java.util.SimpleDateFormat.parse() - Parsing Date Strings to Objects

This section provides a tutorial example on how to use the java.util.SimpleDateFormat.parse() method to parse or convert date and time strings to date objects.

DateFormat objects can also be used to convert date strings back to Date objects using the parse() method, see the following demonstration program:

/* DateParsingTest.java
 - Copyright (c) 2014, HerongYang.com, All Rights Reserved.
 */
import java.util.*;
import java.text.*;
class DateParsingTest {
   public static void main(String[] a) {
      parseDate();
      parseDateSpecial();
   }
   public static void parseDate() {
      SimpleDateFormat mf = new SimpleDateFormat("MMM-yyyy");
      SimpleDateFormat tf = new SimpleDateFormat("HH:mm:ss.SSS");
      SimpleDateFormat df = new SimpleDateFormat("dd-MMM-yyyy");
      SimpleDateFormat dtf 
         = new SimpleDateFormat("dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm:ss.SSS");

      String ms = "Oct-2002";
      String ts = "22:13:19.123";
      String ds = "21-Oct-2002";
      String dts = "21-Oct-2002 22:13:19.123";
      try {
         System.out.println("Parsing " +ms +" with " +mf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + mf.parse(ms));
         System.out.println("Parsing " +ts +" with " +tf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + tf.parse(ts));
         System.out.println("Parsing " +ds +" with " +df.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + df.parse(ds));
         System.out.println("Parsing " + dts + " with "+
            dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(dts));
         System.out.println("Parsing " +dts +" with "+df.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + df.parse(dts));
         System.out.println("Parsing " +ds +" with "+dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(ds));
      } catch (ParseException e) {
         System.out.println("Exception: " + e.toString());
      }
   }
   public static void parseDateSpecial() {
      SimpleDateFormat dtf 
         = new SimpleDateFormat("EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss zzz yyyy");
      String str0 = "Mon Oct 21 20:54:05 EDT 2002"; // correct
      String str1 = "Mon Oct 20 20:54:05 EDT 2002"; // wrong d.o.w.
      String str2 = "Mon Oct 21 25:54:05 EDT 2002"; // wrong hour
      String str3 = "Mon Oct 21 20:54:05 PDT 2002"; // time zone
      String str4 = "Mon Oct 1 20:54:05 EDT 2002"; // missing a 'd'
      try {
         System.out.println("Parsing " + str0 + " with " 
            + dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(str0));
         System.out.println("Parsing " + str1 + " with " 
            + dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(str1));
         System.out.println("Parsing " + str2 + " with " 
            + dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(str2));
         System.out.println("Parsing " + str3 + " with " 
            + dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(str3));
         System.out.println("Parsing " + str4 + " with " 
            + dtf.toPattern());
         System.out.println("   " + dtf.parse(str4));
      } catch (ParseException e) {
         System.out.println("Exception: " + e.toString());
      }
   }
}

Output:

Parsing Oct-2002 with MMM-yyyy
   Tue Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2002
Parsing 22:13:19.123 with HH:mm:ss.SSS
   Thu Jan 01 22:13:19 EST 1970
Parsing 21-Oct-2002 with dd-MMM-yyyy
   Mon Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2002
Parsing 21-Oct-2002 22:13:19.123 with dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm:ss.SSS
   Mon Oct 21 22:13:19 EDT 2002
Parsing 21-Oct-2002 22:13:19.123 with dd-MMM-yyyy
   Mon Oct 21 00:00:00 EDT 2002
Parsing 21-Oct-2002 with dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm:ss.SSS
Exception: java.text.ParseException: Unparseable date: "21-Oct-2002"
Parsing Mon Oct 21 20:54:05 EDT 2002 with EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss zzz yyyy
   Mon Oct 21 20:54:05 EDT 2002
Parsing Mon Oct 20 20:54:05 EDT 2002 with EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss zzz yyyy
   Sun Oct 20 20:54:05 EDT 2002
Parsing Mon Oct 21 25:54:05 EDT 2002 with EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss zzz yyyy
   Tue Oct 22 01:54:05 EDT 2002
Parsing Mon Oct 21 20:54:05 PDT 2002 with EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss zzz yyyy
   Mon Oct 21 23:54:05 EDT 2002
Parsing Mon Oct 1 20:54:05 EDT 2002 with EEE MMM dd HH:mm:ss zzz yyyy
   Tue Oct 01 20:54:05 EDT 2002

Examining the output carefully, you will see each parsing example shows a different feature of the parse() method:

Last update: 2014.

Table of Contents

 About This JDK Tutorial Book

 Downloading and Installing JDK 1.8.0 on Windows

 Downloading and Installing JDK 1.7.0 on Windows

 Downloading and Installing JDK 1.6.2 on Windows

 Java Date-Time API

 Date, Time and Calendar Classes

Date and Time Object and String Conversion

 java.util.DateFormat - Formatting Date Objects to Strings

java.util.SimpleDateFormat.parse() - Parsing Date Strings to Objects

 Number Object and Numeric String Conversion

 Locales, Localization Methods and Resource Bundles

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