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Quick and dirty date parsing Python library to parse HTML dates really fast

Project description

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qddate is a Python 3 lib that helps to parse any date strings from html pages extremely fast. This lib was created during long term news aggregation efforts and analyzing in wild HTML pages with dates. It’s not intended to have beautiful code, support for so much languages as possible and so on. It should help to process millons of strings to identify and parse dates. qddata was part of proprietary technology of “news reconstruction”. It’s used to automatically create RSS feeds from sites without it.

If you are looking for more advanced (and slower) date parsing try dateparser and dateutil.


Documentation is built automatically and can be found on Read the Docs.


  • More than 348 date patterns supported (by the end 2017)

  • Generic parsing of dates in English, Russian, Spanish, Portugenese and other languages

  • Supports strings with with left aligned dates and supplimental words. Example: “12.03.1999 some text here”

  • Extremely fast, uses pyparsing, hard-coded constants and dirty speed optimizations tricks


  • Not all languages supported, more languages will be added by request and example

  • Not so easy to add new language based date patterns as it’s in dateparser for example.

  • Could miss some rarely used date formats

  • Doesn’t support relative dates

  • Doesn’t support calendars

Speed optimization

  • All constants are hard encoded, no external settings

  • Uses only datetime and pyparsing as external libraries. No more dependencies, all reused code incorporated into the lib code

  • No regular expressions, instead pre-generated pyparsing patterns

  • Intensive pattern filtering using min/max text length filters and common text patterns

  • No one settings/data file loaded from disk


The easiest way is to use the qddate.DateParser class, and it’s parse function.


qddate relies on following libraries in some ways:

  • pyparsing is a module for advanced text processing.

Supported languages

  • Bulgarian

  • Czech

  • English

  • French

  • German

  • Portuguese

  • Russian

  • Spanish


I wrote this date parsing code at 2008 year and later only updated it several times, migrating from regular expressions to pyparsing. Looking at dateparser <> clean code and documentation motivated me to return to this code and to clean it up and to share it publicly. I’ve used same documentation and code style approach and reused build scripts and documentation generation style from dateutil. Many thanks to ScrapingHub team!

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