True ISO 8601 international date prefix

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True ISO 8601 international date prefix

Postby E1336 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:46 am


Currently, Bulk Rename Utility has several Auto Date renaming options to insert a prefix with formats such as DMY, MDY, YMD, YMD HMS, and so on. Is there any chance that you can add one more extremely-useful option to this list? There is an international date and time standard called ISO 8601 that was introduced in the 1980s to try to ensure worldwide consistency when expressing dates and times. When using ISO 8601, you express the four-digit year first, then the month, then the day, then the time in 24-hour format (no AM or PM), with hour first, then minute, then second. For easier readability, the standard puts a short dash in between the year, month, and day, and sometimes puts a capital T before the timestamp.

For people who frequently work with thousands of files, ISO 8601 format is indispensable as the files will naturally order themselves in perfect chronological order, whether using Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. This is amazing to witness if you take thousands of haphazardly-named photos taken with different cameras and cell phones, select Modified (current), auto date prefix in custom ISO 8601 format, and watch all of them instantly fall into place, from oldest to newest, with one click of the Rename button. However, when there are other non-ISO 8601 formats mixed in, such as MDY format, dates with no dashes, or times with AM or PM, these straggler files muck up the order and create workflow inefficiency.

Your existing "YMD" format creates a two-digit year and doesn't include any dashes between the year, month, and day. When you look at a giant folder with hundreds of files renamed with timestamp prefixes, deciphering the dates of the files is much easier when the prefixes are in ISO 8601 format, or at least comply somewhat with the format. As far as I know, the only way to do this with BRU at the current time (other than possibly to Save the rename) is to use the Custom format and type in your own custom string such as %Y-%m-%d-%H%M%S. I tried using BRU's Save feature a few times in the past, saving the custom prefix rename as a .bru file, but the results have been inconsistent.

For the custom format, I use a slightly modified version of ISO-8601 because I like to see the times more clearly. Strict adherence to the standard crams the hours, minutes, and seconds smushed together like T062517 (since you normally can't use colons in computer filenames to separate hours, minutes, and seconds). So, to see the times more clearly, I put an h, m, and s after each time component and a short dash after the seconds, before the original filename:


Can you please add this as "ISO 8601" to the list of built-in formats for Auto Date? As an example, the prefix for a file created or modified on 8 Aug 2017 at 8:30:44 pm would be 2017-08-16-20h30m44s-. To completely replace filenames with their creation or modification date, you would use the "Remove Last n" option in combination with the ISO 8601 prefix.

Thank you.

PS - I made a donation today. I often use BRU in my genealogy research to rename photos and scans. BRU has been in my list of core, "can't live without" programs for many years.
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