about - tech blog -
wildlink.com

Wildlink's Technology Blog
An occasionally updated list of informative articles.
Pulled from our internal wiki.
ColdFusion - A simple central date formatting function
2016-01-19

Problem

Centralize date handling to make it easier to change an app's date format.

Solution

Rather than have DateFormat(date, 'dd-mmm-yyyy') all over the codebase, the call was abstracted up to a global function. The single central function lets the programmer change the format for the entire codebase with one change rather than doing a search/replace. This is included in our common_utils.cfm file in all apps.

Using a single function also lets us add some a test to make sure the variable even contains a date type as well as a way for the programmer to provide a 'not date' result.

We can also check for "null" dates - dates before an arbitrary cutoff - which is useful in some data models where we want to require a value in a date field, but use "invalid" dates to represent initial values (happens occasionally for various reasons).

string function dateFormatShort(any inDate = "", string nullValue = "") {
    if (    isValid("date", arguments.inDate)
        AND arguments.inDate GT createDate(1970, 1, 1)) {
        return dateFormat(arguments.inDate, "dd-mmm-YYYY");
    }
    return arguments.nullValue;
}   // dateFormatShort

This is kind of a dumb function, but it has turned out to be fairly useful.

We also have a similar timeFormatShort and a DateFormatFull that includes date and time formatting.

Usage

<div>
    Last Login Date : #nvl(login_date, '--- User has not logged in ---')#
</div>
Back to the Tech Blog
Blog engine: 1.2.2