timeDiffInWords - a function to keep handy
Posted on 29/4/06 by Felix Geisendörfer
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Today I've been looking in my old projects for a function like this for about 20 minutes until I decided to code it again. The problem is, sometimes you need a php functions to convert a time difference (in seconds) into words. Since I think it's a function that could be useful to other folks as well, and I need a place to store it, I'll put it in here:
$days = ($time / (1 * 60 * 60 * 24));
$time = $time % (1 * 60 * 60 * 24);
$hours = ($time / (1 * 60 * 60));
$time = $time % (1 * 60 * 60);
$minutes = ($time / (1 * 60));
$time = $time % (1 * 60);
$seconds = $time;
$timeRtrn = array();
array_push($timeRtrn, '1 day');
else if ($days > 1)
array_push($timeRtrn, floor($days).' days');
array_push($timeRtrn, '1 hour');
else if ($hours > 1)
array_push($timeRtrn, floor($hours).' hours');
array_push($timeRtrn, '1 minute');
else if ($minutes > 1)
array_push($timeRtrn, floor($minutes).' minutes');
array_push($timeRtrn, '1 second');
else if ($seconds > 1)
array_push($timeRtrn, floor($seconds).' seconds');
return join(', ', $timeRtrn);
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The difference is that TimeHelper::timeAgoInWords() expects to be provided with a datetime in the past or present and tells you the difference between it and the time() now. The time values I deal with are only time Differences in seconds and not absolute unix timestamps. In the moment I was looking at the TimeHelper in search of a function like this I thought about using timeAgoInWords() but since it didn't work as expected right away I dropped the idea of using it. Now that you point it out to me again I realize that I can use something like this as well:
$time->timeAgoInWords(time()+$ptime, 'j/n/y', true);
But the other issue would be that it only works with english. The version of __timeDiffInWords I wrote was in German and I just changed the strings to English for the blog.
There's a time helper available in more than one language on cakeforge, which *may* address the need for a single (but not English) language time helper. Alternatively, if /app/views/helpers/time.php is (user)defined, you can override the functions, if only to change the language, without tampering with the version shipped with the core.
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What's the difference to TimeHelper::timeAgoInWords()?