Do Americans find a date such as 11 Apr 2012 more readable than the ISO format 2012-04-11? The reason I ask is that there are many situations where we do not have access to the locale, and even if we do there are often no locale-sensitive formatting functions that we can use.


I think the ISO format (2012-04-11) will be slightly more jarring than 11 Apr 2012. However, if you're using numeric months, that might be a good thing. I suspect most Americans will associate 11-4-2012 with the 4th of November. The ISO format might make us pause, but it won't be confusing.

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The U.S. military uses the 11 Apr 2012 format (DD MMM YYYY, or DD MMM YY), so as to avoid ambiguities between 4 Nov and 11 Apr (4/11 and 11/4, not necessarily respectively, depending on where you reside).

The format is more uncommon outside of military correspondence, but I don't think anyone would tell you that such a date is "less readable" – maybe "less familiar."

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    Isn't DD MMM YY potentially almost as ambigious as DD/MM/YY? Take 11 Apr 12 for example; in ISO 8601 parlace, is that equal to 2011-04-12 or 2012-04-11? DD MMM YYYY is pretty hard to misread: 11 Apr 2012 is clearly the same day as 2012-04-11 (assuming of course that you are familiar with the ISO 8601 date format). – a CVn Apr 11 '12 at 11:36
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    @MichaelKjörling 'MMM' implies that you spell out the 3letter abbrev for the month. 'MM' is the number which does cause problems – mgb Apr 11 '12 at 15:20
  • @mgb, the problem that I see is not the month (see my example DD MMM YY to 11 Apr 12), but the potential for ambiguity between a two-digit day (DD) and two-digit year (YY). – a CVn Apr 16 '12 at 11:46
  • @MichaelKjörling - OK, although spelled out like this would generally mean year last as in an ISO format date – mgb Apr 16 '12 at 12:47

American date format is mm/dd/yyyy but you are talking about dd/MMM/yyyy which doesn't match with American date format.

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