What Is the Data Type for Datetime in Java?


Larry Thompson

In Java, the data type for representing dates and times is called java.util.Date. The java.Date class stores both the date and time information, making it a versatile data type for handling temporal data in Java.

Date vs. DateTime

Before we delve into the details of the java.Date class, it’s important to understand the distinction between a date and a datetime. A date represents a specific calendar day without any time information, while a datetime includes both the date and the time components.

The java.Date Class

The java.Date class provides methods to work with dates and times in Java. It represents a point in time, typically expressed as the number of milliseconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

Create a Date Object

To create a new instance of the Date class, you can use one of its constructors. Here’s an example:

Date currentDate = new Date();

This creates a new Date object representing the current date and time.

Date Formatting and Parsing

To format a Date object into a readable string representation, you can use the SimpleDateFormat class.

// Create SimpleDateFormat object with desired format
SimpleDateFormat dateFormat = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss");

// Format Date object into string
String formattedDate = dateFormat.format(currentDate);

System.out.println(formattedDate); // Output: 2021-01-01 12:00:00

In the above example, we create a SimpleDateFormat object with the desired format pattern “yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss” and use its format() method to convert the Date object into a string representation.

To parse a string representation of a date into a Date object, you can use the parse() method of the SimpleDateFormat class.

// Create SimpleDateFormat object with desired format
SimpleDateFormat dateFormat = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd");

// Parse string into Date object
Date parsedDate = dateFormat.parse("2021-01-01");

System.println(parsedDate); // Output: Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2021

In this example, we create a SimpleDateFormat object with the format pattern “yyyy-MM-dd” and use its parse() method to convert the string representation “2021-01-01” into a Date object.time Package (Java 8+)

In Java 8 and later versions, the new java.time package, also known as the Java Date and Time API, provides more modern and comprehensive classes for handling dates and times. The main classes in this package are part of the “java.time”.

Create a LocalDateTime Object (with date and time)

To represent both date and time in Java using the java.time package, you can use the “LocalDateTime” class.

// Create LocalDateTime object representing current date and time
LocalDateTime currentDateTime = LocalDateTime.now();

System.println(currentDateTime); // Output: 2021-01-01T12:00:00

In this example, we use the static “now()” method of the LocalDateTime class to get the current date and time.

Note: The java.time package provides various other classes like “LocalDate”, “LocalTime”, and “ZonedDateTime”, each focusing on a specific aspect of dates and times.


In Java, the Date class is used to represent both dates and times. It provides methods for creating, formatting, and parsing date objects. However, starting from Java 8, the new java.time package offers a more modern and comprehensive set of classes for working with dates and times.

By understanding these concepts and utilizing the appropriate classes, you can effectively handle date and time data in your Java applications.

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