Visual Studio 6.0

Class java.text.DateFormat

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public abstract class DateFormat
extends Format
implements Cloneable

DateFormat is an abstract class for date/time formatting subclasses which formats and parses dates or time in a language-independent manner. The date/time formatting subclass, such as SimpleDateFormat, allows for formatting (i.e., millis -> text), parsing (text -> millis), and normalization. Formats/Parses a date or time, which is the standard millis since 24:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970

DateFormat provides many class methods for obtaining default date/time formatters based on the default or a given loacle and a number of formatting styles. The formatting styles include FULL, LONG, MEDIUM, and SHORT. More detail and examples of using these styles are provided in the method descriptions.

DateFormat helps you to format and parse dates for any locale. Your code can be completely independent of the locale conventions for months, days of the week, or even the calendar format: lunar vs. solar.

To format a date for the current Locale, use one of the static factory methods:

  myString = DateFormat.getDateInstance().format(myDate);

If you are formatting multiple numbers, it is more efficient to get the format and use it multiple times so that the system doesn't have to fetch the information about the local language and country conventions multiple times.

  DateFormat df = DateFormat.getDateInstance();
  for (int i = 0; i < a.length; ++i) {
    output.println(df.format(myDate[i]) + "; ");

To format a number for a different Locale, specify it in the call to getDateInstance().

  DateFormat df = DateFormat.getDateInstance(Locale.FRANCE);

You can use a DateFormat to parse also.

  myDate = df.parse(myString);

Use getDate to get the normal date format for that country. There are other static factory methods available. Use getTime to get the time format for that country. Use getDateTime to get a date and time format. You can pass in different options to these factory methods to control the length of the result; from SHORT to MEDIUM to LONG to FULL. The exact result depends on the locale, but generally:

  • SHORT is completely numeric, such as 12.13.52 or 3:30pm
  • MEDIUM is longer, such as Jan 12, 1952
  • LONG is longer, such as January 12, 1952 or 3:30:32pm
  • FULL is pretty completely specified, such as Tuesday, April 12, 1952 AD or 3:30:42pm PST.

You can also set the time zone on the format if you wish. If you want even more control over the format or parsing, (or want to give your users more control), you can try casting the DateFormat you get from the factory methods to a SimpleDateFormat. This will work for the majority of countries; just remember to put it in a try block in case you encounter an unusual one.

You can also use forms of the parse and format methods with ParsePosition and FieldPosition to allow you to

  • pregressively parse through pieces of a string.
  • align any particular field, or find out where it is for selection on the screen.

See Also:
Format, NumberFormat, SimpleDateFormat, Calendar, GregorianCalendar, TimeZone