Converting string into datetime


Question

I've got a huge list of date-times like this as strings:

Jun 1 2005  1:33PM
Aug 28 1999 12:00AM

I'm going to be shoving these back into proper datetime fields in a database so I need to magic them into real datetime objects.

This is going through Django's ORM so I can't use SQL to do the conversion on insert.

1
1956
8/15/2019 6:54:04 PM

Accepted Answer

datetime.strptime is the main routine for parsing strings into datetimes. It can handle all sorts of formats, with the format determined by a format string you give it:

from datetime import datetime

datetime_object = datetime.strptime('Jun 1 2005  1:33PM', '%b %d %Y %I:%M%p')

The resulting datetime object is timezone-naive.

Links:

Notes:

  • strptime = "string parse time"
  • strftime = "string format time"
  • Pronounce it out loud today & you won't have to search for it again in 6 months.
3117
4/28/2018 6:17:54 AM

Use the third party dateutil library:

from dateutil import parser
dt = parser.parse("Aug 28 1999 12:00AM")

It can handle most date formats, including the one you need to parse. It's more convenient than strptime as it can guess the correct format most of the time.

It very useful for writing tests, where readability is more important than performance.

You can install it with:

pip install python-dateutil

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