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Date/Time Functions In MySQL
Get a crash course in MySQL's date and time functions.

| The Time Is NOW() |

A basic requirement for many SQL queries is the ability to retrieve the current date and time. MySQL provides a simple, no-nonsense function for this requirement, aptly called NOW(), that returns the relevant information. By  default, this function will return the date in the "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS" format.

mysql> SELECT NOW();
| NOW()              |
| 2004-01-19 12:14:59 |
1 row in set (0.01 sec)

While the above format is human-friendly, it is ill-suited to *NIX boxes used to dealing with date and time value in the YYYYMMDDHHMMSS format. But hey, MySQL is no ordinary database - the RDBMS is smart enough to automatically use this second format when the function is invoked in a mathematical context, as shown below.

mysql> SELECT NOW(), NOW() + 5;
| NOW()              | NOW() + 5      |
| 2004-01-18 12:26:30 | 20040119122635 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

The only drawback of the NOW() function is that it returns both date and time components in a single value. If you need either one of the two values, you could resort to the CURRENT_DATE() or CURDATE() functions for the current date,

| 2004-01-18    |
1 row in set (0.02 sec)

and the CURRENT_TIME() or CURTIME() functions for the current time.

| 12:32:33      |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Just like the NOW() function, the above functions will also return the values in machine-friendly YYYYMMDD format (for dates) or HHMMSS format (for times) if used in a numerical context.

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