MATLAB Answers

"Locale" issue. Danish created-date extracted from file

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I am extracting the creation date of a file on my Windows 10 PC with the following code lines:
fileInfo = dir(filePath);
fileInfo.date
datetime(fileInfo.date)
fileInfo.date is written out while datetime fails. The result is:
As you can see the extracted created-date is given in a correct, readable format dd-mmm-yyyy hh:mm:ss. But the month is written in Danish language maj. I have not had this error before, most likely because the first 3 letters of all other Danish months are the same as in English. But in the glorious month of May it fails.
As the error message tells me, I have been looking into the Locale parameter, but I am not able to use it for my specific purpose (there are e.g. several English language questions like this one but I need a Danish conversion equivalent).
I am not able to change computer settings (that will be impractical in any case, as the script will be run on different computers now and then).
Can anyone give me a helping hand? Can MatLab do a quick DK-to-EN conversion while doing the datetime command? (Could MatLab maybe do such a conversion from any language, such that this will never be an issue for anyone using the script?)
Or must I do a string-search for Danish words and replace them with English? The following is namely working well - but is very unflexible and specific:
datetime(strrep(fileInfo.date,'maj','may'));

Accepted Answer

Stephen Cobeldick
Stephen Cobeldick on 17 May 2018
Edited: Stephen Cobeldick on 17 May 2018
Avoid the whole problem by using the structure's datenum field, which is a MATLAB serial datenumber. You can easily convert this to datetime using something like this:
S = dir(...)
T = datetime([S.datenum],'ConvertFrom','datenum')
  2 Comments
Stephen Cobeldick
Stephen Cobeldick on 17 May 2018
A serial datenumber is just a simple numeric (double) which counts the days since the date 0th of January in year 0000. In contrast datetime, duration, etc. are sophisticated objects which contain many useful methods, and which know about things like timezones, date formatting, leap years, etc.
Read more here:

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More Answers (1)

Peter Perkins
Peter Perkins on 17 May 2018
Specifying the locale would work:
>> datetime('11-maj-2018 15:39:22','Locale','da_DK')
ans =
datetime
11-May-2018 15:39:22
But as Stephen says, using the datenum output from dir avoids the problem entirely.
  3 Comments
Peter Perkins
Peter Perkins on 31 May 2018
It is possible to use ,'Locale','system', but that may also be fragile to the specifics the system settings of who's using it.

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