dates_times is an addon library application for ex_cldr that provides localisation and formatting for dates, times and date_times.

The primary api is Cldr.Date.to_string/2, Cldr.Time.to_string/2, Cldr.DateTime.to_string/2 and Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string/2. The following examples demonstrate:

iex> Cldr.Date.to_string Date.utc_today()
{:ok, "Aug 18, 2017"}

iex> Cldr.Time.to_string Time.utc_now
{:ok, "11:38:55 AM"}

iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now
{:ok, "Aug 18, 2017, 11:39:08 AM"}

iex> Cldr.DateTime.Relative.to_string 1, unit: :day, format: :narrow
{:ok, "tomorrow"}

For help in iex:

iex> h Cldr.Date.to_string
iex> h Cldr.Time.to_string
iex> h Cldr.DateTime.to_string
iex> h Cldr.DateTime.Relative.to_string

Date, Time and DateTime Localization Formatting

Dates, Times and DateTimes can be formatted using:

iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now, format: :short
{:ok, "9/3/17, 11:25 PM"}
iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now, format: :long
{:ok, "September 3, 2017 at 11:25:41 PM UTC"}
iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now, format: :medium
{:ok, "Sep 3, 2017, 11:25:46 PM"}
iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now, format: :long, locale: "fr"
{:ok, "3 septembre 2017 à 23:25:55 UTC"}
  • A user specified format string. A format string uses one or more formatting symbols to define what date and time elements should be places in the format. A simple example to format the time into hours and minutes:
iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now, format: "hh:MM"
{:ok, "11:09"}
  • For DateTimes there is also a set of predefined format name. These format names are returned by Cldr.DateTime.date_time_available_formats/1. The set of common format names across all locales configured in ex_cldr can be returned by Cldr.DateTime.Format.common_date_time_format_names. These format names can be used with the :format paramater to Cldr.DateTime.to_string/2 module only.
iex> Cldr.DateTime.Format.date_time_available_formats
%{mmmm_w_count_one: "'week' W 'of' MMMM", gy_mmm: "MMM y G", md: "M/d",
  mmm_md: "MMMM d", e_hms: "E HH:mm:ss", ed: "d E", y_mmm: "MMM y",
  e_hm: "E HH:mm", mmm_ed: "E, MMM d", y_mmm_ed: "E, MMM d, y",
  gy_mm_md: "MMM d, y G", mmm: "LLL", y_md: "M/d/y", gy: "y G",
  hms: "h:mm:ss a", hm: "h:mm a", y_mmmm: "MMMM y", m: "L",
  gy_mmm_ed: "E, MMM d, y G", y_qqq: "QQQ y", e: "ccc", y_qqqq: "QQQQ y",
  hmsv: "h:mm:ss a v", mmmm_w_count_other: "'week' W 'of' MMMM",
  ehm: "E h:mm a", y_m_ed: "E, M/d/y", h: "h a", hmv: "h:mm a v",
  yw_count_other: "'week' w 'of' y", mm_md: "MMM d", y_m: "M/y", m_ed: "E, M/d",
  ms: "mm:ss", d: "d", y_mm_md: "MMM d, y", yw_count_one: "'week' w 'of' y",
  y: "y", ehms: "E h:mm:ss a"}

# These format types can be invoked for any locale - meaning
# these format names are defined for all configured locales.
iex> Cldr.DateTime.Format.common_date_time_format_names
[:gy_mmm, :md, :mmm_md, :e_hms, :ed, :y_mmm, :e_hm, :mmm_ed, :y_mmm_ed,
 :gy_mm_md, :mmm, :y_md, :gy, :hms, :hm, :y_mmmm, :m, :gy_mmm_ed, :y_qqq, :e,
 :y_qqqq, :hmsv, :mmmm_w_count_other, :ehm, :y_m_ed, :h, :hmv, :yw_count_other,
 :mm_md, :y_m, :m_ed, :ms, :d, :y_mm_md, :y, :ehms]

iex> Cldr.DateTime.to_string DateTime.utc_now, format: :gy_mmm_ed
{:ok, "Sun, Sep 3, 2017 AD"}

Format strings

The CLDR standard defines a wide range of format symbols. Most - but not all - of these symbols are supported in Cldr. The supported symbols are described below. Note the known restrictions and limitations.

ElementSymbolExampleCldr Format
EraG, GG, GGG“AD”Abbreviated
GGGG“Anno Domini”Wide
Yeary7Minimum necessary digits
yy“17”Least significant 2 digits
yyy“017”, “2017”Padded to at least 3 digits
yyyy“2017”Padded to at least 4 digits
yyyyy“02017”Padded to at least 5 digits
ISOWeek YearY7Minimum necessary digits
YY“17”Least significant 2 digits
YYY“017”, “2017”Padded to at least 3 digits
YYYY“2017”Padded to at least 4 digits
YYYYY“02017”Padded to at least 5 digits
Related Gregorian Yearr, rr, rr+2017Minimum necessary digits
Cyclic YearU, UU, UUU“甲子”Abbreviated
UUUU“甲子” (for now)Wide
UUUUU“甲子” (for now)Narrow
Extended Yearu+4601Minimim necessary digits
QuarterQ2Single digit
QQ“02”Two digits
QQQQ“2nd quarter”Wide
Standalone Quarterq2Single digit
qq“02”Two digits
qqqq“2nd quarter”Wide
MonthM9Single digit
MM“09”Two digits
Standalone MonthL9Single digit
LL“09”Two digits
Week of Yearw2, 22Single digit
ww02, 22Two digits, zero padded
Week of MonthW2Single digit
Day of YearD3, 33, 333Minimum necessary digits
DD03, 33, 333Minimum of 2 digits, zero padded
DDD003, 033, 333Minimum of 3 digits, zero padded
Day of Monthd2, 22Minimum necessary digits
dd02, 22Two digits, zero padded
Day of WeekE, EE, EEE“Tue”Abbreviated
e2Single digit
ee“02”Two digits
Standalone Day of Weekc, cc2Single digit
AM or PMa, aa, aaa“am.”Abbreviated
Noon, Mid, AM, PMb, bb, bbb“mid.”Abbreviated
Flexible time periodB, BB, BBB“at night”Abbreviated
BBBB“at night”Wide
BBBBB“at night”Narrow
Hourh, K, H, kSee the table below
Minutem3, 10Minimim digits of minutes
mm“03”, “12”Two digits, zero padded
Seconds3, 48Minimim digits of seconds
ss“03”, “48”Two digits, zero padded
Fractional SecondsS3, 48Minimim digits of fractional seconds
SS“03”, “48”Two digits, zero padded
MillsecondsA+4000, 63241Minimim digits of milliseconds since midnight
Generic non-location TZv“Etc/UTC”:time_zone key, unlocalised
vvvv“unk”Generic timezone name. Currently returns only “unk”
Specific non-location TZz..zzz“UTC”:zone_abbr key, unlocalised
zzzz“GMT”Delegates to zone_gmt/4
Timezone IDV“unk”:zone_abbr key, unlocalised
VV“Etc/UTCDelegates to zone_gmt/4
VVV“Unknown City”Exemplar city. Not supported.
VVVV“GMT”Delegates to `zone_gmt/4
ISO8601 FormatZ..ZZZ“+0100”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and minutes
ZZZZ“+01:00”Delegates to `zone_gmt/4
ZZZZZ“+01:00:10”ISO8601 Extended format with optional seconds
ISO8601 plus ZX“+01”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and optional minutes or “Z”
XX“+0100”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and minutes or “Z”
XXX“+0100”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and minutes, optional seconds or “Z”
XXXX“+010059”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and minutes, optional seconds or “Z”
XXXXX“+01:00:10”ISO8601 Extended Format with hours and minutes, optional seconds or “Z”
ISO8601 minus Zx“+0100”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and optional minutes
xx“-0800”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and minutes
xxx“+01:00”ISO8601 Extended Format with hours and minutes
xxxx“+010059”ISO8601 Basic Format with hours and minutes, optional seconds
xxxxx“+01:00:10”ISO8601 Extended Format with hours and minutes, optional seconds
GMT FormatO“+0100”Short localised GMT format
OOOO“+010059”Long localised GMT format

Formatting symbols for hour of day

The hour of day can be formatted differently depending whether a 12- or 24-hour day is being represented and depending on the way in which midnight and noon are represented. The following table illustrates the differences:


Relative Date, Time and DateTime Localization Formatting

The primary API for formatting relative dates and datetimes is Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string/2. Some examples:

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(-1)
      {:ok, "1 second ago"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(1)
      {:ok, "in 1 second"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(1, unit: :day)
      {:ok, "tomorrow"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(1, unit: :day, locale: "fr")
      {:ok, "demain"}

      iex> Cldr.DateTime.Relative.to_string(1, unit: :day, format: :narrow)
      {:ok, "tomorrow"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(1234, unit: :year)
      {:ok, "in 1,234 years"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(1234, unit: :year, locale: "fr")
      {:ok, "dans 1 234 ans"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(31)
      {:ok, "in 31 seconds"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(~D[2017-04-29], relative_to: ~D[2017-04-26])
      {:ok, "in 3 days"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(310, format: :short, locale: "fr")
      {:ok, "dans 5 min"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(310, format: :narrow, locale: "fr")
      {:ok, "+5 min"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string 2, unit: :wed, format: :short
      {:ok, "in 2 Wed."}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string 1, unit: :wed, format: :short
      {:ok, "next Wed."}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string -1, unit: :wed, format: :short
      {:ok, "last Wed."}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string -1, unit: :wed
      {:ok, "last Wednesday"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string -1, unit: :quarter
      {:ok, "last quarter"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string -1, unit: :mon, locale: "fr"
      {:ok, "lundi dernier"}

      iex> Cldr.Date.Relative.to_string(~D[2017-04-29], unit: :ziggeraut)
      {:error, {Cldr.UnknownTimeUnit,
       "Unknown time unit :ziggeraut.  Valid time units are [:day, :hour, :minute, :month, :second, :week, :year, :mon, :tue, :wed, :thu, :fri, :sat, :sun, :quarter]"}}

Known restrictions and limitations

Although largely complete (with respect to the CLDR data), there are some known limitations as of release 1.0.

  • Week of year The week of year is returned for the format symbol w. Currently it considers weeks of the year to be those defined for the ISOWeek calendar. This means that January 1st may not be the start of the first week of the year and December 31st may not be the last day of the last week of the year.

  • Week of month The week of the mornth is returned for format symbol W. Currently it considers weeks of the month to start on the first day of the month which is inconsistent with the ISOWeek standard and different from the week_of_year calculation.

  • Timezones Although the timezone format codes are supported (formatting symbols v, V, x, X, z, Z, O) not all localisations are performed. Only that data available within a DateTime struct is used to format timezone data.

  • First day of week is always Monday All formatting is done with Monday as the first day of the week. In several territories this is not a reasonable assumption. CLDR provides data to support a different starting day for the week. This will be implemented before version 1.0

  • Only calendar is Gregorian (Calendar.ISO) CLDR defines many calendar systems (see Cldr.Calendar.known_calendars/0) however only Calendar.ISO (proleptic Gregorian calendar) is supported in this release.


Note that :ex_cldr_dates_times requires Elixir 1.5 or later.

Add ex_cldr_dates_time as a dependency to your mix project:

defp deps do
    {:ex_cldr_dates_times, "~> 1.0.0-rc or ~> 1.0"}

then retrieve ex_cldr_dates_times from hex:

mix deps.get
mix deps.compile