Time representation

This page is here because I advocate the use of the ISO 8601 standard for written representation of date and time.

It is very common to find dates written in many different forms, in ways that can create confusion or which make it hard to read and quickly interpret. I believe it would be good if dates would be written in a single format, easily understandable. Fortunately we even have an ISO standard available for this purpose:


ISO 8601 specifies what I believe to be a very good formatting for writing dates, beginning with the largest time unit, down to the smallest time unit. I.e., starting with the year and ending with seconds.
For instance, the date in which I am writing this entry would be: 2006-07-05. If you have a bunch of files named with dates, writing them in this way will guarantee you can sort those files by date, when sorting alphabetically.

ISO 8601 also allows for two-digit years (06 instead of 2006), but I much prefer to have 4-digit years. You never know when you are going to need a file… writing “06” may be correctly interpreted as the year in 2006, but wait a few years, and you won’t know if it refers to the month of June, the 6th day, or 2006.

I hope this page will help spread the word about ISO 8601 and to encourage more people to use this format instead of other formats. For more information, you may consult the Wikipedia page.

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