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This plugin displays a duration between two points in time in a human readable way.

Syntax Rules

%TIMESINCE%, %TIMESINCE{[[from]="..."] [to="..."]}%

Argument DescriptionSorted ascending
abs="on,off" always return a positive difference between from and to
format="<format-string>" format of the output, defaults to "$time", other usefull settings format="$time ago", format="replied $time later", "format="$time after the incident"
units="1…7" or
number of time units to display (default 2) or list of units to be displayed; (example units="3", units="years, months, days")
days="on,off" switch on/off days
hours="on,off" switch on/off hours
minutes="on,off" switch on/off minutes
months="on,off" switch on/off months
seconds="on,off" switch on/off seconds, default off
weeks="on,off" switch on/off weeks
years="on,off" switch on/off years
to="<time-expression>" the ending timepoint; defaults to current time
from="<time-experssion>" the starting time point; defaults to last change time of topic
null="<format-string>" to be displayed if the tim difference is null; defaults to "about now"
topic="<topic-name>" topic name to read the revision time from in case no from time was specified
negformat="<format-string>" use this format string if the time difference is negative
web="<web-name>" web name to read the revision time from in case no from time was specified

Time expressions can be specified in any of the following format:
  • 31 Dec 2001 - 23:59 (Foswiki date)
  • 31 Dec 2001
  • 2001/12/31 23:59:59 (RCS date)
    also -, . instead of / in date, also . instead : in time
  • 2001/12/31 23:59
  • 2001/12/31
  • 2001-12-31T23:59:59Z (ISO date)
  • 2001-12-31T23:59:59+01:00
  • 2001-12-31T23:59Z
  • 2001-12-31T23:59+01:00
  • epoch seconds

Format strings may contain the following:
  • $time expands to the calculated time difference
  • $percnt$ expands to a % char
  • $dollar$ expands to a $ char
  • $n expands to a linefeed
  • $t expands to a tab space
  • $nop expands to the empty string


You type You get (simulated) You get (if installed)
%TIMESINCE% 2 years and 6 months 1 year and 9 months
%TIMESINCE{format="topic was created $time ago" null="topic has just now been saved" units="3" }% topic was created 1 day, 3 hours and 8 minutes ago topic was created 1 year, 9 months, 1 week and 1 day ago
%TIMESINCE{"11 Sep 2001 - 8:45" units="7" seconds="on"}% 4 years, 2 months, 2 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes, 16 seconds 14 years, 11 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 16 hours, 33 minutes and 8 seconds
%TIMESINCE{from="1955/04/18" to="1979-03-14" units="3"}% 23 years, 11 months, 1 day
ERROR: can't parse from="1955/04/18"

Plugin Installation Instructions

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this extension. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the extension on the server.

Open configure, and open the "Extensions" section. Use "Find More Extensions" to get a list of available extensions. Select "Install".

If you have any problems, or if the extension isn't available in configure, then you can still install manually from the command-line. See for more help.

Plugin Info

Change History:  
17 Nov 2014: fixed duration math by removing dependency on CPAN::DateTime; improved units parameter
23 Apr 2009: converted to Foswiki plugin
13 Aug 2008: replaced CPAN:Time::Local with much more powerful and more precise CPAN:DateTime
03 Jan 2008: improved parsing time formats
13 Oct 2006: added negformat parameter
31 Aug 2006: added NO_PREFS_IN_TOPIC
27 Apr 2006: added lazy compilation
11 Nov 2005: Initial version
Other Dependencies: none

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