format() operator

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The new v4.0.0 operator format() converts various Tinderbox objects to strings.


The argument what is usually an attribute reference or expression.

The meaning of format_string depends on the type of object represented by what. Tinderbox data types Date, Set and Number are handled using different sets of arguments as described below.

If what is a date, the format string is the same as the format used by Tinderbox's date export codes.

For example:


gets the note's creation date and formats it as a "long local date" such as "Sunday, March 23, 2007 1:26pm".

If what is a Set, the format string is the delimiter used to separate set elements:


For example


converts key attributes to a comma-separated list. Optionally, you may supply five arguments to format the set as an HTML list:


For example


will return HTML code for a bulleted list with each set member marked up as a list item. Note that the tags must be in double quotes.

To make this easier to use in a code export context, pass the output of format into another attribute and call the latter in the template with a ^get()^ code.

If what is a number, then the arguments are numeric and interpreted as follows:

format(what,precision[, width])

The precision argument controls the number of decimal places returned. The optional width argument allows the returned value to be a string left padded with spaces - e.g. to return a string with the same number of characters as submitted.

For example, if $myNum is 3.1415927, then

format($myNum,2,7) is " 3.14"

format($myNum,2) is 3.14

format*$myNum,0) is 3

In quoted (") string arguments here - as elsewhere in v4.0.0+, \" is converted into a quotation mark (a.k.a. a double quote), \n to a carriage return and \t to a tab.

v4.2.0 fixed some issues with formatting dates prior to 1904.

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[Last updated: 3 Dec 2008]

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