Useful PHP Functions Part 2

Last month I highlighted a few PHP functions that I use regularly. Because the language is so large I have decided to expand upon my previous post. Specifically I would like to cover some useful date based functions.


If you’re ever asked to program anything to do with date and time this is the function you are looking for. Simply put it will return a date. The first parameter allows you to set a format you wish the value to be returned in. The second parameter allows you to pass a time stamp. This can be used to change the format of a date variable you may already have.

// Assuming today is March 10th, 2001, 5:16:18 pm, and that we are in the
// Mountain Standard Time (MST) Time Zone

$today = date("F j, Y, g:i a"); // March 10, 2001, 5:16 pm
$today = date("m.d.y"); // 03.10.01


The above function takes a string containing a date in any format and converts it to a Unix Timestamp. The first parameter contains the date time value you wish to convert. This function even allows you to pass phrases such as “Last Monday” or “Now” as the $time variable.

echo strtotime("now"), "n";
echo strtotime("10 September 2000"), "n";


getDate returns an array containing date information. It allows you to pass a time stamp.

$today = getdate();