Peter Nelson's GYMD site

Date coding for all


GYMD Why should we want to use code when dealing with dates? Well, dates in real-life documents come in many different forms - from ambiguous (e.g. 10.11.12) to ordinary (e.g. 5 May 2000) to flowery (e.g. this third day of March in the year of our Lord 1676). If these dates have to be entered into a computer program, they need to be represented in some standard way so that they can be handled uniformly. You could say that this is already a kind of coding. With a bit of care in the choice of a suitable code, it's possible to gain some extra benefits - for example, reducing memory requirements or facilitating sorting into the right order. The GYMD code is a simple and effective standard, using only four characters, which has both of these advantages.

Of course, the user of the program won't normally see the code, which can be hidden inside the program. The code could replace the original date and be translated back into a readable form for display to the user. Alternatively, if the original text needs to be preserved unchanged, for example in genealogical source documents, separate codes corresponding to the dates could still form a sortable index to them.

Find out more about the GYMD code, or go straight to the Code Table.

Or return to the Contents Page.

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