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Normalizing Dates and Times

The getDate() method parses strings containing dates in localized formats. The results are returned in a structured array, with well-defined keys for each part of the date. In addition, the array will contain a key 'date_format' showing the format string used to parse the input date string. Since a localized date string may not contain all parts of a date/time, the key-value pairs are optional. for example, if only the year, month, and day is given, then all time values are suppressed from the returned array, and vice-versa if only hour, minute, and second were given as input. If no date or time can be found within the given input, an exception will be thrown.

If setOption(array('fix_date' => true)) is set the getDate() method adds a key 'fixed' with a whole number value indicating if the input date string required "fixing" by rearranging the day, month, or year in the input to fit the format used.

Table 108. Key values for getDate() with option 'fix_date'

value meaning
0 nothing to fix
1 fixed false month
2 swapped day and year
3 swapped month and year
4 swapped month and day

For those needing to specify explicitly the format of the date string, the following format token specifiers are supported. If an invalid format specifier is used, such as the PHP 'i' specifier when in ISO format mode, then an error will be thrown by the methods in Zend_Locale_Format that support user-defined formats.

These specifiers (below) are a small subset of the full "ISO" set supported by Zend_Date's toString(). If you need to use PHP date() compatible format specifiers, then first call setOptions(array('format_type' => 'php')). And if you want to convert only one special format string from PHP date() compatible format to "ISO" format use convertPhpToIsoFormat(). Currently, the only practical difference relates to the specifier for minutes ('m' using the ISO default, and 'i' using the PHP date format).

Table 109. Return values

getDate() format character Array key Returned value Minimum Maximum
d day integer 1 31
M month integer 1 12
y year integer no limit PHP integer's maximum
h hour integer 0 PHP integer's maximum
m minute integer 0 PHP integer's maximum
s second integer 0 PHP integer's maximum

Example 580. Normalizing a date

<?php
$dateString 
Zend_Locale_Format::getDate(
    
'13.04.2006',
    array(
        
'date_format' => 'dd.MM.yyyy',
    )
);

print_r($dateString); // outputs:

Array
(
    [
date_format] => dd.MM.yyyy
    
[locale] => de_DE
    
[day] => 13
    
[month] => 04
    
[year] => 2006
)

// creates a Zend_Date object for this date
$dateObject = new Zend_Date('13.04.2006''dd.MM.yyyy');

print_r($dateObject); // outputs:

Zend_Date Object
(
    [
_locale:Zend_Date:private] => de_DE
    
[_fractional:Zend_Date:private] => 0
    
[_precision:Zend_Date:private] => 3
    
[_unixTimestamp:Zend_Date_DateObject:private] => 1144879200
    
[_timezone:Zend_Date_DateObject:private] => Europe/Berlin
    
[_offset:Zend_Date_DateObject:private] => -3600
    
[_syncronised:Zend_Date_DateObject:private] => 0
    
[_dst:protected] => 1
)

// alternatively, some types of problems with input data can be
// automatically corrected
$date Zend_Locale_Format::getDate(
    
'04.13.2006',
    array(
        
'date_format' => 'dd.MM.yyyy',
        
'fix_date'    => true,
    )
);

print_r($date); // outputs:

Array
(
    [
date_format] => dd.MM.yyyy
    
[locale] => de_DE
    
[day] => 13
    
[month] => 04
    
[year] => 2006
    
[fixed] => 4
)

Since getDate() is "locale-aware", specifying the $locale is sufficient for date strings adhering to that locale's format. The option 'fix_date' uses simple tests to determine if the day or month is not valid, and then applies heuristics to try and correct any detected problems. Note the use of 'Zend_Locale_Format::STANDARD' as the value for 'date_format' to prevent the use of a class-wide default date format set using setOptions(). This forces getDate to use the default date format for $locale.

Example 581. Normalizing a date by locale

<?php
$locale 
= new Zend_Locale('de_AT');
$date Zend_Locale_Format::getDate('13.04.2006',
                                    array(
'date_format' =>
                                              
Zend_Locale_Format::STANDARD,
                                          
'locale' => $locale)
                                   );

print_r ($date);

A complete date and time is returned when the input contains both a date and time in the expected format.

Example 582. Normalizing a date with time

<?php
$locale 
= new Zend_Locale('de_AT');
$date Zend_Locale_Format::getDate('13.04.2005 22:14:55',
                                    array(
'date_format' =>
                                                
Zend_Locale_Format::STANDARD,
                                          
'locale' => $locale)
                                    );

print_r ($date);

If a specific format is desired, specify the $format argument, without giving a $locale. Only single-letter codes (H, m, s, y, M, d), and MMMM and EEEE are supported in the $format.

Example 583. Normalizing a userdefined date

<?php
$date 
Zend_Locale_Format::getDate('13200504T551422',
                                    array(
'date_format' =>
                                              
'ddyyyyMM ssmmHH')
                                   );

print_r ($date);

The format can include the following signs :

Table 110. Format definition

Format Letter Description
d or dd 1 or 2 digit day
M or MM 1 or 2 digit month
y or yy 1 or 2 digit year
yyyy 4 digit year
h 1 or 2 digit hour
m 1 or 2 digit minute
s 1 or 2 digit second

Examples for proper formats are

Table 111. Example formats

Formats Input Output
dd.MM.yy 1.4.6 ['day'] => 1, ['month'] => 4, ['year'] => 6
dd.MM.yy 01.04.2006 ['day'] => 1, ['month'] => 4, ['year'] => 2006
yyyyMMdd 1.4.6 ['day'] => 6, ['month'] => 4, ['year'] => 1

Database date format

To parse a database date value (f.e. MySql or MsSql), use Zend_Date's ISO_8601 format instead of getDate().

The option 'fix_date' uses simple tests to determine if the day or month is not valid, and then applies heuristics to try and correct any detected problems. getDate() automatically detects and corrects some kinds of problems with input, such as misplacing the year:

Example 584. Automatic correction of input dates

<?php
$date 
Zend_Locale_Format::getDate('41.10.20',
                                    array(
'date_format' => 'ddMMyy',
                                          
'fix_date' => true)
                                   );

// instead of 41 for the day, the 41 will be returned as year value
print_r ($date);

Zend Framework