Local Time is a Rails engine with helpers and JavaScript for displaying times and dates to users in their local time. The helpers render a element and the JavaScript swoops in to convert and format. The helper output is ideal for caching since it's always in UTC time.

Programming language: CoffeeScript
License: MIT License
Latest version: v2.1.0

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Local Time

Local Time makes it easy to display times and dates to users in their local time. Its Rails helpers render <time> elements in UTC (making them cache friendly), and its JavaScript component immediately converts those elements from UTC to the browser's local time.


  1. Add gem 'local_time' to your Gemfile.
  2. Include local-time.js in your application's JavaScript bundle.

    Using the asset pipeline:

    //= require local-time

    Using the local-time npm package:

    import LocalTime from "local-time"


> comment.created_at
"Wed, 27 Nov 2013 18:43:22 EST -0500"
<%= local_time(comment.created_at) %>


<time data-format="%B %e, %Y %l:%M%P"
      datetime="2013-11-27T23:43:22Z">November 27, 2013 11:43pm</time>

And is converted client-side to:

<time data-format="%B %e, %Y %l:%M%P"
      title="November 27, 2013 6:43pm EDT"
      data-localized="true">November 27, 2013 6:43pm</time>

(Line breaks added for readability)

Time and date helpers

<%= local_time(time) %>

Format with a strftime string (default format shown here)

<%= local_time(time, '%B %e, %Y %l:%M%P') %>

Alias for local_time with a month-formatted default

<%= local_date(time, '%B %e, %Y') %>

To set attributes on the time tag, pass a hash as the second argument with a :format key and your attributes.

<%= local_time(time, format: '%B %e, %Y %l:%M%P', class: 'my-time') %>

To use a strftime format already defined in your app, pass a symbol as the format.

<%= local_time(date, :long) %>

I18n.t("time.formats.#{format}"), I18n.t("date.formats.#{format}"), Time::DATE_FORMATS[format], and Date::DATE_FORMATS[format] will be scanned (in that order) for your format.

Note: The included strftime JavaScript implementation is not 100% complete. It supports the following directives: %a %A %b %B %c %d %e %H %I %l %m %M %p %P %S %w %y %Y %Z

Time ago helpers

<%= local_time_ago(time) %>

Displays the relative amount of time passed. With age, the descriptions transition from {quantity of seconds, minutes, or hours} to {date + time} to {date}. The <time> elements are updated every 60 seconds.

Examples (in quotes):

  • Recent: "a second ago", "32 seconds ago", "an hour ago", "14 hours ago"
  • Yesterday: "yesterday at 5:22pm"
  • This week: "Tuesday at 12:48am"
  • This year: "on Nov 17"
  • Last year: "on Jan 31, 2012"

Relative time helpers

Preset time and date formats that vary with age. The available types are date, time-ago, time-or-date, and weekday. Like the local_time helper, :type can be passed a string or in an options hash.

<%= local_relative_time(time, 'weekday') %>
<%= local_relative_time(time, type: 'time-or-date') %>

Available :type options

  • date Includes the year unless it's current. "Apr 11" or "Apr 11, 2013"
  • time-ago See above. local_time_ago calls local_relative_time with this :type option.
  • time-or-date Displays the time if it occurs today or the date if not. "3:26pm" or "Apr 11"
  • weekday Displays "Today", "Yesterday", or the weekday (e.g. Wednesday) if the time is within a week of today.
  • weekday-or-date Displays the weekday if it occurs within a week or the date if not. "Yesterday" or "Apr 11"


Internationalization (I18n)

Local Time includes a [set of default en translations](lib/assets/javascripts/src/local-time/config/i18n.coffee) which can be updated directly. Or, you can provide an entirely new set in a different locale:

LocalTime.config.i18n["es"] = {
  date: {
    dayNames: [ … ],
    monthNames: [ … ],
  time: {
  datetime: {

LocalTime.config.locale = "es"

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