ISO 8601 assumption

Alex LIVINGSTON alex at
Wed Oct 18 05:12:46 UTC 2000

At 07:40 +0000 2000-10-06, ken at wrote:
>But the thing is: mm/dd/yy[yy] is in widespread use (US), as is
>dd/mm/yy[yy] (much of Europe, I'm told).

Slight refinement: dd/mm/[yy]yy. Used in all European countries - and 
all countries colonized by a European country at one time or another 
which haven't had a strong US influence since, and probably all 
remaining Asian, African, and Pacific countries - that don't use 
[yy]yy-mm-dd. mm/dd/yy[yy] is restricted almost entirely to the US 
and a few neighbors. I would hesitate to say it is in widespread use.

>[yy]yy-mm-dd was used
>in Japan even before the ISO standard came out.

And in China, and in Sweden, and in Hungary, ... (possibly with 
different separators). Also in the Arab world, in the sense that the 
digits (all of them) appear in the same order from left to right, 
only Arabic is written right to left.

>But no culture
>has ever used [yy]yy-dd-mm format, and there is absolutely
>nothing to recommend it, so there is no reason to expect anyone
>to adopt it.  Yes, the perverse can use that format just to
>confound us, but in practice one can safely assume that a
>nnnn-nn-nn date is in yyyy-mm-dd format.

Thanks Ken. You've put it much better and more concisely than I could have.

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