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Easy methods to Convert a Date to Timestamp in JavaScript


In programming, we regularly have to cope with dates and occasions, which may be represented in just a few other ways, like an object (through Date), a string (i.e. “2023-10-04T00:00:00.000Z”), or a timestamp (i.e. 1696377600000). On this Byte, we’ll discover convert a date or date string to a timestamp in JavaScript.

Why Convert Date or Date String to Timestamp

However why do we have to convert a date or date string to a timestamp within the first place? Timestamps are a extra common means of storing date and time data. They symbolize the variety of seconds (or milliseconds) because the Unix Epoch (January 1, 1970), making them a easy technique to retailer date and time knowledge. They’re additionally timezone-agnostic, which might simplify issues when coping with knowledge from completely different time zones.

Dates and Timestamps in JavaScript

Earlier than we get into changing our dates, let’s take a second to grasp what we’re coping with. In JavaScript, a Date object represents a second in time. You possibly can create a brand new Date object with the new Date() constructor.

However, a timestamp is a numeric illustration of a date, as described earlier.

let currentDate = new Date();
console.log(currentDate); // Outputs: 2023-10-04T13:20:23.670Z

Easy methods to Convert a Date to Timestamp

Changing a Date object to a timestamp in JavaScript is fairly simple. You should use the getTime() technique, which returns the variety of milliseconds because the Unix Epoch.

let currentDate = new Date();
let timestamp = currentDate.getTime();
console.log(timestamp); // Outputs: 1696425660603

Word: The getTime() technique returns the timestamp in milliseconds. If you happen to want the timestamp in seconds, you may divide the outcome by 1000.

Easy methods to Convert a Date String to Timestamp

So what if we’ve got a date in string format? It will be an analogous course of as earlier than, however with the additional step of changing the string to a Date object after which the timestamp.

Simply be certain your date string is in a format that the Date constructor can perceive. Based on MDN:

The JavaScript specification solely specifies one format to be universally supported: the date time string format, a simplification of the ISO 8601 calendar date prolonged format. The format is as follows:

Apparently different codecs do work, however are implementation-dependent and will not work throughout all browsers.

let dateString = "2023-10-04";
let dateObject = new Date(dateString);
let timestamp = dateObject.getTime();
console.log(timestamp); // Outputs: 1696377600000

So the date string needs to be in a format acknowledged by the Date.parse() technique (used internally by the Date constructor). Whereas the above format is formally specified, you may as well use extra shorthand dates like “YYYY-MM-DD”.

Different Options

Whereas we have targeted on the Date object and its getTime() technique for changing a date to a timestamp in JavaScript, there are different methods to attain the identical factor. As an illustration, the valueOf() technique returns the primitive worth of a Date object as a quantity knowledge sort, which is the timestamp.

Here is an instance:

let date = new Date();
console.log(date.valueOf()); // Output: 1696428432208

The + operator can be used to transform a Date object to a timestamp. This works as a result of the + operator triggers the valueOf() technique behind the scenes to be able to do any mathematical operation on the date.

let date = new Date();
console.log(+date); // Output: 1696428432208

Word: Whereas these strategies obtain the identical outcome, it is vital to grasp how they work and when to make use of them. The + operator, for instance, is perhaps much less clear to somebody studying your code than the express getTime() or valueOf() strategies.

Widespread Errors and Easy methods to Keep away from Them

A typical mistake when working with dates and timestamps in JavaScript will not be accounting for time zones. JavaScript’s Date object is primarily based on the consumer’s native time zone, however timestamps are all the time UTC. This could result in sudden outcomes if not dealt with accurately.

For instance, as an instance you create a Date object for midnight on a particular date:

let date = new Date('2023-10-04T00:00:00');
console.log(date.getTime()); // Output: 1696428432208

Relying in your native time zone, the timestamp won’t symbolize midnight UTC, however another time. To keep away from this, all the time create Date objects in UTC once you plan to transform them to timestamps.

One other frequent mistake is utilizing the Date.parse() technique to transform a date string to a timestamp. Whereas this may work, it isn’t beneficial as a result of Date.parse() has inconsistent habits throughout completely different browsers and might result in some very hard-to-find bugs!

Use-Circumstances of Date/Timestamp Conversion

Changing dates to timestamps is beneficial in lots of conditions. For instance, timestamps are sometimes utilized in APIs and databases to document when an occasion occurred. By storing the time as a timestamp, you may simply evaluate occasions and calculate durations—one thing that is a lot more durable, or extra error-prone, with date strings.

Timestamps are additionally helpful for efficiency testing. By taking a timestamp in the beginning and finish of a course of, you may calculate how lengthy it took. This can be a frequent approach in JavaScript and different programming languages. You’d do that by creating new Date objects in the beginning/finish of the method, however then you definately’d have to convert to timestamp to have the ability to discover the distinction between the 2.


On this Byte, we have realized convert a date to a timestamp in JavaScript utilizing the Date object’s getTime() technique. We have additionally checked out different strategies, frequent errors to keep away from, and a few use-cases for date and timestamp conversion.

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