Validating a date

What is the best way to validate a date that has been entered as a string?

I've been playing with Date() and SimpleDateFormat() and get totally confused when it comes to the Calendar class so any pointers greatly appreciated.
ssherlockAsked:
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ksalmanCommented:
Try something like this.

  DateFormat df = DateFormat.getDateInstance();
  myDate = df.parse(myString);
Mick BarryJava DeveloperCommented:
What format is your date string in?
ssherlockAuthor Commented:
For examplepurposes I am doing the following:
    SimpleDateFormat dfgmt = new SimpleDateFormat("dd-MM-yyyy HH:mm:ss");
    String startDate = "32-02-2001 12:15:12"; //Invalid date

    Date testDate = new Date(dfgmt.parse(startDate).getTime());
    String testString = dfgmt.format(testDate);

I want the above to somehow tell me that the date is invalid rather than just work something out.  

I've just had this horrid thought that you're going to mention Timezones :))  
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Mick BarryJava DeveloperCommented:
Looks like it's not doing any number verification.
Though I thought it should?

It'll already be taking your TimeZone into consideration.
vasan_srCommented:
the best way is to use simple date format....
ssherlockAuthor Commented:
vasan_ar said:
>the best way is to use simple date format....

But that's what I am doing - see the example above.  Entering the incorrect date given just returns 04-03-2001 rather than an error.  I need to be able to trap an error when a user enters a date that is so obviously invalid.
ksalmanCommented:
The parse will throw an parseException when there is something wrong with the date and thats you can trap the error.
ssherlockAuthor Commented:
Sorry if I'm being dense but wrapping the parse in a try catch with parseException says the class can't be found.  Using ParseException (note the capital P) and it works as before.  I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.  The code is as follows:
    try
    {
      Date testDate = new Date(dfgmt.parse(startDate).getTime());
      String testString = dfgmt.format(testDate);
      JLabel dateLabel = new JLabel(testString);
      contentPane.add(dateLabel);
    }
    catch (parseException e)
    {
      JLabel dateLabel = new JLabel("There was an error with the date");
      contentPane.add(dateLabel);
    }
k.jonesCommented:
You want to use the 'setLenient(false)' method of Calendar and SimpleDateFormat classes.  If you do not set to false, then the class will make a best effort to interpret invalid dates such as "32-02-2001 12:15:12" rather than throwing the exception that you would like.

Cheers,
Ken Jones
ssherlockAuthor Commented:
Can you point me towards any examples?

Thanks, Simon
ksalmanCommented:
Here is a sample code:

import java.text.DateFormat;
import java.text.ParseException;
import java.util.*;


public class Test
{
     public static void main(String args[])
     {
   try
   {
         String startDate = "03/30/00 1:43 PM";    

      Date now = new Date();
      DateFormat df = DateFormat.getDateInstance();
      DateFormat df1 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.SHORT, DateFormat.SHORT);
      DateFormat df2 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.MEDIUM, DateFormat.MEDIUM);
      DateFormat df3 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.LONG, DateFormat.LONG);
      DateFormat df4 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.FULL, DateFormat.FULL);
      String s = df.format(now);
      String s1 = df1.format(now);
      String s2 = df2.format(now);
      String s3 = df3.format(now);
      String s4 = df4.format(now);

      System.out.println("(Default) Today is " + s);
      System.out.println("(SHORT) Today is " + s1);
      System.out.println("(MEDIUM) Today is " + s2);
      System.out.println("(LONG) Today is " + s3);
      System.out.println("(FULL) Today is " + s4);
   
      df = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.SHORT, DateFormat.SHORT);
      df.setLenient(false);
      Date testDate = new Date(df.parse(startDate).getTime());
      String testString = df.format(testDate);
       System.out.println("test:" + testString);
     }
   catch (ParseException e)
   {
   System.out.println("test:" + e);
   }
     }
}

For more details you can also look at this Java World article

http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-12-2000/jw-1229-dates.html

HTH

ssherlockAuthor Commented:
ksalman,
Thanks. That was excellent and helped a lot.  As did the pointer to the web article.  Please submit your post as the answer.
Cheers, Simon.
ksalmanCommented:
Resubmitting as Answer as per ssherlock request.

Here is a sample code:

import java.text.DateFormat;
import java.text.ParseException;
import java.util.*;


public class Test
{
    public static void main(String args[])
    {
  try
  {
        String startDate = "03/30/00 1:43 PM";    

     Date now = new Date();
     DateFormat df = DateFormat.getDateInstance();
     DateFormat df1 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.SHORT, DateFormat.SHORT);
     DateFormat df2 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.MEDIUM, DateFormat.MEDIUM);
     DateFormat df3 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.LONG, DateFormat.LONG);
     DateFormat df4 = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.FULL, DateFormat.FULL);
     String s = df.format(now);
     String s1 = df1.format(now);
     String s2 = df2.format(now);
     String s3 = df3.format(now);
     String s4 = df4.format(now);

     System.out.println("(Default) Today is " + s);
     System.out.println("(SHORT) Today is " + s1);
     System.out.println("(MEDIUM) Today is " + s2);
     System.out.println("(LONG) Today is " + s3);
     System.out.println("(FULL) Today is " + s4);
 
     df = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.SHORT, DateFormat.SHORT);
     df.setLenient(false);
     Date testDate = new Date(df.parse(startDate).getTime());
     String testString = df.format(testDate);
      System.out.println("test:" + testString);
    }
  catch (ParseException e)
  {
  System.out.println("test:" + e);
  }
    }
}

For more details you can also look at this Java World article

http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-12-2000/jw-1229-dates.html

HTH

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