Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RFC 3339-compliant Unicode date format pattern

Here is a quick note just to say that if you need to generate RFC 3339 timestamps or ISO 8601-compliant combined date/time representations, here is the Unicode date format pattern to do so:

This could come in handy if, for example, you are using Apple's NSDateFormatter class. NSDateFormatter has no predefined style corresponding to RFC 3339 / ISO 8601 format so you'll need to use a format specifier string instead; NSDateFormatter format strings comply with the Unicode date format patterns. So you can use the format pattern above to parse or output strings that can be exchanged with other RFC 3339 / ISO 8601 compliant systems.

For example, the following Objective-C code will print out the current timestamp as an RFC 3339 / ISO 8601 compliant combined date/time string:
NSDateFormatter *rfc3339 = [[NSDateFormatter alloc] init];
[rfc3339 setDateFormat:@"yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSSZ"];

NSDate *now = [NSDate date];
NSLog(@"%@", [rfc3339 stringFromDate:now]);
[rfc3339 release];

At the time of this writing, the output looked like "2010-08-17T16:38:21.9640-0700".