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SV: [ISO8601] Re: Date Formats.

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  • Jan Boström
    Hi, Tex Texin requested more precise information about actual adoption rates of ISO 8601. I am sorry to say that the adoption rate is the sad part of the ISO
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2001
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      Hi,

      Tex Texin requested more precise information about actual adoption rates
      of ISO 8601. I am sorry to say that the adoption rate is the sad part of
      the ISO 8601 story in the European Union. Actually the usage of ISO 8601
      here in Sweden has decreased since we joined the EU. If you check
      expiration dates on food and drugs it is almost always in what most
      people believe is the European format (dd/mm/yy) even if the product
      only is sold in Sweden.

      I would say that if you ask the average EU citizen he/she will tell you
      that in Europe you write dates as day, month, year and that the
      separators varies between the countries. They would never have heard of
      a European standard for writing dates. And even if they had heard of it
      they probably would not follow out of pure defiance. (A lot of people
      think that EU is already imposing too much on the member states own
      traditions.) If you ask the above question to the average Swede you will
      get the answer that in Sweden a date is written yyyy-mm-dd but the
      European format is dd/mm/yyyy.

      So, yes, ISO 8601 is the officially correct way to write dates in the
      EU, but almost no one knows about it and even fever adheres to it... If
      you want a list of date formats more matched with what is actually used
      I can recommend Windows control panel (in a recent release of Windows).
      Select the different countries and check the date format. It is not
      perfect but it is fairly good.

      Since I personally is a strong advocate for ISO 8601 I have considered
      to make ISO 8601 the default UI date format in the Windows software I
      develop but, partly based on the sad facts above, I have chosen not to.
      When it comes to the UI my software strictly follows whatever settings
      the user has done in the control panel. But whenever the format has to
      be the same across different locales, like in log files and text data
      fields it uses ISO 8601.

      So, based on my admittedly limited experience, I would say that the only
      European country where ISO 8601 is truly adopted is Sweden (but people
      in general do not know that we are using the official International and
      European format). I sure hope someone proves me wrong about this.

      /Jan
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