Converting an ISO 8601 Formatted Date to a Date Object Acceptable Format

Converting an ISO 8601 Formatted Date to a Date Object Acceptable Format


You need to convert an ISO 8601 formatted date string into values that can be used to create a new Date object instance. 


Parse the ISO 8601 string into the individual date values, and use it to create a new JavaScript Date object instance:

var dtstr= "2014-3-04T19:35:32Z";

dtstr = dtstr.replace(/\D/g," ");

var dtcomps = dtstr.split(" ");

// modify month between 1 based ISO 8601 and zero based Date


var convdt = new Date(Date.UTC.apply(null,dtcomps));

console.log(convdt.toString()); // Tue, 04 Mar 2014 19:35:32 GMT 

The ISO 8601 is an international standard that defines a representation for both dates
and times. It’s not unusual for applications that provide APIs to require ISO 8601 for‐
matting. It’s also not unusual for most dates to and from APIs to be in UTC, rather than
local time.

The solution shows one variation of ISO 8601 formatting. The following demonstrate
some others:

• 2009
• 2009-10
• 2009-10-15
• 2009-10-15T19:20
• 2009-10-15T19:20:20
• 2009-10-15T19:20:20.50

The values are year, month, date, then T to represent time, and hours, minutes, seconds,
and fractions of sections. The time zone also needs to be indicated. If the date is in UTC,
the time zone is represented by the letter Z, as shown in the solution:


Otherwise, the time zone is represented as +hh:mm to represent a time zone ahead of
UTC, and -hh:mm to represent a time zone behind UTC.

If you attempt to create a JavaScript Date with an ISO 8601 formatted string, you’ll get
an invalid date error. Instead, you have to convert the string into values that can be used
with the JavaScript Date.

The simplest way to parse an ISO 8601 formatted string is to use the String split()
method. To facilitate using split(), all non-numeric characters are converted to one
specific character. In the solution, the non-numeric characters are converted to a space:

dtstr = dtstr.replace(/\D/g, " ");

The ISO-formatted string would be converted to:

2014 03 04 19 35 32

ISO months are one-based values of 1 through 12. To use the month value in JavaScript
Dates, the month needs to be adjusted by subtracting 1:

Finally, the new Date is created. To maintain the UTC setting, the Date’s UTC() method
is used to create the date in universal time, which is then passed to the Date constructor.

Rather than listing out each and every single date value, the apply() method is used,
with null as the first value, and all of the arguments as an array as the second:

var convdt = new Date(Date.UTC.apply(null,dtcomps));

The task gets more challenging when you have to account for the different ISO 8601
formats.A JavaScript application that contains a more complex
JavaScript function that converts from ISO 8601 to allowable Date values. 

The first test in the function ensures that the ISO 8601 format can be converted to a JavaScript Date.

This means that, at a minimum, the formatted string must have a month, day, and year.

Converting ISO 8601 formatted dates to JavaScript Dates

<!DOCTYPE html>
 <title>Converting ISO 8601 date</title>
 <p>Datestring in ISO 8601 format: <input type="text" id="datestring" />
 <button id="dateSubmit">Convert Date</button>
 <div id="result"></div>

<script type="text/javascript">
 document.getElementById("dateSubmit").onclick=function() {

 var dtstr = document.getElementById("datestring").value;
 var convdate = convertISO8601toDate(dtstr);
 function convertISO8601toDate(dtstr) {
 // replace anything but numbers by spaces
 dtstr = dtstr.replace(/\D/g," ");
 // trim any hanging white space
 dtstr = dtstr.replace(/\s+$/,"");

// split on space
 var dtcomps = dtstr.split(" ");
 // not all ISO 8601 dates can convert, as is
 // unless month and date specified, invalid
 if (dtcomps.length < 3) return "invalid date";
 // if time not provided, set to zero
 if (dtcomps.length < 4) {
 dtcomps[3] = 0;
 dtcomps[4] = 0;
 dtcomps[5] = 0;
 // modify month between 1 based ISO 8601 and zero based Date
 var convdt = new Date(Date.UTC.apply(null,dtcomps));
 return convdt.toUTCString();
Another test incorporated is whether a time is given. If there aren’t enough array elements to cover a time, then the hours, minutes, and seconds are set to zero when the UTC date is created. There are other issues related to dates not covered in the application. For instance, if the ISO 8601 formatted string isn’t in UTC time, converting it to UTC can require additional code, both to parse the time zone and to adjust the date to incorporate the time zone. 


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