Friday, September 02, 2016


Subtitle: Of course Year Month Day

I was recently involved in one of those Internet shouting competitions, where just everybody decided I was wrong.

The dispute was how to represent a date, in numerical form

Above you see a picture of the only parts of the world that use the following format

MMDDYY   i.e. Month (01-12), Day (01-31), Year (00-99)

Yes this is the very confusing (to me) standard that is used in the United States of America

Meanwhile in Europe we typically use

DDMMYY i.e. Day (01-31), Month (01-12), Year (00-99)

And of course I would argue that both these formats are dangerously wrong

The Correct Format
Is of course the one most Computer Professionals use

YYYYMMDD  i.e. Year (0000-9999), Month (01-12),  Day (01-31)

What is so good about this format?

- So dates before the year 2000 are understandable.  I have many computer files dating back to 1970 something and  writing 120170 or 011270 to me; would sort of point to the year 2070 not 1970

- IT SORTS NUMERICALLY.  This is the obvious and killer reason.   If you have a stack of files with dates at the beginning they sort alphanumerically.  Nearly all of our household files rely on this system.  It just works so well.

So let's hear it for YYYYMMDD, and if you are reading this in the year 10000 then yes, my system needs an urgent redesign/ upgrade.

And Finally
And, don't even get me started on the Imperial measurement system that some countries refuse to throw away, except of course when they want to design anything from a door to a car to a building.  Or perform any kind of Science based measurement. Then they use metric of course.