Java string to date conversion

0 votes

What is the best way to convert a String in the format 'January 2, 2010' to a Date in Java?

Ultimately, I want to break out the month, the day, and the year as integers so that I can use

Date date = new Date();
date.setlong currentTime = date.getTime();

to convert the date into time.

Dec 29, 2020 in Java by anonymous
• 8,910 points

2 answers to this question.

0 votes

That's the hard way and those java.util.Date setter methods have been deprecated since Java 1.1 (1997). Simply format the date using SimpleDateFormat using a format pattern matching the input string.

In your specific case of "January 2, 2010" as the input string:

  1. "January" is the full text month, so use the MMMM pattern for it
  2. "2" is the short day-of-month, so use the d pattern for it.
  3. "2010" is the 4-digit year, so use the yyyy pattern for it.
String string = "January 2, 2010";
DateFormat format = new SimpleDateFormat("MMMM d, yyyy", Locale.ENGLISH);
Date date = format.parse(string);
System.out.println(date); // Sat Jan 02 00:00:00 GMT 2010

Note the importance of the explicit Locale argument. If you omit it, then it will use the default locale which is not necessarily English as used in the month name of the input string. If the locale doesn't match with the input string, then you would confusingly get a java.text.ParseException even though when the format pattern seems valid.

Here's an extract of relevance from the javadoc, listing all available format patterns:

Letter  Date or Time Component  Presentation        Examples
------  ----------------------  ------------------  -------------------------------------
G       Era designator          Text                AD
y       Year                    Year                1996; 96
Y       Week year               Year                2009; 09
M/L     Month in year           Month               July; Jul; 07
w       Week in year            Number              27
W       Week in month           Number              2
D       Day in year             Number              189
d       Day in month            Number              10
F       Day of week in month    Number              2
E       Day in week             Text                Tuesday; Tue
u       Day number of week      Number              1
a       Am/pm marker            Text                PM
H       Hour in day (0-23)      Number              0
k       Hour in day (1-24)      Number              24
K       Hour in am/pm (0-11)    Number              0
h       Hour in am/pm (1-12)    Number              12
m       Minute in hour          Number              30
s       Second in minute        Number              55
S       Millisecond             Number              978
z       Time zone               General time zone   Pacific Standard Time; PST; GMT-08:00
Z       Time zone               RFC 822 time zone   -0800
X       Time zone               ISO 8601 time zone  -08; -0800; -08:00

Note that the patterns are case sensitive and that text based patterns of four characters or more represent the full form; otherwise a short or abbreviated form is used if available. So e.g. MMMMM or more is unnecessary.

Here are some examples of valid SimpleDateFormat patterns to parse a given string to date:

Input string                            Pattern
------------------------------------    ----------------------------
2001.07.04 AD at 12:08:56 PDT           yyyy.MM.dd G 'at' HH:mm:ss z
Wed, Jul 4, '01                         EEE, MMM d, ''yy
12:08 PM                                h:mm a
12 o'clock PM, Pacific Daylight Time    hh 'o''clock' a, zzzz
0:08 PM, PDT                            K:mm a, z
02001.July.04 AD 12:08 PM               yyyyy.MMMM.dd GGG hh:mm aaa
Wed, 4 Jul 2001 12:08:56 -0700          EEE, d MMM yyyy HH:mm:ss Z
010704120856-0700                       yyMMddHHmmssZ
2001-07-04T12:08:56.235-0700            yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSZ
2001-07-04T12:08:56.235-07:00           yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSXXX
2001-W27-3                              YYYY-'W'ww-u

An important note is that SimpleDateFormat is not thread safe. In other words, you should never declare and assign it as a static or instance variable and then reuse it from different methods/threads. You should always create it brand new within the method local scope

Hope this helps!

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answered Dec 29, 2020 by Gitika
• 65,910 points

edited Jul 4, 2023 by Khan Sarfaraz
0 votes

We can convert String to Date in java using parse() method of DateFormat and SimpleDateFormat classes.

import java.text.SimpleDateFormat;  

import java.util.Date;  

public class StringToDateExample1 {  

public static void main(String[] args)throws Exception {  

    String sDate1="31/12/1998";  

    Date date1=new SimpleDateFormat("dd/MM/yyyy").parse(sDate1);  



  1. Output:

    31/12/1998	Thu Dec 31 00:00:00 IST 1998
answered Dec 29, 2020 by Nikita

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