How to format time since xxx e.g. “4 minutes ago” similar to Stack Exchange sites

How to format time since xxx e.g. “4 minutes ago” similar to Stack Exchange sites

The question is how to format a JavaScript Date as a string stating the time elapsed similar to the way you see times displayed on Stack Overflow.
e.g.

1 minute ago
1 hour ago
1 day ago
1 month ago
1 year ago

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

function timeSince(date) {

  var seconds = Math.floor((new Date() - date) / 1000);

  var interval = Math.floor(seconds / 31536000);

  if (interval > 1) {
    return interval + " years";
  }
  interval = Math.floor(seconds / 2592000);
  if (interval > 1) {
    return interval + " months";
  }
  interval = Math.floor(seconds / 86400);
  if (interval > 1) {
    return interval + " days";
  }
  interval = Math.floor(seconds / 3600);
  if (interval > 1) {
    return interval + " hours";
  }
  interval = Math.floor(seconds / 60);
  if (interval > 1) {
    return interval + " minutes";
  }
  return Math.floor(seconds) + " seconds";
}
var aDay = 24*60*60*1000
console.log(timeSince(new Date(Date.now()-aDay)));
console.log(timeSince(new Date(Date.now()-aDay*2)));

Solution 2:

Might be an overkill in this case, but if the opportunity shows moment.js is just awesome!

Moment.js is a javascript datetime library, to use it for such scenario, you’d do:

moment(yourdate).fromNow()

http://momentjs.com/docs/#/displaying/fromnow/

2018 addendum: Luxon is a new modern library and might be worth a look!

Solution 3:

I haven’t checked (although it wouldn’t be hard to), but I think that Stack Exchange sites use the jquery.timeago plugin to create these time strings.

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It’s quite easy to use the plugin, and it’s clean and updates automatically.

Here’s a quick sample (from the plugin’s home page):

First, load jQuery and the plugin:

<script src="jquery.min.js"
type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="jquery.timeago.js"
type="text/javascript"></script>

Now, let’s attach it to your
timestamps on DOM ready:

jQuery(document).ready(function() {
jQuery("abbr.timeago").timeago(); });

This will turn all abbr elements
with a class of timeago and an ISO
8601 timestamp in the title: <abbr
class="timeago"
title="2008-07-17T09:24:17Z">July 17,
2008</abbr>
into something like this:
<abbr class="timeago" title="July 17,
2008">about a year ago</abbr>
which
yields: about a year ago. As time
passes, the timestamps will
automatically update.

Solution 4:

This will show you past and previous time formats like ‘2 days ago’ ’10 minutes from now’ and you can pass it either a Date object, a numeric timestamp or a date string

function time_ago(time) {

  switch (typeof time) {
    case 'number':
      break;
    case 'string':
      time = +new Date(time);
      break;
    case 'object':
      if (time.constructor === Date) time = time.getTime();
      break;
    default:
      time = +new Date();
  }
  var time_formats = [
    [60, 'seconds', 1], // 60
    [120, '1 minute ago', '1 minute from now'], // 60*2
    [3600, 'minutes', 60], // 60*60, 60
    [7200, '1 hour ago', '1 hour from now'], // 60*60*2
    [86400, 'hours', 3600], // 60*60*24, 60*60
    [172800, 'Yesterday', 'Tomorrow'], // 60*60*24*2
    [604800, 'days', 86400], // 60*60*24*7, 60*60*24
    [1209600, 'Last week', 'Next week'], // 60*60*24*7*4*2
    [2419200, 'weeks', 604800], // 60*60*24*7*4, 60*60*24*7
    [4838400, 'Last month', 'Next month'], // 60*60*24*7*4*2
    [29030400, 'months', 2419200], // 60*60*24*7*4*12, 60*60*24*7*4
    [58060800, 'Last year', 'Next year'], // 60*60*24*7*4*12*2
    [2903040000, 'years', 29030400], // 60*60*24*7*4*12*100, 60*60*24*7*4*12
    [5806080000, 'Last century', 'Next century'], // 60*60*24*7*4*12*100*2
    [58060800000, 'centuries', 2903040000] // 60*60*24*7*4*12*100*20, 60*60*24*7*4*12*100
  ];
  var seconds = (+new Date() - time) / 1000,
    token = 'ago',
    list_choice = 1;

  if (seconds == 0) {
    return 'Just now'
  }
  if (seconds < 0) {
    seconds = Math.abs(seconds);
    token = 'from now';
    list_choice = 2;
  }
  var i = 0,
    format;
  while (format = time_formats[i++])
    if (seconds < format[0]) {
      if (typeof format[2] == 'string')
        return format[list_choice];
      else
        return Math.floor(seconds / format[2]) + ' ' + format[1] + ' ' + token;
    }
  return time;
}

var aDay = 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000;
console.log(time_ago(new Date(Date.now() - aDay)));
console.log(time_ago(new Date(Date.now() - aDay * 2)));

Solution 5:

Here is a slight modification on Sky Sander’s solution that allows the date to be input as a string and is capable of displaying spans like “1 minute” instead of “73 seconds”

var timeSince = function(date) {
  if (typeof date !== 'object') {
    date = new Date(date);
  }

  var seconds = Math.floor((new Date() - date) / 1000);
  var intervalType;

  var interval = Math.floor(seconds / 31536000);
  if (interval >= 1) {
    intervalType = 'year';
  } else {
    interval = Math.floor(seconds / 2592000);
    if (interval >= 1) {
      intervalType = 'month';
    } else {
      interval = Math.floor(seconds / 86400);
      if (interval >= 1) {
        intervalType = 'day';
      } else {
        interval = Math.floor(seconds / 3600);
        if (interval >= 1) {
          intervalType = "hour";
        } else {
          interval = Math.floor(seconds / 60);
          if (interval >= 1) {
            intervalType = "minute";
          } else {
            interval = seconds;
            intervalType = "second";
          }
        }
      }
    }
  }

  if (interval > 1 || interval === 0) {
    intervalType += 's';
  }

  return interval + ' ' + intervalType;
};
var aDay = 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000;
console.log(timeSince(new Date(Date.now() - aDay)));
console.log(timeSince(new Date(Date.now() - aDay * 2)));

Solution 6:

You might want to look at humanized_time_span: https://github.com/layam/js_humanized_time_span

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It’s framework agnostic and fully customizable.

Just download / include the script and then you can do this:

humanized_time_span("2011-05-11 12:00:00")  
   => '3 hours ago'

humanized_time_span("2011-05-11 12:00:00", "2011-05-11 16:00:00)  
   => '4 hours ago'

or even this:

var custom_date_formats = {
  past: [
    { ceiling: 60, text: "less than a minute ago" },
    { ceiling: 86400, text: "$hours hours, $minutes minutes and $seconds seconds ago" },
    { ceiling: null, text: "$years years ago" }
  ],
  future: [
    { ceiling: 60, text: "in less than a minute" },
    { ceiling: 86400, text: "in $hours hours, $minutes minutes and $seconds seconds time" },
    { ceiling: null, text: "in $years years" }
  ]
}

humanized_time_span("2010/09/10 10:00:00", "2010/09/10 10:00:05", custom_date_formats) 
  => "less than a minute ago"

Read the docs for more info.