Cover by Jay A. Kreibich

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Date and Time Features

Most relational database products have several native datatypes that deal with recording dates, times, timestamps, and durations of all sorts. SQLite does not. Rather than having specific datatypes, SQLite provides a small set of time and date conversion functions. These functions can be used to convert time, date, or duration information to or from one of the more generic datatypes, such as a number or a text value.

This approach fits well with the simple and flexible design goals of SQLite. Dates and times can get extremely complicated. Odd time zones and changing daylight saving time (DST) rules can complicate time values, while dates outside of the last few hundred years are subject to calendaring systems that have been changed and modified throughout history. Creating a native type would require picking a specific calendaring system and a specific set of conversion rules that may or may not be suitable for the task at hand. This is one of the reasons a typical database has so many different time and date datatypes.

Using external conversion functions is much more flexible. The developer can choose a format and datatype that best fits the needs of the application. Using the simpler underlying datatypes is also a much better fit for SQLite’s dynamic typing system. A more generic approach also keeps the internal code simpler and smaller, which is a plus for most SQLite environments.

Application Requirements

When creating date and time data values, there are ...

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