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How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

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Anonymous
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How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Hello Community,

We'd like to be able to change the date format for an expiration date token (see below) from appearing in an email as 2018-04-12 to April 12, 2018. How would I set up the Velocity Script to do so?

{{lead.Expiration Date:default=edit me}}

Thank you,

Laura Kimball

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

#set( $dateOptions = {

  "formats" : {

    "userin" : "yyyy-MM-dd",

    "userout" : "MMMM d, yyyy"

  },

  "timezones" : {

    "userin" : "America/New_York",

    "userout" : "America/New_York"

  },

  "locale" : $date.getLocale()

} )

#set( $expirationDatelike = $lead.ExpirationDate )

#set( $expirationDate = $convert.parseDate(

  $expirationDatelike,

  $dateOptions.formats.userin,

  $dateOptions.locale,

  $date.getTimeZone().getTimeZone($dateOptions.timezones.userin)

) )

#set( $expirationDate_formatted = $date.format(

  $dateOptions.formats.userout,

  $expirationDate,

  $dateOptions.locale,

  $date.getTimeZone().getTimeZone($dateOptions.timezones.userout)

) )

${expirationDate_formatted}

Note the very important inclusion of time zones (set the userin and userout time zone strings according to your tz).

You'll see a lot of examples (frankly, any examples that weren't originally contributed by yours truly) that are broken because they are timezone-unaware.  Those examples may seem simpler, but they're broken.

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15 REPLIES 15
Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

#set( $dateOptions = {

  "formats" : {

    "userin" : "yyyy-MM-dd",

    "userout" : "MMMM d, yyyy"

  },

  "timezones" : {

    "userin" : "America/New_York",

    "userout" : "America/New_York"

  },

  "locale" : $date.getLocale()

} )

#set( $expirationDatelike = $lead.ExpirationDate )

#set( $expirationDate = $convert.parseDate(

  $expirationDatelike,

  $dateOptions.formats.userin,

  $dateOptions.locale,

  $date.getTimeZone().getTimeZone($dateOptions.timezones.userin)

) )

#set( $expirationDate_formatted = $date.format(

  $dateOptions.formats.userout,

  $expirationDate,

  $dateOptions.locale,

  $date.getTimeZone().getTimeZone($dateOptions.timezones.userout)

) )

${expirationDate_formatted}

Note the very important inclusion of time zones (set the userin and userout time zone strings according to your tz).

You'll see a lot of examples (frankly, any examples that weren't originally contributed by yours truly) that are broken because they are timezone-unaware.  Those examples may seem simpler, but they're broken.

View solution in original post

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

AWESOME! Thank you so much Sanford!

For a non-programmer like myself, do you have any suggestions for how to approach the development of these scripts? In other words, is there a "method to the madness"? For example, for the lead.DBCBalance script you helped me with earlier, the script was very simple--just 1 line, whereas with this particular script there are 25 lines of code...What is the difference?

Thank you,

Laura

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Well, they're doing very different things, since the other one is just formatting an existing string and this one is actually creating Date objects from strings (which is a surprisingly sensitive process in any language) and then outputting them as strings.

Because of the number/length of the function arguments, I broke up the parseDate() and format() calls into multiple lines with line breaks -- so each of those #set lines could technically be on one line, but then they'd be far harder to read.

It's not really about lines of code (LoC), though. Yes, you do hear programmers bragging about their LoC (in both directions -- sometime we say, "I could do that in 3 lines" while in other contexts we say, "We have a mature codebase of 100,000 LoC, so don't tell us changes are simple.").

But the key is writing the shortest amount of code that is readable and maintainable -- and no shorter! That means you add line breaks as necessary for readability, and declare variables (like my $dateOptions), instead of hard-coding values, for easier reconfiguration over time.  This may add lines but your code is better for it. Where you save "lines" is by using time-tested functions to do stuff, instead of trying to write your own. Like you don't try to write your own date parser when Velocity already has one that works.

Overall, though, Velocity is a programming language, and I can't give non-programmer-y pointers for how to learn it. I love Velo (well, maybe that's strong, I enjoy learning its quirks and the power it brings to Marketo) but I am a programmer by trade, so...

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Well, they're doing very different things, since the other one is just formatting an existing string and this one is actually creating Date objects from strings (which is a surprisingly sensitive process in any language) and then outputting them as strings.

Can you please explain what you mean by "creating Date objects from strings"? What are the strings that comprise the Expiration Date token and what are the date objects they become?

But the key is writing the shortest amount of code that is readable and maintainable -- and no shorter! That means you add line breaks as necessary for readability, and declare variables (like my $dateOptions), instead of hard-coding values, for easier reconfiguration over time.  This may add lines but your code is better for it. Where you save "lines" is by using time-tested functions to do stuff, instead of trying to write your own. Like you don't try to write your own date parser when Velocity already has one that works.

Is the variable my $dateOptions an "arbitrary" variable or is it one that is used often in velocity scripting? That is, is it a "standard" variable (for lack of a better term) or was it created for a specific purpose? If standard, are there other standard variables?

Overall, though, Velocity is a programming language, and I can't give non-programmer-y pointers for how to learn it. I love Velo (well, maybe that's strong, I enjoy learning its quirks and the power it brings to Marketo) but I am a programmer by trade, so...

Where would be a good place to start to get a better grasp of programming in general and how Velocity functions as a programming language?

Thanks again for your feedback!

Laura

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Level 6

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Hi Laura

Reading this, I can totally empathise. I might be a little further along the line than you, so I'd be happy to give you some help (including some docs I've created myself) which might help to explain some of the above. Send me a PM with your email if you're interested.

I must say that pretty much all I've learnt has been due to two main factors: a lot of trial and error, and Sanford's work. Here's a blog post which will help to explain a question you have above: http://blog.teknkl.com/marketo-vtl-strings-all-the-way-down/

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Level 6

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

PS - I had the exact same date formatting problem Sanford Whiteman​ - so this question and post is very timely! I wasn't inputting timezones. Your code is very clean as usual - thanks so much. I won't be making that mistake again...

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Level 6

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Hmm I spoke slightly too soon. When I input the date "04/17/2017", I keep getting as the output January 17, 2017 instead of April 17, 2017. Why?

My code below. The only changes I've made are around the index I'm substituting in, and the "user in" formatting.

## get the size of the list

#set ($listlength = ${abandonedCart_cList.size()})

## remove one from the size of the list to reference the right object in the array (arrays start at zero, not 1)

#set( $lastIndex = $math.sub($listlength,1) )

## convert the Service Start Date string to a date

#set( $dateOptions = { 

  "formats" : { 

    "userin" : "mm/dd/yyyy", 

    "userout" : "MMMM d, yyyy" 

  }, 

  "timezones" : { 

    "userin" : "America/New_York", 

    "userout" : "America/New_York" 

  }, 

  "locale" : $date.getLocale() 

} ) 

#set( $ServiceStartDatelike = $abandonedCart_cList.get($lastIndex).serviceStartDate ) 

#set( $ServiceStartDate = $convert.parseDate( 

  $ServiceStartDatelike, 

  $dateOptions.formats.userin, 

  $dateOptions.locale, 

  $date.getTimeZone().getTimeZone($dateOptions.timezones.userin) 

) )

## convert the date to a different format

#set( $ServiceStartDate_formatted = $date.format( 

  $dateOptions.formats.userout, 

  $ServiceStartDate, 

  $dateOptions.locale, 

  $date.getTimeZone().getTimeZone($dateOptions.timezones.userout) 

) ) 

${ServiceStartDate_formatted} 

Thanks, any help appreciated.

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Zero-padded month is MM, not mm.

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: How do I modify the date format for a token using Velocity Script?

Thanks Phillip! It's nice to know I'm not alone in this area. I really want to get to the point where I am more autonomous in being able to tackle VS (and other technical areas related to Marketo)I'm not looking to be a VS guru (lol), but would at least like to be able to make strides in those areas and be more confident in how to execute on setting up VS code if  my company needs something done right away.

Thanks for offering to share your docs with me . I'll PM you my email address in a few minutes.

Again, I really appreciate your feedback and offer to help!

Laura