As we welcome in the new year, if you are like us, you might struggle to remember the new date, let alone the order it should appear in when you denote it. The transition from 2018 to 2019 can be a headache, but did you know that ISO has a standard for that. Yes, even the date has a proper format, and it’s laid out in ISO 8601, the Date and Time Format Standard. ISO 8601 presents dates and times in a standardized format thereby removing confusion in international communication.

What is ISO 8601?

ISO 8601 is the international standard for recording and denoting dates and times using numbers to avoid confusion from different interpretation.

What is the ISO 8601 Date Format?

The internationally agreed way to represent the date is YYYY-MM-DD.

The internationally agreed way to represent time is hh:mm:ss.ffffff

When denoting time alongside the date, the Standard format is YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss.ffffff +|-hh:mm

YYYY = four-digit year
MM = two-digit month
DD = two-digit day of the month
T = a set character indicating the start of the time element
hh = two digits of an hour (00 through 23)
mm = two digits of a minute
ss = two digits of a second
mmm = three digits of a millisecond (000 through 999)
+|- = time zone designator (Z or +hh:mm or -hh:mm), the + or – values indicate how far ahead or behind a time zone is from the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) zone.

US time zone values are as follows:

EDT = -4:00
EST/CDT = -5:00
CST/MDT = -6:00
MST/PDT = -7:00
PST = -8:00

The History of ISO 8601

The first edition of the ISO 8601 standard was published as ISO 8601:1988 in 1988. It unified and replaced several older ISO standards on various aspects of date and time notation: ISO 2014, ISO 2015, ISO 2711, ISO 3307, and ISO 4031. It has been superseded by a second edition ISO 8601:2000 in 2000 and by the current third edition ISO 8601:2004 published on 2004-12-01. ISO 8601 was prepared by, and is under the direct responsibility of, ISO Technical Committee TC 154.

ISO 2014, though superseded, is the standard that originally introduced the all-numeric date notation in most-to-least-significant order [YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]. The ISO week numbering system was introduced in ISO 2015, and the identification of days by ordinal dates was originally defined in ISO 2711.

ISO 8601 is currently in the process of being updated and split into two parts anticipated to be released in March 2019. – Source

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