use of date format "yyyy/mm/dd" [writing]

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
I noticed something today while I was looking at a series of podcasts I had downloaded from BBC Radio. The names of the files downloaded are like "(programme title)-yyyymmdd-(episode title)". This was surprising because I had never seen the order "(yy)yy/mm/dd" (which we Japanese--and probably people in some other Asian countries too--use) used in documents etc. from English speaking countries. Obviously, you need to use this order if you want the files to line up in the correct oldest-to-newest (or vice versa) order. Am I right in thinking that you only use this order in computer file names?
 
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, it's natural in any computer use. Anyone who's programmed or who's had to arrange files* would find it natural to use this order, as well as the other styles used in everyday writing.

    * or designate newly discovered astronomical objects
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Re dates, there is of course the rather ludicrous situation where in the UK we put the day before the month but in the US the month is put before the day. So:

    US 10/08/2017 = October 8, 2017
    UK 10/08/2017 = 10 August 2017 (which has the virtue of not needing a comma!)
     

    Piatkow

    Senior Member
    English - London
    yyyy-mm-dd is the format laid down for data interchange in international standard ISO 8601
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks you all very much for the replies.

    It really helped, but the thread was somewhat too long and at one point I started switching off and found myself murmuring "Why don't we all use just the international format 'yyyy/mm/dd' from now on?..."

    Wiki has an article on who does what where.
    Thanks. That's a handy list.
     

    Piatkow

    Senior Member
    English - London
    The internationally agreed convention is yyyy-mm-dd. There is only confusion if you start inventing your own variants.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The internationally agreed convention is yyyy-mm-dd. There is only confusion if you start inventing your own variants.
    Agreed - it's just like the way numbers are presented, with big units on the left and progressively smaller units as one proceeds. But, the only problem is that the variants came before the "international agreement" so we are left with the mess.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think, although I'm not certain, that part of his point was that it's not yyyy/mm/dd but yyyy-mm-dd. At least that's how it is in MySQL databases.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think, although I'm not certain, that part of his point was that it's not yyyy/mm/dd but yyyy-mm-dd. At least that's how it is in MySQL databases.
    Not just MySQL databases, and not even just databases. A slash separates components of a path or URL in Unix, on the Web, and in other places. Using a date whose elements are separated by slashes in those places, or anywhere else where a file name might possibly be moved to one of those places (i.e., pretty much everywhere), is asking for trouble. Using hyphens is the best solution in computing, though it goes against the common practice of separating date elements by slashes in normal writing. Since the main purpose of the YYYY-MM-DD date format is to enable computers to sort dates properly, hyphens should generally be used with this format. That's why the international convention is what it is.
     
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