Reports the approximate time ago in words from a specific past date

  • damals

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900.9.56 years ago10 years agoMinified + gzip package size for damals in KB


Damals (German for back then, at that time) reports the approximate time ago in words from a specific past date. The project is inspired by Rails' time_ago_in_words helper.


Install via npm:
% npm install damals


The module exports a function which when called expects as sole argument a past date either in form of a JavaSript Date object or in form of an integer value holding the number of milliseconds since the Unix epoch. The function returns the approximate time ago in words.
var timeAgo = require('damals');

timeAgo(Date.now())             // => 'just now'
timeAgo(Date.now() - 30000)     // => 'half a minute ago'
timeAgo(new Date('1976-12-10')) // => 'about 37 years ago'

Side note: The future is now.


By default, all output is in English, but you can easily change this. Damals uses the counterpart package for its translations. You can register new translations for your locale with the registerTranslations function:
var translator = require('counterpart');
var timeAgo    = require('damals');

translator.registerTranslations('de', require('counterpart/locales/de'));
translator.registerTranslations('de', require('./locales/de'));

timeAgo(Date.now())   // => 'just now'

// invoke this on app initialization or when the user changes her language preference

timeAgo(Date.now())   // => 'gerade eben'

The translation data you provide as last argument to registerTranslations must have the same keys as specified in the English locale file.

Built-in Translations

Besides English, damals comes with built-in support for German (see file), Dutch (see file) and Brazilian Portuguese (see file). This is opt-in, meaning you have to manually register the translation data when needed:
translator.registerTranslations('de', require('counterpart/locales/de'));
translator.registerTranslations('de', require('damals/locales/de'));

Pull requests which add other locales are welcome.


Here's a quick guide:
  1. Fork the repo and make install.

  1. Run the tests. We only take pull requests with passing tests, and it's great to know that you have a clean slate: make test

  1. Add a test for your change. Only refactoring and documentation changes require no new tests. If you are adding functionality or are fixing a bug, we need a test!

  1. Make the test pass.

  1. Push to your fork and submit a pull request.


Released under The MIT License.