std::string time_string;
  if ( time_t_var > 0 ) {
      time_string = boost::posix_time::to_iso_extended_string(boost::posix_time::from_time_t(time_t_var));
      boost::replace_all(time_string , "T" , " ");

I have the above to get a time_t to a string in the format Y:M:D H:M:S or simply a blank string in the instances where time_t is 00:00 hours, Jan 1, 1970 UTC.

The code above is in a function called once a second so I'm looking to get this done as fast as possible, boost's way seems to need another function call to replace the 'T' and it's a std::string so I'm needing to convert it to std::wstring after.

Is there a quicker method of doing this preferably by using a std::wstring to begin with?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You could use std::put_time. \$\endgroup\$ – Edward Dec 22 '16 at 0:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or you could use std::time_put and imbue the stream with it so that dates are always correctly formatted. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin York Dec 22 '16 at 18:02

Here's how to do this with std::put_time as mentioned in a comment.

#include <iostream>
#include <iomanip>
#include <ctime>
#include <sstream>

std::wstring wtime(const time_t &t) {
    std::tm tm = *std::localtime(&t);
    std::wstringstream wss;
    wss << std::put_time(&tm, L"%F %T");
    return wss.str();

int main()
    std::time_t t = std::time(nullptr);
    std::wstring timestr = wtime(t);
    std::wcout << timestr;

Sample output:

2016-12-22 12:33:28

Note that unlike Boost, there is no fractional second, so if you need that, you are probably better off keeping Boost. If that's the case, you can replace the unwanted T with this:

time_string[10] = ' ';

Since we know that the T character always is in the same place.

If this is really done once a second, it may be worthwhile to use a method that's often employed in embedded systems that need a text version of a clock: update a shared, read-only text version of the clock directly upon each tick.

| improve this answer | |
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note to anybody who needs a std::string here instead of the wstring, you can modify the method given to use a std::stringstream, and remove the L from the second argument to put_time. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex K Dec 29 '18 at 10:29

I'm wondering if the ctime functions would work for you. This function will accept a time_t object and return the formatted wstring:

wstring GetTime(time_t& time_t_var)
    if ( time_t_var > 0 )
        wchar_t buffer[30];
        wcsftime( buffer , 30 , L"%y:%m:%d %X" , localtime( &time_t_var ) );
        return buffer;
    return L"";
| improve this answer | |

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