JSP - Handling Date

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One of the most important advantages of using JSP is that you can use all the methods available in core Java. This tutorial would take you through Java provided Date class which is available in java.util package, this class encapsulates the current date and time.

The Date class supports two constructors. The first constructor initializes the object with the current date and time.

Date( )

The following constructor accepts one argument that equals the number of milliseconds that have elapsed since midnight, January 1, 1970

Date(long millisec)

Once you have a Date object available, you can call any of the following support methods to play with dates:

SNMethods with Description
1boolean after(Date date)
Returns true if the invoking Date object contains a date that is later than the one specified by date, otherwise, it returns false.
2boolean before(Date date)
Returns true if the invoking Date object contains a date that is earlier than the one specified by date, otherwise, it returns false.
3Object clone( )
Duplicates the invoking Date object.
4int compareTo(Date date)
Compares the value of the invoking object with that of date. Returns 0 if the values are equal. Returns a negative value if the invoking object is earlier than date. Returns a positive value if the invoking object is later than date.
5int compareTo(Object obj)
Operates identically to compareTo(Date) if obj is of class Date. Otherwise, it throws a ClassCastException.
6boolean equals(Object date)
Returns true if the invoking Date object contains the same time and date as the one specified by date, otherwise, it returns false.
7long getTime( )
Returns the number of milliseconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970.
8int hashCode( )
Returns a hash code for the invoking object.
9void setTime(long time)
Sets the time and date as specified by time, which represents an elapsed time in milliseconds from midnight, January 1, 1970
10String toString( )
Converts the invoking Date object into a string and returns the result.

Getting Current Date & Time

This is very easy to get current date and time in JSP program. You can use a simple Date object with toString() method to print current date and time as follows:

<%@ page import="java.io.*,java.util.*, javax.servlet.*" %>
<html>
<head>
<title>Display Current Date & Time</title>
</head>
<body>
<center>
<h1>Display Current Date & Time</h1>
</center>
<%
   Date date = new Date();
   out.print( "<h2 align=\"center\">" +date.toString()+"</h2>");
%>
</body>
</html>

Now let us keep about code in CurrentDate.jsp and then call this JSP using URL http://localhost:8080/CurrentDate.jsp. This would produce following result:

Display Current Date & Time

Mon Jun 21 21:46:49 GMT+04:00 2010

Try to refresh URL http://localhost:8080/CurrentDate.jsp and you would find difference in seconds everytime you would refresh.

Date Comparison:

As I mentioned above you can use all the available Java methods in your JSP scripts. In case you need to compare two dates, following are the methods:

  • You can use getTime( ) to obtain the number of milliseconds that have elapsed since midnight, January 1, 1970, for both objects and then compare these two values.

  • You can use the methods before( ), after( ), and equals( ). Because the 12th of the month comes before the 18th, for example, new Date(99, 2, 12).before(new Date (99, 2, 18)) returns true.

  • You can use the compareTo( ) method, which is defined by the Comparable interface and implemented by Date.

Date Formatting using SimpleDateFormat:

SimpleDateFormat is a concrete class for formatting and parsing dates in a locale-sensitive manner. SimpleDateFormat allows you to start by choosing any user-defined patterns for date-time formatting.

Let us modify above example as follows:

<%@ page import="java.io.*,java.util.*" %>
<%@ page import="javax.servlet.*,java.text.*" %>
<html>
<head>
<title>Display Current Date & Time</title>
</head>
<body>
<center>
<h1>Display Current Date & Time</h1>
</center>
<%
   Date dNow = new Date( );
   SimpleDateFormat ft = 
   new SimpleDateFormat ("E yyyy.MM.dd 'at' hh:mm:ss a zzz");
   out.print( "<h2 align=\"center\">" + ft.format(dNow) + "</h2>");
%>
</body>
</html>

Compile above servlet once again and then call this servlet using URL http://localhost:8080/CurrentDate. This would produce following result:

Display Current Date & Time

Mon 2010.06.21 at 10:06:44 PM GMT+04:00

Simple DateFormat format codes:

To specify the time format use a time pattern string. In this pattern, all ASCII letters are reserved as pattern letters, which are defined as the following:

CharacterDescriptionExample
GEra designatorAD
yYear in four digits2001
MMonth in yearJuly or 07
dDay in month10
hHour in A.M./P.M. (1~12)12
HHour in day (0~23)22
mMinute in hour30
sSecond in minute55
SMillisecond234
EDay in weekTuesday
DDay in year360
FDay of week in month2 (second Wed. in July)
wWeek in year40
WWeek in month1
aA.M./P.M. markerPM
kHour in day (1~24)24
KHour in A.M./P.M. (0~11)10
zTime zoneEastern Standard Time
'Escape for textDelimiter
"Single quote`

For a complete list of constant available methods to manipulate date, you can refer to standard Java documentation.



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