Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The So-Called Superiority of European Date Formats

Here's a question I sometimes ask of my European friends (As well as those folks who only think they're European. I'm talking about you Irish and Canadians, specifically):

If your calendar date formats are so much better and make so much more sense because they run from smaller units to larger -- Day/Month/Year...

How come your time formats aren't also that way -- Minutes/Hours?

I've never gotten a satisfactory answer.


Adam said...

The superiority is not the type of order, it's the fact that there is one at all.

The date runs in ascending, time runs descending but at least there is an actual order - the US format of month, day, year has no order whatsoever, no logical reasoning behind it.

Anonymous said...

the really cool date format is ISO 8601.

You can sort it alphabetically.

Perfesser Bear said...

Anonymous is right -- in ISO 8601 format, right now it's about 2011-01-27 16:45:00. Sure, you can sort it, but you can't use the extended format for DOS/Windows file names (it will gag on the colon every time). The short format is 20110127 164500; definitely sortable and file name worthy.

I have to worry about these things; as a Computer Scientist (at least, that's what my diploma says) I need to create files with standardized naming conventions so my colleagues can find and use them. Not that they really try; I guess it's easier to pester me and get the file.