GETDATE(3) BSD Library Functions Manual GETDATE(3)
getdate, getdate_err -- convert user format date and time
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
struct tm *
getdate(const char *str);
extern int getdate_err;
The getdate() function converts a date or time character string pointed to by str into a
static tm structure described in tm(3).
The input string is parsed and interpreted using templates. A text file containing tem-
plates is specified by the environment variable DATEMSK. This should contain the full path
to the template file. Lines in the template file represent acceptable date and/or time con-
version specifications. These specifications are similar to those given for strptime(3).
The first line in the template file that matches the input string is used to interpret and
convert to internal time format.
Internal Format Conversion
The following rules apply to converting the input into the internal format.
o If only the weekday is given, the conversion assumes today when the weekday
matches today or the first future matching weekday.
o If only the month and no year is given, the conversion assumes the current month
when the month matches or the first future matching month. The first day of the
month is assumed if no day is given.
o If only the year is given, the values of the tm_mon, tm_mday, tm_wday, tm_yday,
and tm_isdst members of the returned struct tm are unspecified.
o If the century is given, but the year within the century is not given, the conver-
sion assumes the current year.
o If no hour, minute, and second are given, the conversion assumes the current hour,
minute, and second.
o If no date is given, the conversion assumes today when the given hour is greater
than the current hour and tomorrow when the given hour is less.
o If %Z is being scanned, then the broken-down time is based on the the current time
of the matched timezone and not the current runtime environment timezone.
If successful, the getdate() function returns a pointer to a static tm structure containing
the broken-down time. Otherwise, a null pointer is returned and getdate_err is set to indi-
cate the error.
The variable getdate_err can have the following values:
1 DATEMSK environment variable is null or undefined.
2 Cannot open the template file for reading.
3 Get file status failed for template file.
4 Template file is not a regular file.
5 Encountered an error while reading the template file.
6 Cannot allocate memory.
7 Input string does not match any line in the template file.
8 Input string is invalid (for example February 31) or could not be represented in a
DATEMSK The full path to the text file containing the templates for acceptable date and/or
An example template file that could be specified via the DATEMSK environment vari-
The following example shows the possible contents of a template file:
%A %B %d, %Y, %H:%M:%S
%m/%d/%y %I %p
at %A the %dst of %B in %Y
run job at %I %p, %B %dnd
%A den %d. %B %Y %H.%M Uhr
The following are examples of valid input for the above template:
10/1/87 4 PM
Firday September 18, 1987, 10:30:30
at monday the 1st of december in 1986
run job at 3 PM, december 2nd
The following examples show how local data and time specification can be defined in the tem-
Input String Line in Template
Friday 12:00:00 %A %H:%M:%S
The following examples illustrate the Internal Format Conversion rules given that the cur-
rent date is Mon Sep 22 12:19:47 EDT 1986 and the LC_TIME environment variable is set to the
default C locale.
Input String Line in Template Date
Mon %a Mon Sep 22 12:19:47 EDT 1986
Sun %a Sun Sep 28 12:19:47 EDT 1986
Fri %a Sun Sep 26 12:19:47 EDT 1986
September %B Mon Sep 1 12:19:47 EDT 1986
January %B Thu Jan 1 12:19:47 EST 1987
December %B Mon Dec 1 12:19:47 EST 1987
Sep Mon %b %a Mon Sep 1 12:19:47 EDT 1986
Jan Fri %b %a Fri Jan 2 12:19:47 EDT 1987
Dec Mon %b %a Mon Dec 1 12:19:47 EDT 1986
Jan Wed 1989 %b %a %Y Wed Jan 4 12:19:47 EST 1989
Fri 9 %a %H Fri Sep 26 09:00:00 EDT 1986
Feb 10:30 %b %H:%S Sun Feb 1 10:00:30 EST 1987
10:30 %H:%M Tue Sep 23 10:30:00 EDT 1986
13:30 %H:%M Tue Sep 22 13:30:00 EDT 1986
ctime(3), localtime(3), mktime(3), strftime(3), strptime(3), time(3)
The getdate() function conforms to IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (``POSIX.1'').
The getdate function appeared in AT&T System V Release 4 UNIX.
The getdate interface is inherently unsafe for multi-threaded programs or libraries, since
it returns a pointer to a static variable and uses a global state variable.
BSD April 14, 2011 BSD