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This plugin is inspired by the WordPress TimeSince plugin. It which can be used to display a time difference in a human readable way, for instance to tell you that a topic has been published "2 days, 3 hours ago".

There are some problems with the original TimeSince plugin for WordPress. For example, it was only able to display a time diff with at most two expressions: "1day, 2hours ago" or "1 week ago" but not "1 day, 2 hours and 3 minutes". It even displays only one time expression if the difference does not occure in two adjacent time units (time units are year, month, week, day, hour, minute). If a time interval differs in week and hour the TimeSince WP plugin will only display the week difference and not the hours as week and hour are not adjacent. This is fixed in the TimeSincePlugin for Foswiki. Several other parameters have been added to give a finer control of the format and the information displayed.

Syntax Rules

%TIMESINCE%, %TIMESINCE{[[from]="..."] [to="..."]}%

Without arguments the time since the current topic has been created will be displayed.

Argument Description
from="<time-experssion>" the starting time point, if ommited the current time
to="<time-expression>" the ending timepoint, if ommited the current time
units="1...7" number of time units to display, default 2; (example units="3": 2 months, 1 day and 3 minutes)
seconds="on,off" switch on/off seconds, default off
minutes="on,off" switch on/off minutes
hours="on,off" switch on/off hours
days="on,off" switch on/off days
weeks="on,off" switch on/off weeks
months="on,off" switch on/off months
years="on,off" switch on/off years
null="<format-string>" to be displayed if the tim difference is null; defaults to "about now"
format="<format-string>" format of the output, defaults to "$time", other usefull settings format="$time ago", format="replied $time later", "format="$time after the incident"
negformat="<format-string>" use this format string if the time difference is negative

Note, that switching off years and months (or any other two adjacent time unites) won't display the correct duration when the times differ more than a year, that is: years can't be converted to weeks, the next lower unit. The following units can be converted to each other:
  • year <=> months
  • weeks <=> days
  • hours <=> minutes

For a further explanation/excuse, read how datetime math is done.

Time expressions can be specified in any of the following format:
  • 31 Dec 2001 - 23:59 (Foswiki date)
  • 31 Dec 2001
  • 2001/12/31 23:59:59 (RCS date)
    also -, . instead of / in date, also . instead : in time
  • 2001/12/31 23:59
  • 2001/12/31
  • 2001-12-31T23:59:59Z (ISO date)
  • 2001-12-31T23:59:59+01:00
  • 2001-12-31T23:59Z
  • 2001-12-31T23:59+01:00
  • epoch seconds

Format strings may contain the following:
  • $time expands to the calculated time difference
  • $percnt$ expands to a % char
  • $dollar$ expands to a $ char
  • $n expands to a linefeed
  • $t expands to a tab space
  • $nop expands to the empty string


You type You get (simulated) You get (if installed)
%TIMESINCE% 2 years and 6 months %TIMESINCE%
%TIMESINCE{format="topic was created $time ago" null="topic has just now been saved" units="3" }% topic was created 1 day, 3 hours and 8 minutes ago %TIMESINCE{format="topic was created $time ago" null="topic has just now been saved" units="4"}%
%TIMESINCE{"11 Sep 2001 - 8:45" units="7" seconds="on"}% 4 years, 2 months, 2 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes, 16 seconds %TIMESINCE{"11 Sep 2001 - 8:45" units="7" seconds="on"}%
%TIMESINCE{from="1955/04/18" to="1979-03-14" units="3"}% 23 years, 11 months, 6 days %TIMESINCE{from="1955/04/18" to="1979-03-14" units="3"}%

Plugin Installation Instructions

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this extension. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the extension on the server.

Open configure, and open the "Extensions" section. Use "Find More Extensions" to get a list of available extensions. Select "Install".

If you have any problems, or if the extension isn't available in configure, then you can still install manually from the command-line. See for more help.

Plugin Info

Plugin Author: Michael Daum
Copyright ©: 2005-2009, Michael Daum
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: v3.00
Change History:  
23 Apr 2009: converted to foswiki plugin
13 Aug 2008: replaced CPAN:Time::Local with much more powerful and more precise CPAN:DateTime
03 Jan 2008: improved parsing time formats
13 Oct 2006: added negformat parameter
31 Aug 2006: added NO_PREFS_IN_TOPIC
27 Apr 2006: added lazy compilation
11 Nov 2005: Initial version
Dependency: $Foswiki::Plugins::VERSION 1.1
CPAN Dependencies: CPAN:DateTime
Other Dependencies: none
Perl Version: 5.005
Plugin Home: Foswiki:Extensions/TimeSincePlugin
Support: Foswiki:Support/TimeSincePlugin

I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
TimeSincePlugin.md5md5 TimeSincePlugin.md5 manage 0.2 K 23 Apr 2009 - 16:35 MichaelDaum  
TimeSincePlugin.sha1sha1 TimeSincePlugin.sha1 manage 0.2 K 23 Apr 2009 - 16:35 MichaelDaum  
TimeSincePlugin.tgztgz TimeSincePlugin.tgz manage 7.3 K 23 Apr 2009 - 16:35 MichaelDaum  
TimeSincePlugin.zipzip manage 9.9 K 23 Apr 2009 - 16:35 MichaelDaum  
TimeSincePlugin_installerEXT TimeSincePlugin_installer manage 4.1 K 23 Apr 2009 - 16:35 MichaelDaum  
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Topic revision: r4 - 23 Apr 2009, MichaelDaum

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