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Create, Format, and Export SQL Dates and Times Using DB2

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After reading this article, you'll never worry about date formats again.

 

My recent articles on exporting data have generated a number of questions on formatting dates with SQL. So let's explore SQL dates by looking at how to create date fields in physical files, insert dates into physical files, and export the dates in different formats.

 

For a practical example of using dates in SQL, let's create a simple physical file/table that will keep a record of the temperature by postal code. The physical file will be named mc_temp and the comparable table will be named mc_temp2. It will have a primary composite key consisting of the postal code, date, and time, which will store a description of the weather and the temperature for the specified time. And to examine the timestamp field, we will also record the date and time of the data entry.

Create a Physical File Using DDS

If we were to use DDS to create a physical file named mc_temp, the code could look like this:

 

A R TFMT

A TPOSTAL 12A COLHDG('POSTAL_CODE')

A TDATE L DATFMT(*ISO)

A COLHDG('TEMP_DATE')

A TTIME T TIMFMT(*HMS)

A COLHDG('TEMP_TIME')

A TDATTIM Z COLHDG('ENTRY_DATE_TIME')

A TDESC 10A COLHDG('DESCRIPTION')

A TTEMP 5S 2 COLHDG('DEGREES_F')

A K TPOSTAL

A K TDATE

A K TTIME

Create a Table Using SQL

If we were to create a similar table using SQL, our SQL statement could look like this:

 

create table mc_temp2

(POSTAL_CODE for column TPOSTAL char(12),

TEMP_DATE for column TDATE date,

TEMP_TIME for column TTIME time,

ENTRY_DATE_TIME for column TDATTIM timestamp,

DESCRIPTION for column TDESC char(10),

DEGREES_F for column TTEMP numeric(5, 2),

primary key (TPOSTAL, TDATE, TTIME))

 

You may note that in the DDS, we were able to specify the DATFMT, but we cannot use the DATFMT in the SQL command when creating a table. The date, time, and timestamp data is all stored in the physical file the same way; we would just format the data when we're using it.

Compare the Date and Time Fields in the Physical File/Tables

When we compare the results of the two different methods of creating the physical file/table, we will see the following:

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_1

Figure 1: These are the date and time fields for the DDS physical file. (Click images to enlarge.)

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_2

Figure 2: These are the date and time fields for the SQL Create Table.

 

You can see that the data types, field length, and column headings are the same.

Compare the Zoned Fields in the Physical File/Table

I know it doesn't have anything to do with the date and time, but while we're at it, we may as well take a look at how to create a zoned field using SQL.

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_3
Figure 3: Here is the zoned field for the DDS physical file.

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_4
Figure 4: And here is the zoned field for the SQL numeric field.

 

Both methods provide the same data type, field length, and column heading.

Inserting Date, Time, and Timestamp Using SQL

Now that we have created our tables, we can start to insert some data. To insert an entry for ZIP code 19104 in the USA on June 16, 2010, at 10:30 a.m., we will manually set the entry timestamp and set the description to be Sunny at 69.12 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

insert into mc_temp values('USA 19104', '06/16/2010', '10:30:00',

'2010-06-16-10.31.43','Sunny', 69.12)

1 rows inserted in MC_TEMP in MYLIB.

 

To avoid redundancy, I'll just be using the mc_temp table because the behavior will be the same for both cases.

Use Different Date Formats During the Insert

As you can see in the next example of an insert, SQL is not picky about the format of the date and time that is used to set the values.

 

insert into mc_temp values('USA 19104', '2010-06-21', '13.14.15',

'2010-06-21-13.30.00', 'Sunny', 76.00)

1 rows inserted in MC_TEMP in MYLIB.

 

The previous insertion used the mm/dd/yyyy format, whereas this insertion is using the yyyy-mm-dd date format. The time format is also different. The previous statement used the colon (:) separator and this statement is using a period (.).

Use the Current Time and Date Values

It may always be sunny in Philadelphia, but that's not the case everywhere. Let's make our SQL statements more interesting by adding some data for another city, and while we're at it, we'll do it by using some special register values that are available to SQL: current date, current time, and current timestamp.

 

insert into mc_temp values('USA 90210', current date, current time,

current timestamp,'Rain Storm', 51.50)

1 rows inserted in MC_TEMP in MYLIB.

View the Results with Select

Now if we were to view the results of our data insertions, we could execute a simple Select statement to view the default formatting for the dates:

 

select * from mc_temp

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_5
Figure 5: This is the result of the Select statement.

 

You can see that even though the date was specified in the DDS to be in the ISO format, it still displays in the MM/DD/YY format. You can also see the column headings are displayed in the results, instead of the field names. We would get the same results using the file that was created with SQL.

Format Selected Dates and Times

So, we've seen the results of the default date and time formats. Now, let's look at some common formatting for one of my favorite dates: June 21(my daughter's birthday).

 

 

Common Date Formats

Description

Format

Results

International Standards Organization (*ISO)

yyyy-mm-dd

2010-06-21

USA Standard (*USA)

mm/dd/yyyy

06/21/2010

European Standard (*EUR)

dd.mm.yyyy

21.06.2010

 

 

Now let's look at some common time formats for one of my favorite times: 5:00 p.m.

 

Common Time Formats

Description

Format

Results

International Standards Organization (*ISO)

hh.mm.ss

17.00.00

USA Standard (*USA)

hh:mm AM or PM

5:00 PM

Hours, Minutes, Seconds (*HMS)

hh:mm:ss

17:00:00

 

Format Dates in the Select Statement

OK, we have all the tools, so let's start formatting some dates! The simplest way that I have found to format dates would be to use the CHAR function. With the CHAR function, you simply specify the format and you're all set.

 

USA Standard

 

Let's start by running a Select statement to format our dates and times in USA style:

 

select tpostal, char(tdate, usa), char(ttime, usa), ttemp from mc_temp

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_6

Figure 6: Now the dates are formatted in USA format
.

 

And look there, the headings were changed to "CHAR conversion." We can fix that by using "as" followed by the heading name to display.

 

European Standard

 

What would it look like in Europe? Simple enough—just change the format in the char function, and while we're at it, we will set the heading names.

 

select tpostal, char(tdate, eur) as TEMP_DATE, char(ttime, eur) as TEMP_TIME, ttemp from mc_temp

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_7
Figure 7: Voila! We have the European standard.

 

And if we use ISO, we will get the expected results, but what about HMS? That doesn't work. And what if we want to create a custom date format outside of the standard? Now is a good time to talk about how to split out the different parts of the date.

Use SQL Built-In Functions to Split a Date Apart

DB2 has a set of built-in functions (BIFs) that we can use in SQL statements. Among these are a few date/time functions that we could use to split the dates apart: YEAR, MONTH, DAY, HOUR, MINUTE, and SECOND. Instead of pushing the date into a data structure and overlaying fixed formatted fields on top of the data to split the data apart, we can just use the functions to do the work.

 

In order to merge each piece of the date together, we will also cast the values to characters and concatenate them all together using double pipes (||). So, here is the SQL statement to generate the same results in yyyy/mm/dd and HMS format.

 

select tpostal,

cast(YEAR(tdate)||'/'||MONTH(tdate)||'/'||

DAY(tdate) as char(10)),

cast(HOUR(ttime)||':'||MINUTE(ttime)||':'||

SECOND(ttime) as char(8)),

ttemp from mc_temp

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_8
Figure 8: And this is the result.

 

We could get fancy with formatting and zero fill single digits to take up two spaces with a leading zero, but we'll save that project for another day.

Format Time Stamps

You may have noticed that I didn't include the timestamp values in the results of my queries. That's because there is one additional step required to use the char function on them to extract the date and time. There are two additional built in functions, DATE and TIME, that allow you to extract those values from the timestamp; then you could use the char function to perform the formatting.

 

select char(date(tdattim),iso), char(time(tdattim),iso) from mc_temp

 

061610TomSnyder_DB2_Dates_figure_9

Figure 9: And now we get a list of the timestamps in the ISO format.

Change the Defaults

In my default example above, the results were determined by the defaults that were set in my particular interactive SQL environment. You can change these when you execute the STRSQL command by prompting it.

 

And if you are using embedded SQL, you could set the defaults when you execute the CRTSQLxxx command. Then there are always your SQL_ATTR_DATE_FMT and SQL_ATTR_DATE_SEP environment variables as well. And if you were to use ODBC or JDBC, you could also set the defaults there too.

 

I deal with so many different formats that could be mixed within a single file that I don't usually change the defaults. I usually put them in the SQL statements so I know that the data will be the way that I want it when I execute them.

Put It All Together

Now if you refer to my previous articles, you will be able to export dates in any format to your IFS or any networked drive in ASCII format:

 

"Using DB2 with Sed, Tail, Pipes, and Redirection from Within Qshell"

 

"Create ASCII Text Files Using DB2 in Qshell"

 

Additional Information

Thomas Snyder

Thomas Snyder has a diverse spectrum of programming experience encompassing IBM technologies, open source, Apple, and Microsoft and using these technologies with applications on the server, on the web, or on mobile devices.

Tom has more than 20 years' experience as a software developer in various environments, primarily in RPG, Java, C#, and PHP. He holds certifications in Java from Sun and PHP from Zend. Prior to software development, Tom worked as a hardware engineer at Intel. He is a proud United States Naval Veteran Submariner who served aboard the USS Whale SSN638 submarine.

Tom is the bestselling author of Advanced, Integrated RPG, which covers the latest programming techniques for RPG ILE and Java to use open-source technologies. His latest book, co-written with Vedish Shah, is Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services.

Originally from and currently residing in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Tom is currently involved in a mobile application startup company, JoltRabbit LLC.


MC Press books written by Thomas Snyder available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Advanced, Integrated RPG Advanced, Integrated RPG
See how to take advantage of the latest technologies from within existing RPG applications.
List Price $79.95

Now On Sale

Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services Extract, Transform, and Load with SQL Server Integration Services
Learn how to implement Microsoft’s SQL Server Integration Services for business applications.
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    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.