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1. Introduction

In this tutorial, we learn about the difference between Date and OffsetDateTime. We also learn how to convert from one to the other.

2. Difference Between Date and OffsetDateTime

OffsetDateTime was introduced in JDK 8 as a modern alternative to java.util.Date.

OffsetDateTime is a thread-safe class that stores date and time to a precision of nanoseconds. Date, on the other hand, is not thread-safe and stores time to millisecond precision.

OffsetDateTime is a value-based class, which means that we need to use equals when comparing references instead of the typical ==.

The output of OffsetDateTime‘s toString method is in ISO-8601 format, while Date‘s toString is in a custom non-standard format.

Let's call toString on of both classes to see the difference:

Date: Sat Oct 19 17:12:30 2019
OffsetDateTime: 2019-10-19T17:12:30.174Z

Date can't store timezones and corresponding offsets. The only thing that a Date object contains is the number of milliseconds since 1 January 1970, 00:00:00 UTC, so if our time isn't in UTC we should store the timezone in a helper class. On the contrary, OffsetDateTime stores the ZoneOffset internally.

3. Converting Date to OffsetDateTime

Converting Date to OffsetDateTime is pretty simple. If our Date is in UTC, we can convert it with a single expression:

Date date = new Date();
OffsetDateTime offsetDateTime = date.toInstant()
  .atOffset(ZoneOffset.UTC);

If the original Date isn't in UTC, we can provide the offset (stored in a helper object, because as mentioned earlier Date class can't store timezones).

Let's say our original Date is +3:30 (Tehran time):

int hour = 3;
int minute = 30;
offsetDateTime = date.toInstant()
  .atOffset(ZoneOffset.ofHoursMinutes(hour, minute));

OffsetDateTime provides many useful methods that can be used afterward. For example, we can simply getDayOfWeek(), getDayOfMonth(), and getDayOfYear(). It's also very easy to compare two OffsetDateTime objects with isAfter and isBefore methods.

Above all, it's a good practice to avoid the deprecated Date class entirely.

4. Conclusion

In this tutorial, we learned how simple it is to convert from Date to OffsetDateTime.

And, as always, the code is available over on Github.

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