vague-time

A tiny library that formats precise time differences as a vague/fuzzy time. Supports 10 languages.

vagueTime.js

A tiny JavaScript library that formats precise time differences as a vague/fuzzy time. Supports 10 different languages.

Displaying precise dates and times can give a website a formal and officious feel. Using fuzzy or vague time phrases like 'just now' or '3 days ago' can contribute to a much friendlier interface.

vagueTime.js provides a small, clean API for translating timestamps into those user-friendly phrases, heavily supported by unit tests. Vague time strings can be returned in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean or Spanish.

The library can be built for any combination of the supported languages. Single-language builds are typically around 4.3 kb unminified with comments, 1.3 kb minified or 0.7 kb minified+gzipped.

The largest build, containing all 10 supported languages, is 8.7 kb unminified with comments, 3.4 kb minified or 1.4 kb minified+gzipped.

If you're using npm:

npm install vague-time

Or if you just want the git repo:

git clone git@github.com:philbooth/vagueTime.js.git

If you're into other package managers, it is also available from Bower, Component and Jam.

If you are running in Node.js, Browserify or another CommonJS-style environment, you can require vagueTime.js like so:

var vagueTime = require('vague-time');

It also the supports the AMD-style format preferred by Require.js.

If you are including vagueTime.js with an HTML <script> tag, or neither of the above environments are detected, the interface will be globally available as vagueTime.

Please note that the default module contains all 10 supported languages. If you want to load a custom build, you must ensure that you reference that correct explicitly.

vagueTime.js exports a single public function, get, which returns a vague time string based on the argument(s) that you pass it.

The arguments are passed as properties on a single options object:

  • from: Timestamp or Date instance denoting the origin point from which the vague time will be calculated. Defaults to Date.now().
  • to: Timestamp or Date instance denoting the target point to which the vague time will be calculated. Defaults to Date.now().
  • units: String denoting the units that the from and to timestamps are specified in. May be 's' for seconds or 'ms' for milliseconds. Defaults to 'ms'. This property has no effect when from and to are Date instances rather than timestamps.
  • lang: String denoting the output language. May be 'br' (Brazilian Portuguese), 'da' (Danish), 'de' (German), 'en' (English), 'es' (English), 'fr' (French), 'jp' (Japanese), 'ko' (Korean), 'nl' (Dutch) or 'zh' (Chinese. The default is set by the build options.

Essentially, if to is less than from, the returned vague time will indicate some point in the past. If to is greater than from, it will indicate some point in the future.

vagueTime.get({
    from: 60,
    to: 0,
    units: 's'
}); // returns '1 minute ago' 
 
vagueTime.get({
    from: 0,
    to: 60,
    units: 's'
}); // returns 'in 1 minute' 
 
vagueTime.get({
    from: 7200,
    to: 0,
    units: 's'
}); // returns '2 hours ago' 
 
vagueTime.get({
    from: 0,
    to: 7200,
    units: 's',
    lang: 'de'
}); // returns 'vor 2 Stunden' 
 
vagueTime.get({
    from: new Date(2015, 0, 3),
    to: new Date(2014, 11, 31),
    lang: 'de'
}); // returns 'in 3 Tagen' 
 
vagueTime.get({
    from: 0,
    to: 259200,
    units: 's',
    lang: 'fr'
}); // returns 'il y a 3 jours' 
 
vagueTime.get({
    from: new Date(2015, 0, 27),
    to: new Date(2014, 11, 31),
    lang: 'fr'
}); // returns 'dans 4 semaines' 

The build environment relies on Node.js, JSHint, Commander, Chai and UglifyJS. Assuming that you already have Node.js and NPM set up, you just need to run npm install to install all of the dependencies as listed in package.json.

You can then lint the source module with the command npm run lint.

You can run the standard build process with the command npm run build or run a custom build using the build script:

./build.js -l <comma-separated list of language codes> -d <default language code>

The unit tests are in test/vagueTime.js. You can run them with the command npm test. To run the tests in a web browser, open test/vagueTime.html.

MIT