Knut Arne Vedaa Knut Arne Vedaa - 7 months ago 16
Java Question

Converting between java.time.LocalDateTime and java.util.Date

Java 8 has a completely new API for date and time. One of the most useful classes in this API is

LocalDateTime
, for holding a timezone-independent date-with-time value.

There are probably millions of lines of code using the legacy class
java.util.Date
for this purpose. As such, when interfacing old and new code there will be a need for converting between the two. As there seems to be no direct methods for accomplishing this, how can it be done?

Answer

Short answer:

Date in = new Date();
LocalDateTime ldt = LocalDateTime.ofInstant(in.toInstant(), ZoneId.systemDefault());
Date out = Date.from(ldt.atZone(ZoneId.systemDefault()).toInstant());

Explanation: (based on this question about LocalDate)

Despite its name, java.util.Date represents an instant on the time-line, not a "date". The actual data stored within the object is a long count of milliseconds since 1970-01-01T00:00Z (midnight at the start of 1970 GMT/UTC).

The equivalent class to java.util.Date in JSR-310 is Instant, thus there are convenient methods to provide the conversion to and fro:

Date input = new Date();
Instant instant = input.toInstant();
Date output = Date.from(instant);

A java.util.Date instance has no concept of time-zone. This might seem strange if you call toString() on a java.util.Date, because the toString is relative to a time-zone. However that method actually uses Java's default time-zone on the fly to provide the string. The time-zone is not part of the actual state of java.util.Date.

An Instant also does not contain any information about the time-zone. Thus, to convert from an Instant to a local date-time it is necessary to specify a time-zone. This might be the default zone - ZoneId.systemDefault() - or it might be a time-zone that your application controls, such as a time-zone from user preferences. LocalDateTime has a convenient factory method that takes both the instant and time-zone:

Date in = new Date();
LocalDateTime ldt = LocalDateTime.ofInstant(in.toInstant(), ZoneId.systemDefault());

In reverse, the LocalDateTime the time-zone is specified by calling the atZone(ZoneId) method. The ZonedDateTime can then be converted directly to an Instant:

LocalDateTime ldt = ...
ZonedDateTime zdt = ldt.atZone(ZoneId.systemDefault());
Date output = Date.from(zdt.toInstant());

Note that the conversion from LocalDateTime to ZonedDateTime has the potential to introduce unexpected behaviour. This is because not every local date-time exists due to Daylight Saving Time. In autumn/fall, there is an overlap in the local time-line where the same local date-time occurs twice. In spring, there is a gap, where an hour disappears. See the Javadoc of atZone(ZoneId) for more the definition of what the conversion will do.

Summary, if you round-trip a java.util.Date to a LocalDateTime and back to a java.util.Date you may end up with a different instant due to Daylight Saving Time.

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