I use MySQL DATE and DATETIME fields almost as much as VARCHAR fields. I use them mostly to track record creation, record updates, and record expiration dates. The default date format in MYSQL is:
2008-09-10 22:50:02

When I pull this information into the page, I want to show the date in human-readable format. That’s where MySQL’s DATE_FORMAT functionality comes in. DATE_FORMAT allows me to format the date in any manner you’d like.
MySQL DATE_FORMAT() Example

DATE_FORMAT(NOW(),’%W, %M %e, %Y @ %h:%i %p’)
#yields ‘Sunday, September 20, 2008 @ 12:45 PM’

MySQL DATE_FORMAT() Letter Representations

Specifier Description
%a Abbreviated weekday name (Sun..Sat)
%b Abbreviated month name (Jan..Dec)
%c Month, numeric (0..12)
%D Day of the month with English suffix (0th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, …)
%d Day of the month, numeric (00..31)
%e Day of the month, numeric (0..31)
%f Microseconds (000000..999999)
%H Hour (00..23)
%h Hour (01..12)
%I Hour (01..12)
%i Minutes, numeric (00..59)
%j Day of year (001..366)
%k Hour (0..23)
%l Hour (1..12)
%M Month name (January..December)
%m Month, numeric (00..12)
%p AM or PM
%r Time, 12-hour (hh:mm:ss followed by AM or PM)
%S Seconds (00..59)
%s Seconds (00..59)
%T Time, 24-hour (hh:mm:ss)
%U Week (00..53), where Sunday is the first day of the week
%u Week (00..53), where Monday is the first day of the week
%V Week (01..53), where Sunday is the first day of the week; used with %X
%v Week (01..53), where Monday is the first day of the week; used with %x
%W Weekday name (Sunday..Saturday)
%w Day of the week (0=Sunday..6=Saturday)
%X Year for the week where Sunday is the first day of the week, numeric, four digits; used with %V
%x Year for the week, where Monday is the first day of the week, numeric, four digits; used with %v
%Y Year, numeric, four digits
%y Year, numeric (two digits)
%% A literal “%” character
%x x, for any “x” not listed above
Be kind to your users and format the date for them!

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