Python Language Parsing an arbitrary ISO 8601 timestamp with minimal libraries


Example

Python has only limited support for parsing ISO 8601 timestamps. For strptime you need to know exactly what format it is in. As a complication the stringification of a datetime is an ISO 8601 timestamp, with space as a separator and 6 digit fraction:

str(datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, 555555))
# '2016-07-22 09:25:59.555555'

but if the fraction is 0, no fractional part is output

str(datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, 0))
# '2016-07-22 09:25:59'

But these 2 forms need a different format for strptime. Furthermore, strptime' does not support at all parsing minute timezones that have a:in it, thus2016-07-22 09:25:59+0300can be parsed, but the standard format2016-07-22 09:25:59+03:00` cannot.

There is a single-file library called iso8601 which properly parses ISO 8601 timestamps and only them.

It supports fractions and timezones, and the T separator all with a single function:

import iso8601
iso8601.parse_date('2016-07-22 09:25:59')
# datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, tzinfo=<iso8601.Utc>)
iso8601.parse_date('2016-07-22 09:25:59+03:00')
# datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, tzinfo=<FixedOffset '+03:00' ...>)
iso8601.parse_date('2016-07-22 09:25:59Z')
# datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, tzinfo=<iso8601.Utc>)
iso8601.parse_date('2016-07-22T09:25:59.000111+03:00')
# datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, 111, tzinfo=<FixedOffset '+03:00' ...>)

If no timezone is set, iso8601.parse_date defaults to UTC. The default zone can be changed with default_zone keyword argument. Notably, if this is None instead of the default, then those timestamps that do not have an explicit timezone are returned as naive datetimes instead:

iso8601.parse_date('2016-07-22T09:25:59', default_timezone=None)
# datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59)
iso8601.parse_date('2016-07-22T09:25:59Z', default_timezone=None)
# datetime.datetime(2016, 7, 22, 9, 25, 59, tzinfo=<iso8601.Utc>)