Solved: decimal to time string

Working with time-related data is a common requirement in a wide array of applications. Managing, formatting and converting such data can be intricate, especially in programming languages that offer a great deal of flexibility, like PHP. Among such operations, a frequent one is converting decimal time to a proper time string. The whole process entails a mix of arithmetic and Modulus operations, and demonstrates eloquently, PHP’s power and versatility in handling such data conversions.

In this article, we will delve deep into the systematic approach to convert decimal numbers into time strings in PHP. Let’s start by analyzing a simple solution to this common problem.


function decimalToTimeString($decimal)
    $hours = floor($decimal);
    $minutes = floor(($decimal - $hours) * 60);
    $seconds = "00";

    return str_pad($hours, 2, "0", STR_PAD_LEFT) . ":" . str_pad($minutes, 2, "0", STR_PAD_LEFT) . ":" . $seconds;

**Understanding the Code**

Our solution involves declaring a function `decimalToTimeString` taking a decimal input. We start by extracting the decimal hours using the `floor` function, and save it in the variable `$hours`. This function rounds down the decimal number, which gives us the whole hours.

In the next line, we calculate the remainder, which signifies the fraction of the hour. We subtract the hours from the decimal and then multiply the result by 60 to give the decimal minutes. This is stored in `$minutes`.

The `$seconds` is set to “00” because our decimal values do not include seconds. We then return a formatted string representing hours, minutes and seconds. The function `str_pad` is used to pad the `$hours` and `$minutes` variables with leading zeros, if necessary. This ensures that the returned time string is always properly formatted.

PHP built-in Functions Used

The code snippet provided mainly uses three PHP core functions to achieve the desired result.

  • floor(): This function rounds fractions down, hence it helps to separate the hours from our decimal.
  • str_pad(): This function pad a string to a certain length with another string. It helps to keep our $hours and $minutes variables always as two-digits numbers.

Relevance in Web Development

Handling time accurately is vital in various web applications. PHP’s adaptability with time and arithmetic functions can simplify the creation of functionalities like countdowns, event calendars, or time-log applications, where the efficient conversion of time data is necessary. The shared function is an example of how you can conveniently convert decimal numbers into user-friendly time formats on your website. The beauty of PHP and its rich library of built-in functions makes it an ideal language for such time-reliant web development tasks.

In conclusion, time manipulation and conversion may sound daunting, but as we have seen, PHP offers smooth and streamlined solutions to help manage even the challenging time related conversions, like, translating decimal numbers into properly formatted time strings.

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