Create a Live Timestamp

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This recipe demonstrates how to generate a 'live' timestamp that displays in a human-readable format. This means handling application state that changes over time, as well as making information rendered in a template human-readable using a helper function.

First, we’ll add a createdAt property to the data like:

 var data = new can.Map({
   message: "Hello World",
   createdAt: new Date()

On the page, this should be displayed as a human readable timestamp:

 <h1>Hello World <i>created just now</i></h1>

and as time passes, the timestamp will update to:

<h1>Hello World <i>created a few seconds ago</i></h1>

and then update to "some seconds ago" and so forth.

To accomplish this, create a prettyDate mustache helper that converts dates into a human readable format. A helper function is called from within the template where its result will be displayed. The following calls prettyDate with an observable value of createdAt.

  <i>created {{prettyDate createdAt}}</i>

To call a function from a template, register it with can.view. The third argument passed to can.view is an object with helper functions, so the dateHelper function can be registered as prettyView.

var dateHelper = function ( date ) {
    //helper function

var frag = can.view("app-template", data, {prettyDate: dateHelper});

In this helper, date is not a Date object, instead it is an observable can.compute that contains the createdAt value. A can.compute is an observable that contains a single value. To read the value, call the compute like you would any other function:

date() //-> Date

We need to compare date with the current time. The current time will be represented by a compute:

var now = can.compute( new Date() )

As the current time changes, we update now with the new time. To change the value of a can.compute, call it with its new value as an argument:

// update that property every second
    now( new Date() );
    setTimeout(arguments.callee, 1000);
}, 1000)

The prettyDate helper will read and compare the date and now compute to get the time elapsed in seconds:

var timeElapsed = ( now() - date() ) / 1000

Using the timeElapsed, prettyDate returns human readable timestamps:

if(timeElapsed < 1.2){
    return "just now"
} else if (timeElapsed < 10) {
    return "a couple seconds ago"
else {
    return Math.round(difference/60)+" minutes ago"