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Converting dd/mm/yyyy string into a unix timestamp

Posted on 2008-10-28
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Last Modified: 2013-12-13
Hi,

I have dates stored in my database as strings in the format:

dd/mm/yyyy

and i want to convert them to a unix timestamp when I pull them out of the database so that I can sort them by date.

(when i use sort on the original string it seems to treat it as a nuber e.g. 20/05/1985 as 20051985)

Thanks
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Question by:DrZork101
3 Comments
 
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Cornelia Yoder earned 2000 total points
ID: 22820741
The best thing to do would be to convert your database to use standard date format.  Then you could sort using the query.

If that is impossible, then you can retrieve the dates into standard format using

SELECT CONCAT(SUBSTRING(mydatefield,7,4),'-',SUBSTRING(mydatefield,4,2),'-',SUBSTRING(mydatefield,1,2)) FROM mytable

If you must retrieve them in the dd/mm/yyyy format, then you can use php to convert by
$year = substr($olddate,6,4);
$month = substr($olddate,3,2);
$day = substr($olddate,0,2);

and then use mktime() to convert to a unix timestamp by

$timestamp= mktime(0,0,0,$month,$day,$year);

http://us3.php.net/manual/en/function.mktime.php

http://us3.php.net/manual/en/function.mktime.php


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Expert Comment

by:Chorch
ID: 22820778
Hello,

this should work:

$date = '20/05/1985';
list($d, $m, $y) = explode('/', $date);
echo mktime(0, 0, 0, $m, $d, $y);

Anyway, consider storing dates as 'date' in mysql table so that you can order directly in query.

Regards
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LVL 111

Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 22821116
In data base storage, you should use a DATE or DATETIME data type.  These use the ISO 8601 date format which looks (more or less) like YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.

The ISO format lets you sort the dates.  It also lets you use strtotime() to get UNIX timestamps from the dates or parts of the dates without the overhead of mktime().  This means it is easy to do date-related calculations.

Using a combination of date() and strtotime() you will find that your life gets much easier fast!  So I vote with YoderCM on the approach - refactor the database to incorporate the correct data type.  More information is available here:
http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/date-and-time-functions.html

HTH, ~Ray
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