View Full Version : php timestamps...

March 2nd, 2006, 04:45 AM
I have a problem. I can't figure out how to work with timestamps. I want to use timestamps to check if a user is online or not. How do you compare two different timestamps, for example:

//--start code--//
if( $timestamp > ($timestamp2 + $x)){
//user offline
//--end code--//

$x is the amount of minutes that will be added to the second timestamp.
the statement will check if the user has been inactive for $x amount of minutes.
I don't know how to work with timestamps though. How do you compare them. I would appreciate any help.

March 2nd, 2006, 05:44 AM
Timestamps are a measure of seconds since a certain date (1/1/1970?). It's called 'Unix time', and is the internal representation of time on all Unix machines.

You can use functions to convert them to and from actual date/time representations (see: http://php.net/manual/en/ref.datetime.php) ... or just do the math manually.

For example, to check for 10 minutes:

if ($timestamp1 > $timestamp2 + (10 * 60)) { *do something* }

March 2nd, 2006, 06:25 AM
Ok thank you, now i get it. Will this work if you enter a timestamp into a mysql table and then retrieve the timestamp and try to use it. I read that mysql stores timestamps as a string. If it does store them as a string then wouldn't that create a problem if you try perform mathematical equations on it.

March 2nd, 2006, 06:53 AM

Store timestamps in mysql as INTEGER type columns.

I wouldn't bother with MySQL date type columns or anything like that. It's just as easy to use INTEGER timestamp fields, it's more efficient and there are a whole lot of "GOTCHA's" in MySQL date fields that need watching out for. All in all it's just simpler to use INTEGER columns and timestamps.



P.S. On a side note this will actually fail sometime in 2034 or so, because a 32-bit integer will run out of room in which to store timestamps for that date and beyond.

If you have a 64-bit machine (and plan on keeping this app running until 2034 :)) you could use BIGINT instead to prevent this.

P.P.S. For an example of some of the issues with DATE columns in MySQL have a look at: http://sql-info.de/mysql/gotchas.html#1_14

March 2nd, 2006, 07:02 AM
Ok, Thank you for the tip.