Nice Date Feature – Facebook Style

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PHP Nice Date - Facebook Style

One of the latest features I’ve added to my sports fishing portal was the nice date feature. Instead of showing PHP formatted date and time, I wanted to display time since the action took place, like “4 hours ago”, “2 days ago”, “1 minute ago” and so on.

function nicetime($date) {
	if(empty($date)) {
		return "ERROR: No date provided";
	$periods = array("second", "minute", "hour", "day", "week", "month", "year", "decade");
	$lengths = array("60","60","24","7","4.35","12","10");
	$now = time();
	$unix_date = strtotime($date);
	// check validity of date
	if(empty($unix_date)) {
		return "ERROR: Invalid date";
	// is it future date or past date
	if($now > $unix_date) {
		$difference = $now - $unix_date;
		$tense = "ago";
	else {
		$difference = $unix_date - $now;
		$tense = "from now";
	for($j = 0; $difference >= $lengths[$j] && $j < count($lengths)-1; $j++) {
		$difference /= $lengths[$j];
	$difference = round($difference);
	if($difference != 1) {
//		$periods[$j] .= "s"; // plural for English language
		$periods = array("seconds", "minutes", "hours", "days", "weeks", "months", "years", "decades"); // plural for international words
	return "$difference $periods[$j] {$tense}";

Use <?php echo nicetime($date);?> to call the function, where $date is a variable holding your desired date, properly formatted  in PHP/MySQL. You can also pass a date directly using the standard format – date(‘Y-m-d G:i:s’), but for obvious reasons it’s better to prior assign it to a fixed variable.

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