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Best Rails Datetime Picker

author
Carole Stephens
• Thursday, 21 January, 2021
• 16 min read

Creating a good user experience when selecting a date and time in a form is much more complicated than it should be. I will show how to add a date picker, time picker and datetimepicker to a Rails application using the Tempos Do minus JavaScript and CSS library for Bootstrap 4.

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Contents

Bootstrap 4 no longer uses glyph icons but instead leverages Font Awesome. At the time of this writing Font Awesome has just released version 5.0.

It's not available as a gem yet so for now we can add a link to the CDN, found at fontawesome.com/get-started, at the bottom of the application.html.era head element. You can access the library via a gem called moments- rails or though it's CDN.

1) Add links to their content delivery network (CDN) in the head element of your application.html.era page. The advantages and disadvantages of using CDs vs. installing them locally are out of scope for this tutorial.

You still need to add the other dependencies through gems, CDs, or directly. This gem has moments- rails as a dependency, so it will automatically be installed, but we'll add it explicitly.

Bundle install Require the jQuery, moment, and tempus-bootstrap-4.js files. You can get rid of the unnecessary stuff by disabling the builder gem and adding --no-helper and --no-assets flags.

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Make the Events index page your root directory. Notice there are select boxes for day, month, year, hour, and minute in the relevant form fields.

The Date time field is in the format of YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS. We are using a SQLite database which actually doesn't have column types for date, time, or date time.

Postgres does have date, time and date time column types. Remember, we assigned those data types when we created the database table, and you can see them in the db/schema.Rb file.

When a user submits a form, Rails recognizes commonly used date formats such as June 28, 2018, Thurs Jun 28, 2018, 2018-06-28, 28/6/2018 (but not 6/28/2018), etc. Rails is expecting a date, time or date time format based on the data type of the field and converts the submitted data into a Ruby date, time, or date time object.

Then when it saves the object to the database it converts it to the standard SQL date, time, or date time format. HTML5 introduced form input types for date, time and date time among others.

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Chrome, MS Edge, and iOS and Android browsers have native date and time pickers for these fields. The old IE browsers, and significantly Safari do not have native date and time pickers for these fields.

Without datetimepicker support across all major browsers this option is simply unavailable. But the truth is the UI does not look that great in the desktop browsers anyway and is not controllable.

We need to convert the date time formats to the ones we'll be setting in the JavaScript using the Ruby strike method. The date and time pickers appear when the user clicks on the calendar or clock icons.

This gives the user the option to directly change the value in the input box or use the picker. The default date format that Tempos Do minus uses is MM/DD/YYY which Rails interprets as DD/MM/YYY.

Tempos Do minus uses the Moment.js library for manipulating date formats. The Stepping option for the time picker specifies how many minutes each up/down arrow skips.

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The sideBySide option makes the form much more readable than the default in my opinion. Setting default values for time and date turned out to be tricky.

We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. Calendar date select plugin uses prototype which I have removed from my app and don't want to add back.

After you install datetimepicker and add it to your Gem file, you may need to run the generator. The generator will create the custom field definitions for Simple Form in your project.

Makes Tempos Do minus available to your rails application through the asset pipeline. The Tempos Do minus date picker exposes Moment.js localizations.

For the BuddyForms Plugin we are in need of a Date and Time Picker Form Element. That’s why we are searching for a nice looking and easy to use Date and Time Picker.

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BuddyForms is used on normal screens like desktops and laptops and also need to work nice on mobile. It’s important for us that the Date and Time selector is easy to use on all screen sizes.

That’s why I decided to write this article, describe the once I have found and ask you for your opinion. The documentation is extensive and comes with a great demo to see the Data and Time Picker in action.

The usability is nice and easy, but the time selector is hidden behind an icon, and it can be confusing. It also needs quite a lot of resources and I think it only makes sense for Bootstrap themes.

It comes with an extensive documentation and has a great demo to show the possibilities. Backdate is a really mobile-friendly, responsive and lightweight jQuery date & time input picker.

It is 100% designed to be used for mobile, and I do not think that the time select field will be nice on lager screens. There an are 77 issues and 7 pull request right now and the CSS and JS is clean and lightweight.

It looks more like the default jQuery calendar with a timeline on the site which can be scrolled also on touch devices. We want BuddyForms to work with all themes and load as less CSS and JS to have it run nicely.

I like the Bootstrap 3 Date picker v4 a lot, but I’m afraid, it will be a big overhead. A BuddyForms Form should not load the complete Bootstrap CSS just to display a Data and Time Picker.

Although date & calendar interfaces have sparse usage, they come in handy for very specific circumstances. And when building a site that requires this type of interface you’ll be happy to know there are dozens of open source plugins available.

I’ve cataloged the 30 best free jQuery plugins that offer date time functionality. The best part about using open source code is that it’s easy to customize for your own purpose.

You can use jQuery plugins to create custom date picker according to your need and choice. The date pickers are essential for many businesses, and they can also be used to track time for any specified purpose.

UNLIMITED DOWNLOADS: 50+ Million UI Kits & Design Assets Few of them are damn simple and easy-to-code while few of them offer advanced options to the users to customize according to their preference.

But some modern websites tend to behave like web applications: snappy, responsive, and quick to react. JQuery has the capability of tying into a backend language through AJAX, but it’s not always the best solution.

Calendar plugins are often completely useless because they’re not interactive or just feel too clunky. It’s a good idea to map out your concept for how the final layout should behave.

Just be sure to use minified versions of all plugins and resource files to reduce the length of HTTP requests. Date pickers tend to be smaller and more compact in relation to full calendar interfaces.

Many will focus on a simpler UI with dropdown menus or input fields. The design network Dribbble has lots of date picker interfaces you could check out.

Granted these are just designed mockups, but the best ones should capture your attention immediately. If a plugin can’t balance these ideas properly it will often lead to frustration for both the developer and the user.

It should be noted there is rarely an empirical list of rules that everyone agrees would denote great plugin design. No single plugin should be considered ideal since each project is subjective and requires its own solution.

Well-documented code is like the blueprint of a house; It’s vital in order to learn how to build or reconstruct whatever you’re using. For the most part, developers want to append generic functionality with a few tweaks and changes based on the situation.

A great plugin should come with options that can be updated to add or remove certain functionality. The best plugins will offer callback methods for developers to write their own functions.

Who wants to visit a site with a date picker that only works in recent versions of Chrome and WebKit browsers? Plugins are meant to enhance a website design, however poor UX does nothing but drags it down.

A unique way of highlighting special and regular intervals. This requires some knowledge of jQuery but offers a lot more control over the functionality.

Every aspect including language, date format and style is customizable. Mobile first design is responsive and calendar widget makes it perfect for desktop usage Can be installed via CDN.

Works on any HTML element, input field or otherwise.\ Learn to design and customize the date and time range selection of all kinds. The most common date picker plugin with the greatest amount of support.

Set a limited number of days for one selection(ex: only 7-day periods). Supports all major browsers including legacy versions like IE6+.

Select date and time from modal popup Calendar layout would fit in visually with most modern sites. Default plugin settings and callback functions to customize the calendar.

Easy to save and pass dates into backend functions. Plenty of configuration options for the interface and user experience.

Runs a simpler Mobile theme compared to Jim Hatbox. Circular analog clock interface is a unique method for time selection.

The library is designed to run over Bootstrap using the default styles. Detailed API with a full list of options and methods.

Runs on top of jQuery UI with the same theme customization benefits. The click event callback allows you to write a custom method for handling interactions.

If you’re someone who likes to get under the hood and customize from scratch then you may prefer to start with a tutorial. JQuery plugins are easy to customize once you learn the code structure.

But there’s nothing like the feeling of starting and completing a brand-new plugin. Each of these tutorials will teach you to build each section of the date picker calendar separately and also teach you to add additional features that will enhance the user experience multiple times.

Each of these tutorials place a focus on building a calendar or date picker interfaces through jQuery. Not every tutorial goes in-depth about the plugin side of coding, which may require a bit more research.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many tutorials related to date pickers and calendars because they’re much less common than slideshows or drop-down menus. But this collection should be perfect to satiate the appetite of anyone thirsting for greater knowledge.

Valerie Timber wrote this tutorial expounding on how to build a dynamic calendar interface. It covers the general setup of jQuery along with the custom CSS3 properties used to design and restyle everything.

The Co drops blog is perhaps one of my absolute favorites in the realm of web development. Mary Lou is the author and developer for this jQuery plugin tutorial named Calendar.

The tutorial is super easy to follow and the plugin code is 100% free to download. As I mentioned before, most web calendars are built using some type of backend language.

Although jQuery can be great for dynamic features, it can be dramatically improved with some backend programming. You’ll be introduced to the jQuery AJAX API for connecting into a PHP backend.

This tutorial offers a straightforward guide to code and output for customizing jQuery UI date picker. Adding the jQuery UI library to your static HTML page is a breeze.

It goes into great detail about the proper way to include the jQuery UI file through WordPress’ wp_enqueue_script function. Any WP developers out there who need to incorporate a frontend date picker will take away reliable information from this post.

Few developers are willing to push new standards because browser technology is often lacking in support. But HTML5 has been growing rapidly and seen a tremendous increase in general browser acceptance.

This tutorial written by TJ Atoll explains how to build an HTML5 type=” date” input field using jQuery as a fallback. It offers the best of both worlds incorporating a newer HTML5 input with a more trustworthy jQuery UI alternative.

Each step is easy to follow and there are plenty of live demos throughout the article. This series is one such example written by Tom McFarland who outlines the process of adding a date picker into the WordPress post editor.

Although not everyone likes to use WordPress, it is a popular CMS for both personal and professional web projects. As the years pass I’m constantly bumping into new libraries and plugins for enhanced web development.

When a talented developer needs some functionality that can’t be found elsewhere, they’ll often build it themselves. Many plugins have been created through this origin story and have since been released into the public.

I certainly hope these calendar and date picker plugins will offer some value to web designers and developers. If you have questions or suggestions for other related plugins let us know your thoughts in the post comments below.

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