Updated 2014-08-20 01:25:13 by AMG

Nowadays there's the [clock::iso8601] package in Tcllib:

KBK (2004-11-29) --

The clock command has always asserted in the documentation of its free-form parser that it is capable of parsing ISO 8601 date/time strings. The documentation lies. It is capable of parsing only a couple of the many possible formats that an ISO8601 point-in-time specification can take.

In Tcl 8.5, moreover, we are deprecating free-form scan in clock in favor of having the caller specify the expected format. The -format option to the clock command, however, is over specific - it may be that we know that an input string is expected to "be in ISO8601 format," while still not knowing the precise format (for instance, whether it is year-month-day of month or year-week-day of week; whether the year has two digits or four; and so on).

It seems, therefore, that we need an intermediate layer that can examine a string that is known to be in ISO8601 format and figure out a -format string to pass to clock. This process is not overly difficult, although getting decent performance out of it is perhaps a trifle tricky. The code on this page is an initial attempt at an ISO8601 parser, presented so that the community can comment on it.

Among the open questions:

  • Does the code implement the right functionality?
  • Does the interface look reasonable?
  • What is the proper medium to include this? (KBK is more inclined to put it in tcllib than in the Tcl Core proper.)

 package provide iso8601 0.1
 package require Tcl 8.5
 namespace eval iso8601 {
     namespace export parse_date parse_time
     # Enumerate the patterns that we recognize for an ISO8601 date as both
     # the regexp patterns that match them and the [clock] patterns that scan
     # them.
     variable DatePatterns {
         {\d\d\d\d-\d\d-\d\d}            {%Y-%m-%d}
         {\d\d\d\d\d\d\d\d}              {%Y%m%d}
         {\d\d\d\d-\d\d\d}               {%Y-%j}
         {\d\d\d\d\d\d\d}                {%Y%j}
         {\d\d-\d\d-\d\d}                {%y-%m-%d}
         {\d\d\d\d\d\d}                  {%y%m%d}
         {\d\d-\d\d\d}                   {%y-%j}
         {\d\d\d\d\d}                    {%y%j}
         {--\d\d-\d\d}                   {--%m-%d}
         {--\d\d\d\d}                    {--%m%d}
         {--\d\d\d}                      {--%j}
         {---\d\d}                       {---%d}
         {\d\d\d\d-W\d\d-\d}             {%G-W%V-%u}
         {\d\d\d\dW\d\d\d}               {%GW%V%u}
         {\d\d-W\d\d-\d}                 {%g-W%V-%u}
         {\d\dW\d\d\d}                   {%gW%V%u}
         {-W\d\d-\d}                     {-W%V-%u}
         {-W\d\d\d}                      {-W%V%u}
         {-W-\d}                         {%u}
     # MatchTime -- (constructed procedure)
     #   Match an ISO8601 date/time string and indicate how it matched.
     # Parameters:
     #   string -- String to match.
     #   fieldArray -- Name of an array in caller's scope that will receive
     #                 parsed fields of the time.
     # Results:
     #   Returns 1 if the time was scanned successfully, 0 otherwise.
     # Side effects:
     #   Initializes the field array.  The keys that are significant:
     #           - Any date pattern in 'DatePatterns' indicates that the
     #             corresponding value, if non-empty, contains a date string
     #             in the given format.
     #           - The patterns T, Hcolon, and Mcolon indicate a literal
     #             T preceding the time, a colon following the hour, or
     #             a colon following the minute.
     #           - %H, %M, %S, and %Z indicate the presence of the
     #             corresponding parts of the time.
     proc init {} {
         variable DatePatterns
         set cmd {regexp -expanded -nocase -- {PATTERN} $timeString ->}
         set re \(?:\(?:
         set sep {}
         foreach {regex interpretation} $DatePatterns {
             append re $sep \( $regex \)
             append cmd " " [list field($interpretation)]
             set sep |
         append re \) {(T|[[:space:]]+)} \)?
         append cmd { field(T)}
         append re {(\d\d)(?:(:?)(\d\d)(?:(:?)(\d\d)))}
         append cmd { field(%H) field(Hcolon) } \
             {field(%M) field(Mcolon) field(%S)}
         append re {[[:space:]]*(Z|[-+]\d\d\d\d)?}
         append cmd { field(%Z)}
         set cmd [string map [list {{PATTERN}} [list $re]] \
         proc MatchTime { timeString fieldArray } "
             upvar 1 \$fieldArray field
     rename init {}
 # iso8601::parse_date --
 #       Parse an ISO8601 date/time string in an unknown variant.
 # Parameters:
 #       string -- String to parse
 #       args -- Arguments as for [clock scan]; may include any of
 #               the '-base', '-gmt', '-locale' or '-timezone options.
 # Results:
 #       Returns the given date in seconds from the Posix epoch.
 proc iso8601::parse_date { string args } {
     variable DatePatterns
     foreach { regex interpretation } $DatePatterns {
         if { [regexp "^$regex\$" $string] } {
             return [eval [linsert $args 0 \
                               clock scan $string -format $interpretation]]
     return -code error "not an iso8601 date string"
 # iso8601::parse_time --
 #       Parse a point-in-time in ISO8601 format
 # Parameters:
 #       string -- String to parse
 #       args -- Arguments as for [clock scan]; may include any of
 #               the '-base', '-gmt', '-locale' or '-timezone options.
 # Results:
 #       Returns the given time in seconds from the Posix epoch.
 proc iso8601::parse_time { timeString args } {
     variable DatePatterns
     MatchTime $timeString field
     set pattern {}
     foreach {regex interpretation} $DatePatterns {
         if { $field($interpretation) ne {} } {
             append pattern $interpretation
     append pattern $field(T)
     if { $field(%H) ne {} } {
         append pattern %H $field(Hcolon)
         if { $field(%M) ne {} } {
             append pattern %M $field(Mcolon)
             if { $field(%S) ne {} } {
                 append pattern %S
     if { $field(%Z) ne {} } {
         append pattern %Z
     return [eval [linsert $args 0 clock scan $timeString -format $pattern]]
 # Usage examples
 if { [info exists ::argv0] && ( $::argv0 eq [info script] ) } {
     puts "iso8601::parse_date"
     puts [iso8601::parse_date 1970-01-02 -timezone :UTC]
     puts [iso8601::parse_date 1970-W01-5 -timezone :UTC]
     puts [time {iso8601::parse_date 1970-01-02 -timezone :UTC} 1000]
     puts [time {iso8601::parse_date 1970-W01-5 -timezone :UTC} 1000]
     puts "iso8601::parse_time"
     puts [clock format [iso8601::parse_time 2004-W33-2T18:52:24Z] \
               -format {%X %x %z} -locale system]
     puts [clock format [iso8601::parse_time 18:52:24Z] \
               -format {%X %x %z} -locale system]
     puts [time {iso8601::parse_time 2004-W33-2T18:52:24Z} 1000]
     puts [time {iso8601::parse_time 18:52:24Z} 1000]

de: To say it again in public I think, the new 8.5 clock scanning capabilities are a great feature. Thanks a lot, kbk! That iso 8601 scanner (I take my hat off to you that you tend to do really the whole job) is an important piece on top of the new clock functionality. Though, it does currently support only a part of the so-called extended format. Example:
 iso8601::parse_time 1985-04-12T10:15:30+04

returns the error "input string does not match supplied format" (the example date is out of the ISO 8601:1997, 5.4.1. Just checked: 8601:2000 still has the same example).

KBK Congratulations, you found a bug in the [clock scan] implementation. Fixed in tcl/generic/clock.tcl,v 1.12.

I think I've found a related bug in your script (nice work though).

iso8601::parse_time 1985-04-12T10:15:30+04:00

returns the error "input string does not match supplied format". I got the format from the W3 link (and it's what our customer uses, we're having fun with Tcl8.4 and trying to clock scan this). It seems the regexp for detecting a timezone is expecting 4 digits without a colon?
         append re {[[:space:]]*(Z|[-+]\d\d\d\d)?}

should this be
         append re {[[:space:]]*(Z|[-+]\d\d:\d\d)?}

or have I goofed? -- DC --

On second thoughts, if I use
         append re {[[:space:]]*(Z|[-+]\d\d:?(\d\d)?)?}

It allows a TZ of +04:00, +0400 or +04 (which I think is right according to ISO). -- DC --

LV So, is the above code going to appear in Tcl 8.5, or tcllib 2.0 (or whatever the next tcllib release version is?]

Some web pages discussing the ISO standard follow. I was hoping to find a set of test data that could be used in the tcl test suite.

See also: Parsing RFC2822 dates and times