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Date::Manip::Delta(3) User Contributed Perl DocumentationDate::Manip::Delta(3)

       Date::Manip::Delta - Methods for working with deltas

	  use Date::Manip::Delta;
	  $date = new Date::Manip::Delta;

       This module contains functions useful in parsing and manipulating
       deltas.	As used in this module, a delta refers only to the amount of
       time elapsed.  It includes no information about a starting or ending

       There are several concepts involved in understanding the properties of
       a delta.

       standard and business delta
	   Deltas can refer to changes in either the full calendar (standard
	   deltas), or they can refer to a business calendar.

	   With a business delta, non-business days are ignored.  Typically,
	   this includes holidays and weekends.	 In addition, the part of the
	   day outside of business hours is also ignored, so a day may only
	   run from 08:00 to 17:00 and everything outside of this is ignored.

	   The length of a work day is usually not 24 hours.  It is defined by
	   the start and end of the work day and is set using the config
	   variables: WorkDayBeg and WorkDayEnd (WorkDay24Hr may be used to
	   specify a 24-hour work day).	 The work week is defined using the
	   config variables: WorkWeekBeg and WorkWeekEnd.

	   Daylight saving time will have no impact on business calculations
	   because time changes occur at night (usually on the weekends)
	   outside of business hours.  As such, they are ignored in business

	   A delta consists of 7 fields: years, months, weeks, days, hours,
	   minutes, and seconds, usually expressed as a colon-separated
	   string.  For example:


	   refers to an elapsed amount of time 1 year, 2 months, 3 weeks, 4
	   days, 5 hours, 6 minutes, and 7 seconds long.

	   A delta can be normalized or not. A normalized delta has values
	   which have been made consistent with the type of data they
	   represent. For example, a delta of:


	   is not normalized since 70 seconds is better expressed as 1 minute
	   10 seconds. The normalized form of this delta would be:


	   By default, deltas are converted to a normalized form in most
	   functions that create/modify a delta, but this can be overridden.

       sets of fields
	   When normalizing a delta, fields are grouped together in sets where
	   the exact relationship is known between all fields in the set.

	   For example, there is an exactly known relationship between seconds
	   and minutes (Date::Manip ignores leap seconds, so there are always
	   60 seconds in a minute), so they will be in one set.

	   Likewise, the relationship between years and months is known, so
	   they will be in one set.  There is no known relationship between
	   months and weeks though, so they will be in separate sets.

	   A standard (i.e. non-business) delta contains 3 sets of fields:

	      approximate:  year, month
	      semi-exact:   week, day
	      exact:	    hour, minute, second

	   The following known relationships exist:

	      1 year   = 12 months
	      1 week   = 7 days
	      1 hour   = 60 minutes
	      1 minute = 60 seconds

	   The following semi-approximate relationships are used to link the
	   semi-exact and exact fields when required:

	      1 day    = 24 hours

	   The following approximate relationship is used to link the
	   approximate fields to the semi-exact fields when required:

	      1 year = 365.2425

	   Business deltas differ slightly,  Since daylight saving times
	   effects are ignored, the length of the work day is constant, but
	   due to there being holidays, the length of a week is not known, so
	   a business delta has the following sets of fields:

	      approximate:  year, month
	      semi-exact:   week
	      exact:	    day, hour, minute, second

	   and the relationships used are:

	      1 year   = 12 months
	      1 day    = length of business day
	      1 hour   = 60 minutes
	      1 minute = 60 seconds

	   The semi-approximate relationship may be used to link the semi-
	   approximate and exact fields together:

	      1 week   = X  (length of business week in days)

	   and the following approximate relationship may be used:

	      1 year   = X/7 * 365.2425

	   When normalizing a delta, no data from one set will ever be mixed
	   with data from another set.

	   As a result, the following delta is normalized:


	   Although 8 weeks is clearly more than 1 month, we don't know the
	   relationship between the two, so they don't mix.

       exact, semi-exact, and approximate deltas
	   An exact delta is one which every value is of an exactly known
	   length (i.e. it only includes the exact fields listed above).

	   A semi-exact delta is a delta which includes the exact fields as
	   well as semi-exact ones.

	   An approximate delta can include any of the fields.

	   So, the delta:


	   is approximate.  The delta:


	   is exact.  The delta:


	   is semi-exact (if it is non-business) or exact (if it is business).

	   The term "semi-exact" needs a little explanation.  Date::Manip
	   tries to do things in a way which humans think of them.  It is
	   immediately recognized that the approximate fields are of
	   completely unknown length, and the exact fields are of known
	   length. The "semi-exact" fields are termed such since humans have a
	   way of looking at them which is consistent, even if it is not

	   For example, a day is thought of as the same wall clock time on two
	   successive days, so from noon on one day to noon the next day is
	   one day.  Usually that is 24 hours (for standard deltas), but if
	   you cross a daylight saving time change, it might be 23 or 25 hours
	   (or something different if a very irregular time change occurs).
	   So where possible, in a standard delta, a day field will change the
	   date, but leave the time alone.

	   Likewise, a business week is thought of as 7 days (i.e. Wednesday
	   to Wednesday) regardless of whether there was a holiday in there.

	   Each field has a sign associated with it. For example, the delta "1
	   year ago" is written as:


	   The sign of any field is optional, and if omitted, it is the same
	   as the next higher field.  So, the following are identical:


	   Since there is no mixing of data between sets of fields, you can
	   end up with a delta with as many as four signs. So, the following
	   is a fully normalized business delta:


       fractional values
	   Fractional fields are allowed such as:

	      1.25 days
	      1.1 years

	   When parsing a delta with fractional fields, the delta will ALWAY
	   be normalized using the exact, semi-exact, and approximate
	   relationships described above.

	   For example, for a non-business delta, a delta of 1.1 years will
	   use the following relationships:

	      1 year = 365.2425 days
	      1 year = 12 months
	      1 day  = 24 hours

	   Since the delta includes approximate fields, as much of the 1.1
	   year portion of the delta will be stored in the approximate fields
	   as possible.

	   Using the above approximate relationships, we can see that:

	      1 month = 365.2425/12 days = 30.436875 days


	      1.1 years
	      = 1 year, 1.2 months
	      = 1 year, 1 month, 6.087375 days
	      = 1 year, 1 month, 6 days, 2 hours, 5 minutes, 49 seconds

	   Fractional seconds will be discarded (no rounding).

       err Please refer to the Date::Manip::Obj documentation for these

	      $err = $delta->parse($string [,$business] [,$no_normalize]);

	   This takes a string and parses it to see if it is a valid delta. If
	   it is, an error code of 0 is returned and $delta now contains the
	   value of the delta. Otherwise, an error code of 1 is returned and
	   an error condition is set in the delta.

	   A valid delta is in one of two forms: compact or expanded.

	   The compact format is a colon separated list of numbers (with
	   optional signs):


	   In the compact format, from 1 to 7 of the fields may be given.  For
	   example D:H:MN:S may be given to specify only four of the fields.
	   No spaces may be present in the compact format. It is allowed to
	   omit some of the fields. For example 5::3:30 is valid. In this
	   case, missing fields default to the value 0.

	   The expanded format has the fields spelled out in some language
	   specific form:

		 +4 hours +3mn -2second
		 + 4 hr 3 minutes -2
		 4 hour + 3 min -2 s
		 4 hr 2 s

	   A field in the expanded format has an optional sign, a number, and
	   a string specifying the type of field.  If the sign is absent, it
	   defaults to the sign of the next larger element.  So the following
	   are equivalent:

	      -4 hr 3 min 2 sec
	      -4 hr -3 min -2 sec

	   The valid strings (in English) specifying the field type are:

	      y:  y, yr, year, years
	      m:  m, mon, month, months
	      w:  w, wk, ws, wks, week, weeks
	      d:  d, day, days
	      h:  h, hr, hour, hours
	      mn: mn, min, minute, minutes
	      s:  s, sec, second, seconds

	   Other languages have similar abbreviations.

	   The "seconds" string may be omitted.	 The sign, number, and string
	   may all be separated from each other by any amount of whitespace.
	   The string specifying the unit must be separated from a following
	   number by whitespace or a comma, so the following example will NOT


	   At minimum, it must be expressed as:

	      4hours 3minutes
	      4 hours, 3 minutes

	   In the the expanded format, all fields must be given in the order:
	   Y M W D H MN S.  Any number of them may be omitted provided the
	   rest remain in the correct order. Numbers may be spelled out, so

	      in two weeks
	      in 2 weeks

	   both work.

	   Most languages also allow a word to specify whether the delta is an
	   amount of time after or before a fixed point. In English, the word
	   "in" refers to a time after a fixed point, and "ago" refers to a
	   point before a fixed point. So, the following deltas are

	     in 1 year

	   and the following are equivalent

	     1 year ago

	   The word "in" is completely ignored. The word "ago" has the affect
	   of reversing all signs that appear in front of the components of
	   the delta.  In other words, the following two strings are

	      -12 yr  6 mon ago
	      +12 yr +6 mon

	   (don't forget that there is an implied minus sign in front of the 6
	   in the first string because when no sign is explicitly given, it
	   carries the previously entered sign).

	   The in/ago words only apply to the expanded format, so the
	   following is invalid:

	      1:0:0 ago

	   A delta may be standard (non-business) or business. By default, a
	   delta is treated as a non-business delta, but this can be changed
	   in two different ways.

	   The first way to make a delta be business is to pass in the 2nd
	   argument to the function.  The $business argument may be a string
	   'standard' or 'business' to explicitly set the type of delta.
	   Alternately, any non-zero value for $business will force the delta
	   to be a business delta.

	   So the following are identical:


	   and the following are identical:


	   The second way to specify whether a delta is business or non-
	   business is to include a key word in the string that is parsed.
	   When this is done, these strings override any value of the
	   $business argument.

	   Most languages include a word like "business" which can be used to
	   specify that the resulting delta is a business delta or a non-
	   business delta. Other languages have equivalent words. The
	   placement of the word is not important. Also, the "business" word
	   can be included with both types of deltas, so the following are
	   valid and equivalent:

	      in 4 hours business
	      4:0:0 business
	      business 0:0:0:0:4:0:0

	   There are also words "exact" or "approximate" which may be included
	   in the delta for backward compatibility.  However, they will be
	   ignored.  The accuracy of delta (exact, semi-exact, approximate)
	   will be determined only by what fields are present in the delta.

	   When a delta is parsed, it is automatically normalized, unless the
	   $no_normalize argument is passed in.	 It can be the string
	   'nonormalize' or any non-zero value.	 If passing it as a non-zero
	   value, the $business argument MUST be included (though it can be
	   zero) in order to avoid ambiguity.

	   So the following are equivalent:


	      $str = $delta->input();

	   This returns the string that was parsed to form the delta.

	      $err = $delta->set($field,$val [,$no_normalize]);

	   This explicitly sets one or more fields in a delta.

	   $field can be any of the following:

	      $field   $val

	      delta    [Y,M,W,D,H,MN,S]	 sets the entire delta
	      business [Y,M,W,D,H,MN,S]	 sets the entire delta
	      standard [Y,M,W,D,H,MN,S]	 sets the entire delta
	      y	       YEAR		 sets one field
	      M	       MONTH
	      w	       WEEK
	      d	       DAY
	      h	       HOUR
	      m	       MINUTE
	      s	       SECOND

	      mode     business, standard

	   An error is returned if an invalid value is passed in.

	   When setting the entire delta with "business" or "normal", it flags
	   the delta as a business or non-business delta respectively. When
	   setting the entire delta with "delta", the flag is left unchanged.
	   Also, when setting the entire delta, signs are not carried from one
	   field to another.

	   By default, a delta is normalized, but passing $no_normalize as any
	   true value, this will not be done.

	   If $no_normalize is not passed in, the current value for the delta
	   (which defaults to 0) will be used.

	   For backwards compatibility, 'normal' can be used in place of
	   'standard', both as $field or as $val.

	      $out = $delta->printf($in);
	      @out = $delta->printf(@in);

	   This takes a string or list of strings which may contain any number
	   of special formatting directives. These directives are replaced
	   with information contained in the delta. Everything else in the
	   string is returned unmodified.

	   A directive always begins with '%'. They are described in the
	   section below in the section PRINTF DIRECTIVES.

	      $date2  = $delta->calc($date1 [,$subtract]);
	      $delta3 = $delta1->calc($delta2 [,$subtract]);

	   Please refer to the Date::Manip::Calc documentation for details.

	      $flag = $delta->type($op);

	   This tests to see if a delta is of a certain type. $op can be;

	      business	: returns 1 if it is a business delta
	      standard	: returns 1 if it is a standard (non-business delta)

	      exact	: returns 1 if it is exact
	      semi	: returns 1 if it is semi-exact
	      approx	: returns 1 if it is approximate

	      $val = $delta->value();
	      @val = $delta->value();

	   This returns the value of the delta. In scalar context, it returns
	   the printable string (equivalent to the printf directive '%Dt'). In
	   list context, it returns a list of fields.

	   undef is returned if there is no valid delta stored in $delta.


	   This converts a delta from one type to another.  $to can be
	   'exact', 'semi', or 'approx'.  The conversion uses the approximate
	   relationships listed above to convert the delta.

	   For example, if the exact non-business delta $delta contains:


	   then the following call:


	   would produce the semi-exact delta:


	   The result will always be normalized, and will be strictly positive
	   or negative (i.e. all fields will have the same sign).

	   This function can be used to take an exact delta and turn it into a
	   semi-exact delta (with a day being treated as 24 hours in non-
	   business mode).

	   There is currently no support for converting business to non-
	   business (or vice-versa).

	      $flag = $delta1->cmp($delta2);

	   This compares two deltas (using the approximate relationships
	   listed above) and returns -1, 0, or 1 which could be used to sort
	   them by length of time.

	   Both deltas must be valid, and both must be either business or non-
	   business deltas.  They do not need to be the same out of exact,
	   semi-exact, and approximate.

	   undef will be returned if either delta is invalid, or you try to
	   compare a business and non-business delta.

       The following printf directives are replaced with information from the
       delta. Directives may be replaced by the values of a single field in
       the delta (i.e. the hours or weeks field), the value of several fields
       expressed in terms of one of them (i.e. the number of years and months
       expressed in terms of months), or the directive may format either the
       entire delta, or portions of it.

       Simple directives
	   These are directives which print simple characters. Currently, the
	   only one is:

	      %%    Replaced by a single '%'

	   As an example:

		=> |%|

       Directives to print out a single field
	   The following directive is used to print out the value of a single
	   field. Spaces are included here for clarity, but are not in the
	   actual directive.

	      % [+] [pad] [width] Xv

	   Here, X is one of (y,M,w,d,h,m,s). The directive will print out the
	   value for that field (in the normalized delta).

	   If a '+' is included immediately after the '%', a sign will always
	   be included. By default, only negative values will include a sign.

	   'width' is any positive integer (without a sign). If 'width' is
	   included, it sets the length of the output string (unless the
	   string is already longer than that, in which case the 'width' is

	   If 'pad' is included, it may be the character '<', '>', or '0'. It
	   will be ignored unless 'width' is included.	If the formatted delta
	   field is shorter than 'width', it will be padded with spaces on the
	   left (if 'pad' is '<'), or right (if 'pad' is '>'), or it will be
	   padded on the left (after any sign) with zeroes (if 'pad' is '0').

	   In the following examples, $delta contains the delta: 1:2:3:4:5:6:7

	      $delta->printf('|Month: %Mv|');
		 => |Month: 2|

	      $delta->printf('|Day: %+05dv|');
		 => |Day: +0004|

	      $delta->printf('|Day: %+<5dv|');
		 => |Day:    +4|

	      $delta->printf('|Day: %>5sv|');
		 => |Day: 7    |

       Directives to print out several fields in terms of one of them
	   The following directive is used to print out the value of several
	   different fields, expressed in terms of a single field.

	      % [+] [pad] [width] [.precision] XYZ

	   Here, X, Y, and Z are each one of (y,M,w,d,h,m,s). The directive
	   will print out the value for fields Y through Z expressed in terms
	   of field X.

	   Y must come before Z in the sequence (y,M,w,d,h,m,s) or it can be
	   the same as Z.

	   So, to print the day and hour fields in terms of seconds, use the


	   Any time all of X, Y, and Z are from a single set of fields, exact
	   relationships are used.

	   If the X, Y, and Z fields do not all belong to the same set of
	   fields, approximate relationships are used.

	   For non-business deltas, an approximate relationship is needed to
	   link the Y/M part of the delta to the W/D part and a semi-
	   approximate relationship is needed to link the W/D part with the
	   H/MN/S part.	 These relationships are:

	      1 day    = 24 hours
	      1 year   = 365.2425

	   For business deltas, the approximate and semi-approximate
	   relationships used to link the fields together are:

	      1 week   = X    (length of business week in days)
	      1 year   = X/7 * 365.2425

	   For business deltas, the length of the day is defined using
	   WorkDayStart and WorkDayEnd.	 For non-business deltas, a day is 24
	   hours long (i.e. daylight saving time is ignored).

	   If 'precision' is included, it is the number of decimal places to
	   print. If it is not included, but 'width' is included, precision
	   will be set automatically to display the maximum number of decimal
	   places given 'width'.

	   If 'pad' is included, it may be the character '<', '>', or '0', and
	   is used in the same way as printing out a single field.

	   In the following examples, $delta contains the delta: 1:2:3:4:5:6:7

		 => |14.6900|
		 1 year, 2 months, 3 weeks is approximately
		 14.6900 months

       Directives to print out portions of the delta
	   The following directives may be used to print out some or all of a

	      % [+] [pad] [width] Dt
	      % [+] [pad] [width] DXY

	   The first directive will print out the entire delta.

	   The second will print out the delta from the X to Y fields
	   inclusive (where X and Y are each one of (y,M,w,d,h,m,s) and X must
	   come before Y in the sequence).

	   'pad' is optional and can be either '<' or '>' meaning to pad on
	   the left or right with spaces. It defaults to '<'.

	   If a '+' is included immediately following the '%', every field
	   will have a sign attached. Otherwise, only the leftmost field in
	   each set of fields will include a sign.

		  => |+1:2:+3:+4:5:6:7|

		  => |+1:+2:+3:+4|

       None known.

       Please refer to the Date::Manip::Problems documentation for information
       on submitting bug reports or questions to the author.

       Date::Manip	  - main module documentation

       This script is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
       under the same terms as Perl itself.

       Sullivan Beck (

perl v5.16.3			  2014-04-30		 Date::Manip::Delta(3)

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