Synopsis 32: Setting Library - Temporal


    Carl Mäsak <cmasak@gmail.com>
    Martin Berends <mberends@autoexec.demon.nl>
    Moritz Lenz <moritz@faui2k3.org>
    Olivier Mengué <dolmen@cpan.org>
    Kodi Arfer
    (and others named in FOOTNOTE at bottom)


    Created: 19 Mar 2009

    Last Modified: 29 Nov 2010
    Version: 21

Time and time again

Two chief aspects of a Perl 6 synopsis seem to contribute to it having some extra volatility: how far it sits from the rest of the data model of the language, and how everyday the topic in question is. S32 has always been volatile for these reasons; S32::Temporal doubly so.

The truth is that while there are many interests to satisfy in the case of a Temporal module, and many details to take into account, there's also the danger of putting too much in. Therefore, Perl 6's Temporal module takes the DateTime module on CPAN as a starting point, adapts it to the Perl 6 OO system, and boils it down to bare essentials.

One of the unfortunate traditions that Perl 6 aims to break is that of having a set of "core" modules which could better serve the community on CPAN than in the Perl core. For this reason, this module doesn't handle all the world's time zones, locales, date formatters or calendars. Instead, it handles a number of "natural" operations well enough for most people to be happy, and shows how those who want more than that can load a module, or roll their own variants. Put differently, the below are the aspects of time that are felt to be stable enough to belong in the core.

Note that in this document, the term "POSIX time" means the number of seconds since midnight UTC of 1 January 1970, not counting leap seconds. This is the same as the output of the ISO C time function. Unlike in Perl 5, time does not return fractional seconds, since POSIX does not define the concept during leap seconds. You want to use now for that instead.


Returns the current POSIX time as an Int. Use now for an epoch-agnostic measure of atomic seconds (i.e., an Instant). Note that both time and now are not functions, but terms of the pseudo-constant variety; as such they never take an argument. Saying time() doesn't work unless you happen to have a function of that name defined.


A DateTime object, which is immutable, describes a moment in time as it would appear on someone's calendar and someone's clock. You can create a DateTime object from an Instant or from an Int; in the latter case, the argument is interpreted as POSIX time.

    my $now = DateTime.new(now);
    my $now = DateTime.new(time);

These two statements are equivalent except that time doesn't know about leap seconds or fractions of seconds. Ambiguous POSIX times (such as 915148800, which could refer to 1998-12-31T23:59:60Z or 1999-01-01T00:00:00Z) are interpreted as non-leap seconds (so in this case, the result would be 1999-01-01T00:00:00Z).

Or you can use named arguments:

    my $moonlanding = DateTime.new( :year(1969), :month(7), :day(16),
                                    :hour(20), :minute(17) ); # UTC time

This form allows the following arguments:

    :year       required
    :month      defaults to 1   range 1..12
    :day        defaults to 1   range 1..31
    :hour       defaults to 0   range 0..23
    :minute     defaults to 0   range 0..59
    :second     defaults to 0   range 0.0..^62.0

Another multi exists with Date :date instead of :year, :month and :day (and the same defaults as listed above).

All of the aforementioned forms of new accept two additional named arguments. :formatter is a callable object that takes a DateTime and returns a string. The default formatter creates an ISO 8601 timestamp (see below). :timezone is a callable object that takes a DateTime to convert and a Bool that specifies the direction of the conversion: to UTC if true, from UTC if false. The :timezone signifies the necessary conversion by returning an integer giving the difference from UTC in seconds. Alternatively, :timezone can be a number, which is interpreted as a static offset from UTC. The default time zone is 0 (i.e., UTC). The system's local time zone is available as $*TZ.

A shorter way to send in date and time information is to provide a single string with a full ISO 8601 date and time. The example from above would then be

    my $moonlanding = DateTime.new( '1969-07-16T20:17:00Z' ); # UTC time

The general form is [date]T[time][offset], with [date] given as YYYY-MM-DD and [time] given as hh:mm:ss. The final Z is a short form for +0000, meaning UTC. (Note that while this form of new accepts all of +0000, -0000, and Z, the default formatter for DateTime always expresses UTC as Z.) The general notation for the [offset] is +hhmm or -hhmm. The time zone of the new object is assumed to be a static offset equal to the [offset]. The [offset] is optional; if omitted, a :timezone argument is permitted; if this too is omitted, UTC is assumed. Finally, the constructor also accepts a :formatter argument.

With all the above constructors, if you attempt to pass in values that are outside of the ranges specified in the list above, you'll get an exception. An exception will also be thrown if the given day (like 31 April 2000 or 29 February 2006) or second (like 23:59:60 on 1 January 2000) doesn't exist. The same checks are run when you produce an object with clone:

    my $dt = DateTime.new(:year(1999), :month(1), :day(29));
    say $dt.clone(:year(2000), :month(2)); # 2000-02-29T00:00:00Z
    say $dt.clone(:year(1999), :month(2)); # WRONG; 1999 was a common year

To convert an object from one time zone to another, use the in-timezone method:

    my $dt = DateTime.new('2005-02-01T15:00:00+0900');
    say $dt.hour;                       # 15
    $dt = $dt.in-timezone(6 * 60 * 60); # 6 hours ahead of UTC
    say $dt.hour;                       # 12

The utc method is shorthand for in-timezone(0), and the local method is short for in-timezone($*TZ).

In general, DateTime is not required to check for ambiguous or invalid local times caused by Daylight Saving Time. However, if $dt is an unambiguous DateTime, the object returned by $dt.in-timezone(...) is required to remember its actual offset from UTC, so that, for example, the default formatter can generate the right string.

The truncated-to method allows you to "clear" a number of time values below a given resolution:

    my $dt = DateTime.new('2005-02-01T15:20:35Z');
    say $dt.truncated-to(:hour); # 2005-02-01T15:00:00Z

An argument of :week yields an object with the date of the last Monday (or the same date, if it already is a Monday) and with hours, minutes, and seconds all set to zero:

    say $dt.truncated-to(:week); # 2005-01-31T00:00:00Z

There's one additional constructor: now. It works just like DateTime.new(now) except that there is no positional parameter and the :timezone argument defaults to $*TZ.


There are methods year, month, day, hour, minute, second, timezone, and formatter, giving you the corresponding values of the DateTime object. The day method also has the synonym day-of-month.

The method Instant returns an Instant, and the method posix returns a POSIX time.

The method week returns two values, the week year and week number. (These are also available through the methods week-year and week-number, respectively.) The first week of the year is defined by ISO as the one which contains the fourth day of January. Thus, dates early in January often end up in the last week of the prior year, and similarly, the final few days of December may be placed in the first week of the next year.

There's a day-of-week method, which returns the day of the week as a number 1..7, with 1 being Monday and 7 being Sunday.

The weekday-of-month method returns a number 1..5 indicating the number of times a particular weekday has occurred so far during that month, the day itself included. For example, June 9, 2003 is the second Monday of the month, and so this method returns 2 for that day.

The days-in-month method returns the number of days in the current month of the current year. So in the case of January, days-in-month always returns 31, whereas in the case of February, days-in-month returns 28 or 29 depending on the year.

The day-of-year method returns the day of the year, a value between 1 and 366.

The method is-leap-year returns a Bool, which is true if and only if the current year is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar.

The method whole-second returns the second truncated to an integer.

The Date method returns a Date object, and is the same as Date.new($dt.year, $dt.month, $dt.day).

The method offset returns the object's current offset from UTC. In general, $dt.offset is $dt.timezone($dt, True) if $dt.timezone does Callable and $<dt.timezone> itself otherwise. The exception is when $dt is ambiguous but was created by converting an unambiguous DateTime. In that case, implementations will need to return a precomputed offset to guarantee correctness.


Date objects represent a day without a time component. Like DateTime objects, they are immutable. They allow easier manipulation by assuming that integers always mean days.

Days, Months and days of week are 1-based.


    Date.today();               # today's date
    Date.new(DateTime.now);     # same
    Date.new('2010-12-20');     # YYYY-MM-DD format
    Date.new(:year(2010), :month(12), :day(20));
    Date.new(2010, 12, 20);
    Date.new(2010, 1, 20).clone(month => 12);
    Date.new(2010, 12, 24).truncated-to(:week);

The constructors die with a helpful error message if month or day are out of range.

Instance methods

Date objects support all of the following accessors, which work just like their DateTime equivalents:


The <Str> method returns a string of the form 'yyyy-mm-dd'.


    $d.succ                     # Date.new('2010-12-25')
    $d.pred                     # Date.new('2010-12-23')
    $d - Date.new('1984-03-02') # 9793      # (difference in days)
    $d - 42                     # Date.new('2010-11-12')
    $d + 3                      # Date.new('2010-12-27')
    3  + $d                     # Date.new('2010-12-27')


The authors of the current rewrite want to mention, with thanks, the indirect contribution made by the previous authors:

    The authors of the related Perl 5 docs
    Rod Adams <rod@rodadams.net>
    Larry Wall <larry@wall.org>
    Aaron Sherman <ajs@ajs.com>
    Mark Stosberg <mark@summersault.com>
    Carl Mäsak <cmasak@gmail.com>
    Moritz Lenz <moritz@faui2k3.org>
    Tim Nelson <wayland@wayland.id.au>
    Daniel Ruoso <daniel@ruoso.com>
    Dave Rolsky <autarch@urth.org>
    Matthew (lue) <rnddim@gmail.com>