Python regex to match dates


Question

What regular expression in Python do I use to match dates like this: "11/12/98"?

1
35
2/4/2019 6:50:34 PM

Accepted Answer

Instead of using regex, it is generally better to parse the string as a datetime.datetime object:

In [140]: datetime.datetime.strptime("11/12/98","%m/%d/%y")
Out[140]: datetime.datetime(1998, 11, 12, 0, 0)

In [141]: datetime.datetime.strptime("11/12/98","%d/%m/%y")
Out[141]: datetime.datetime(1998, 12, 11, 0, 0)

You could then access the day, month, and year (and hour, minutes, and seconds) as attributes of the datetime.datetime object:

In [143]: date.year
Out[143]: 1998

In [144]: date.month
Out[144]: 11

In [145]: date.day
Out[145]: 12

To test if a sequence of digits separated by forward-slashes represents a valid date, you could use a try..except block. Invalid dates will raise a ValueError:

In [159]: try:
   .....:     datetime.datetime.strptime("99/99/99","%m/%d/%y")
   .....: except ValueError as err:
   .....:     print(err)
   .....:     
   .....:     
time data '99/99/99' does not match format '%m/%d/%y'

If you need to search a longer string for a date, you could use regex to search for digits separated by forward-slashes:

In [146]: import re
In [152]: match = re.search(r'(\d+/\d+/\d+)','The date is 11/12/98')

In [153]: match.group(1)
Out[153]: '11/12/98'

Of course, invalid dates will also match:

In [154]: match = re.search(r'(\d+/\d+/\d+)','The date is 99/99/99')

In [155]: match.group(1)
Out[155]: '99/99/99'

To check that match.group(1) returns a valid date string, you could then parsing it using datetime.datetime.strptime as shown above.

44
7/22/2018 11:02:14 AM

Using this regular expression you can validate different kinds of Date/Time samples, just a little change is needed.

^\d\d\d\d/(0?[1-9]|1[0-2])/(0?[1-9]|[12][0-9]|3[01]) (00|[0-9]|1[0-9]|2[0-3]):([0-9]|[0-5][0-9]):([0-9]|[0-5][0-9])$ -->validate this: 2018/7/12 13:00:00

for your format you cad change it to:

^(0?[1-9]|[12][0-9]|3[01])/(0?[1-9]|1[0-2])/\d\d$ --> validates this: 11/12/98


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