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Java Date and Time Patterns

Date and time formats are specified by date and time pattern strings. Within date and time pattern strings, unquoted letters from 'A' to 'Z' and from 'a' to 'z' are interpreted as pattern letters representing the components of a date or time string. Text can be quoted using single quotes (') to avoid interpretation."''" represents a single quote. All other characters are not interpreted; they're simply copied into the output string during formatting or matched against the input string during parsing.
The following pattern letters are defined (all other characters from 'A' to 'Z' and from 'a' to 'z' are reserved):
LetterDate or Time ComponentPresentationExamples
GEra designatorTextAD
yYearYear199696
MMonth in yearMonthJulyJul07
wWeek in yearNumber27
WWeek in monthNumber2
DDay in yearNumber189
dDay in monthNumber10
FDay of week in monthNumber2
EDay in weekTextTuesdayTue
aAm/pm markerTextPM
HHour in day (0-23)Number0
kHour in day (1-24)Number24
KHour in am/pm (0-11)Number0
hHour in am/pm (1-12)Number12
mMinute in hourNumber30
sSecond in minuteNumber55
SMillisecondNumber978
zTime zoneGeneral time zonePacific Standard TimePSTGMT-08:00
ZTime zoneRFC 822 time zone-0800
Pattern letters are usually repeated, as their number determines the exact presentation:
  • Text: For formatting, if the number of pattern letters is 4 or more, the full form is used; otherwise a short or abbreviated form is used if available. For parsing, both forms are accepted, independent of the number of pattern letters.
  • Number: For formatting, the number of pattern letters is the minimum number of digits, and shorter numbers are zero-padded to this amount. For parsing, the number of pattern letters is ignored unless it's needed to separate two adjacent fields.
  • Year: For formatting, if the number of pattern letters is 2, the year is truncated to 2 digits; otherwise it is interpreted as a number.For parsing, if the number of pattern letters is more than 2, the year is interpreted literally, regardless of the number of digits. So using the pattern "MM/dd/yyyy", "01/11/12" parses to Jan 11, 12 A.D.
    For parsing with the abbreviated year pattern ("y" or "yy"), SimpleDateFormat must interpret the abbreviated year relative to some century. It does this by adjusting dates to be within 80 years before and 20 years after the time the SimpleDateFormat instance is created. For example, using a pattern of "MM/dd/yy" and a SimpleDateFormat instance created on Jan 1, 1997, the string "01/11/12" would be interpreted as Jan 11, 2012 while the string "05/04/64" would be interpreted as May 4, 1964. During parsing, only strings consisting of exactly two digits, as defined by Character.isDigit(char), will be parsed into the default century. Any other numeric string, such as a one digit string, a three or more digit string, or a two digit string that isn't all digits (for example, "-1"), is interpreted literally. So "01/02/3" or "01/02/003" are parsed, using the same pattern, as Jan 2, 3 AD. Likewise, "01/02/-3" is parsed as Jan 2, 4 BC.
  • Month: If the number of pattern letters is 3 or more, the month is interpreted as text; otherwise, it is interpreted as a number.

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