How do I translate an ISO 8601 datetime string into a Python datetime object?


Question

I'm getting a datetime string in a format like "2009-05-28T16:15:00" (this is ISO 8601, I believe). One hackish option seems to be to parse the string using time.strptime and passing the first six elements of the tuple into the datetime constructor, like:

datetime.datetime(*time.strptime("2007-03-04T21:08:12", "%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S")[:6])

I haven't been able to find a "cleaner" way of doing this. Is there one?

1
383
10/25/2018 2:55:58 AM

Accepted Answer

I prefer using the dateutil library for timezone handling and generally solid date parsing. If you were to get an ISO 8601 string like: 2010-05-08T23:41:54.000Z you'd have a fun time parsing that with strptime, especially if you didn't know up front whether or not the timezone was included. pyiso8601 has a couple of issues (check their tracker) that I ran into during my usage and it hasn't been updated in a few years. dateutil, by contrast, has been active and worked for me:

import dateutil.parser
yourdate = dateutil.parser.parse(datestring)
626
2/2/2017 1:36:58 PM

Since Python 3.7 and no external libraries:

datetime.datetime.strptime('2019-01-04T16:41:24+0200', "%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S%z")

Python 2 doesn't support the %z format specifier, so it's best to explicitly use Zulu time everywhere if possible:

datetime.datetime.strptime("2007-03-04T21:08:12Z", "%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%SZ")

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