Feature #13860


A proposal for a new, simpler class-method addition to Time - for the time being calling it but another name is fine; and the ability to omit '%' tokens as arguments to it

Added by shevegen (Robert A. Heiler) about 5 years ago. Updated over 4 years ago.

Target version:


Hello ruby-folks,

On reddit someone linked in this:

Just in the event that this may not be available lateron, or nobody
wants to look at external links, I'll very briefly note that this is
about PHP; and how PHP is handling time - at the least to a degree.

I am not interested in most of the examples from there, except for the
first one, which is this:

echo date("Y-m-d"); 


Specifically, the date("Y-m-d") notation.

I believe that this is quite easy to read for many people - Year,
month, day. Seems simple to me.

In Ruby, there are or may be many other ways - the two that I tend to
use the most, all come via "%d.%m.%Y" # My favourite notation "%H:%M:%S" # And to complement, notation

To me it seemed to be the most flexible; I could also of course use
both together such as "%d.%m.%Y-%H:%M:%S". The primary reason why I tend
to keep them different is that I often have to return the current date,
but not always the hour-minutes-seconds notation. So I need the first
variant more frequently than the second variant.

However had, although the above does not bother me at all really, as
I usually use custom helper-methods, such as return_date or something
to point to these two invocations, I do have to say that the PHP date()
may actually be simpler and shorter to read - both from the
arguments that are passed to it, and also from the API call, than the
ruby variant.

Which brings me to the issue request here:

  • Would it be possible for ruby to also use a short or shorter variant,
    similar to PHP? It can be the same API, or a different name; I think
    that this is mostly secondary what the method name ultimately is,
    compared to the question over whether ruby would provide a simpler API
    here or not. And also the possibility to omit the '%' of course. I think
    that in the above examples, the '%' should not really be necessary if
    we already assigned a special meaning to the individual characters -
    at the least for a new method. It's ok to retain
    hebaviour how it is.

I do not mean to just copy/paste the PHP solution per se, necessarily,
but more generally, these two requests for the issue report here:

(a) Allow for arguments to have the '%' be omitted.

This may be for another method, so I do NOT suggest this for strftime()
to be the case, strftime() can remain as it is just fine; I just would
like to also see a shorter variant that is possible to use in ruby, just
like the PHP variant. This method could automatically prepend a '%' when
it "sees" something such as "Y-m-d". So the latter would then be similar
to "%Y-%m-%d". I hope I could explain what I mean there. :)

This may be fully equivalent to exactly this API call: "%Y-%m-%d"

I am currently unaware of time/date variants in Ruby that allow for this
or a similar use of arguments.

(b) Allow for simpler invocation examples, such as perhaps ...

I am not sure if date() is a good method name there, but if people have a
better idea, I am all for it. Giving things a proper name is hard.

I would suggest a short name though, as otherwise there is no real
advantage compared to So perhaps
would be ok nonetheless?

Ultimately, this would allow us to have a very short variant available as
well, similar as to what PHP would allow for. So, for example, the PHP
variant here:

echo date("Y-m-d");

would "translate" to this variant in Ruby, then:

puts "Y-m-d"

Almost the same amount of characters used. :D

For anyone who wants to have a look at Time and Date in Ruby before
chiming in, here are the links to the documentation of these two:

On a side note, I also wondered whether one could use"Y-m-d")
but I think that everything else aside, this might confuse people
more than do good - so a new method may be better.

I have also noticed ... so I thought about using it, such
as via 'H:M:S' - but I think that it may be better to have
it reside within Time, rather than Date. presenty only accepts
Floats rather than Strings as input, so it is probably also easier to add a
separate, new and different method rather than change an existing method.

I only had a brief look whether existing methods could be adapted but I
think - a new method may be better and easier altogether.

Internally, the proposal for would then just use
and also insert '%' characters accordingly, unless these characters already exist
there. So people could use both the '%' variant but also omit it and use the
non '%' variant, simply for more flexibility. Eeven though the variant with
fewer characters would be the main point why this issue request has been
written here. But if people want to use '%' even there, that is fine - I
do not intend to reduce flexibility, only to extend flexibility. :)

Sorry for this lengthy request here - please do feel free to close it at
any time if you feel it is not a good addition/idea/fit.

Updated by shyouhei (Shyouhei Urabe) about 5 years ago

Is there any reasons this has to be done in-core, instead of a gem? It seems everything needed to implement such thing as a gem is available... or do we miss something?


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