Exploring JavaScript Date Library: Date-Fns vs. Moment.js

Introduction

In this blog, we’re going to look at Date-Fns, a modern JavaScript Date Library. We’ll explore its functionalities, advantages, and how it compares to Moment.js. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of Date-Fns, highlighting why it might be a preferable choice for managing dates and times in your JavaScript projects.

What is Date-Fns?

Date-Fns, a versatile JavaScript Date Library, is a package designed for dealing with dates and timings. It is intended to be lightweight and quick. Date-Fns is a functional programming framework that provides a collection of functions for efficiently manipulating, formatting, and comparing dates.

As a result, it is a popular choice among developers who value modularity and wish to include only the functionalities they want, resulting in reduced bundle sizes for web applications. Its clean and straightforward API makes working with dates in JavaScript easier and more manageable.

MomentJS is a popular JavaScript Date Library among software developers. However, in recent years, new options have come and date-fans in one of them.

Installation Guide:

// Install date-fns library
npm i date-fns

//usage

import { format, addDays } from "date-fns";

function App() {
const now = new Date();

return (
<div>
<p>Today is {format(now, "eeee, MMMM do yyyy, h:mm:ss a")}</p>
<p>Tomorrow is {format(addDays(now, 1), "eeee, MMMM do yyyy")}</p>
</div>
);
}

export default App;

Why Date Fns:

🔸 Modularity

Date-Fns, is developed with a function-per-file approach, which allows developers to import only what they require. This modularity, a key feature of the JavaScript Date Library, eliminates unneeded baggage in your applications and combines easily with current bundlers like Webpack, which supports tree-shaking for maximum performance.

🔸 Native Date Handling

To avoid the complexity of extending core classes, the JavaScript Date Library makes use of the native JavaScript Date object. It rigorously complies with ECMAScript standards in order to provide predictable and dependable behavior in edge circumstances, making it a safe choice for date operations.

🔸 Immutable and Pure

Date-Fns functions are pure in the sense that they always return new Date objects. Because it prevents unexpected alterations of date objects, this immutability, a distinctive feature of the JavaScript Date Library, helps prevent problems and makes your code more manageable.

🔸 Internationalisation Support

Date-Fns provides comprehensive internationalization options thanks to contributions from a worldwide community. It enables the incorporation of unique regions required by your project, ensuring that the JavaScript Date Library stays lightweight while serving a varied user base.

Date Fns vs Moment.js

Date handling in JavaScript is not an easy task. Even with MomentJS, we must first build a Moment object and then call methods on that object.

Date-fns makes JavaScript data manipulation easier by offering a number of functions.

It has over 200 distinct time-related functions, and unlike MomentJS, you may import a specific collection of functions as needed. Date-fns has over 10,750K NPM downloads per week and 26.5K GitHub ratings.

 

Date-Fns-vs.-Moment.js
Fig: Date Fns vs Moment.js

The upper graph compares the npm trends of the MomentJS and Date-fns. Date-fns shows an increased trend, whilst MomentJS appears to be losing traction.

However, Date-fns offers several fantastic capabilities that will appeal to developers.

So, let’s go over these features in further depth to see how they vary from MomentJS.

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Selective Function Import with Date-Fns

Unlike Moment.js, which requires importing the entire library, Date-Fns allows for importing only specific functions. This modular approach significantly reduces the application’s bundle size. For instance, if you need to calculate the difference between two dates, you simply import formatDistance and subDays from Date-Fns:

import { formatDistance, subDays } from 'date-fns';

formatDistance(subDays(new Date(), 3), new Date());

Immutable Date Operations in Date-Fns

One of the key features of Date-Fns is its immutable nature, which ensures that date objects don’t change state unexpectedly – a common issue with Moment.js. Each operation in Date-Fns returns a new date instance, preserving the original date and preventing accidental mutations. This approach enhances the reliability and predictability of date manipulations in your applications.

Extensive Locale Support in Date-Fns

For projects targeting a global audience, Date-Fns offers excellent internationalization support with over 50 locales. You can effortlessly include specific language settings in your date operations. For example:

import { formatDistance } from 'date-fns';
import { es } from 'date-fns/locale';
const result = formatDistance(
new Date(2020, 8, 1),
new Date(2021, 8, 1),
{ locale: es }
);

Simplified API with Targeted Functionality

Date-Fns stands out for its straightforward and unambiguous API, where each function is designed to perform a specific task without unnecessary complexity. This simplicity makes Date-Fns an ideal choice for developers who prefer a more direct and intuitive approach to date manipulation.

Instead of navigating through a complex API with multiple ways to achieve the same result, Date-Fns provides a clear and concise path, ensuring a smoother development experience and facilitating easier code maintenance. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who value a minimalist and efficient coding style.

Efficiency and Size

Date-Fns stands out for its speed and small size, especially when compared to MomentJS. MomentJS, known for its larger size (about 232 kB), can slow down websites. On the other hand, Date-Fns is much smaller, only about 300 Bytes, making it a faster and more efficient choice. This small size helps make websites load quicker and run smoother, a key advantage for any project where speed and efficiency are important.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Date-Fns distinguishes itself as an efficient and practical JavaScript Date Library for handling dates in JavaScript projects. With its modular structure, immutable operations, comprehensive locale support, and smaller size, it provides notable benefits compared to other libraries such as MomentJS.

Its focus on immutability and a lightweight framework guarantees swift performance and user-friendliness, making it an ideal option for developers aiming to enhance efficiency in their web applications.

Nadeem K

Associate Software Engineer

Nadeem is a front-end developer with 1.5+ years of experience. He has experience in web technologies like React.js, Redux, and UI frameworks. His expertise in building interactive and responsive web applications, creating reusable components, and writing efficient, optimized, and DRY code. He enjoys learning about new technologies.

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