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A date/time function that returns the current local date and time.




Argument Description
precision A positive integer that specifies the time precision as the number of digits of fractional seconds. The default is 0 (no fractional seconds); this default is configurable.


CURRENT_TIMESTAMP takes either no arguments or a precision argument. Empty argument parentheses are not permitted.

CURRENT_TIMESTAMP returns the current local date and time for this timezone; it adjusts for local time variants, such as Daylight Saving Time.

CURRENT_TIMESTAMP can return a timestamp in %TimeStamp data type format (yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss.ffff).

You can use $HOROLOG to store or return the current local date and time in internal format.

To change the default datetime string format, use the SET OPTION command with the various date and time options.

You can specify CURRENT_TIMESTAMP, with or without precision, as the field default value when defining a datetime field using CREATE TABLE or ALTER TABLE.

Fractional Seconds Precision

CURRENT_TIMESTAMP has two syntax forms:

  • Without argument parentheses, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP is functionally identical to NOW. It uses the system-wide default time precision.

  • With argument parentheses, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP(precision), is functionally identical to GETDATE, except that the CURRENT_TIMESTAMP() precision argument is mandatory. CURRENT_TIMESTAMP() always returns its specified precision and ignores the configured system-wide default time precision.

Fractional seconds are always truncated, not rounded, to the specified precision. In TIMESTAMP data type format, the maximum possible digits of precision is nine. The actual number of digits supported is determined by the precision argument, the configured default time precision, and the system capabilities. If you specify a precision larger than the configured default time precision, the additional digits of precision are returned as trailing zeros.

Configuring Precision

The default precision can be configured using the following:

Specify an integer 0 through 9 (inclusive) for the default number of decimal digits of precision to return. The default is 0. The actual precision returned is platform dependent; precision digits in excess of the precision available on your system are returned as zeroes.

Date and Time Functions Compared

GETDATE and NOW can also be used to return the current local date and time as a TIMESTAMP data type. GETDATE supports precision, NOW does not support precision.

SYSDATE is identical to CURRENT_TIMESTAMP, with the exception that SYSDATE does not support precision. CURRENT_TIMESTAMP is the preferred Caché SQL function; SYSDATE is provided for compatibility with other vendors.

GETUTCDATE can be used to return the universal (independent of time zone) date and time as a TIMESTAMP data type value. Note that all Caché SQL time and date functions except GETUTCDATE are specific to the local time zone setting. To get a universal (time zone independent) timestamp, you can use GETUTCDATE or the ObjectScript $ZTIMESTAMP special variable.

To return just the current local date, use CURDATE or CURRENT_DATE. To return just the current local time, use CURRENT_TIME or CURTIME. These functions return their values in DATE or TIME data type. None of these functions support precision.

The TIMESTAMP data type storage format and display format are the same. The TIME and DATE data types store their values as integers in $HOROLOG format; when displayed in SQL they are converted to date or time display format. Embedded SQL returns them in logical (storage) format by default. You can change the Embedded SQL returned value format using the #sqlcompile select macro preprocessor directive, as described in the “ObjectScript Macros and the Macro Preprocessor” chapter of Using Caché ObjectScript.

You can use the CAST or CONVERT function to change the data type of dates and times.


The following example returns the current local date and time three different ways: in TIMESTAMP data type format with system default time precision, with a precision of two digits of fractional seconds, and in $HOROLOG internal storage format with full seconds:

   $HOROLOG AS InternalFullSec

The following Embedded SQL example sets a locale default time precision. The first CURRENT_TIMESTAMP specifies no precision; it returns the current time with the default time precision. The second CURRENT_TIMESTAMP specifies precision; this overrides the configured default time precision. The precision argument can be larger or smaller than the default time precision setting:

  SET pre=##class(%SYS.NLS.Format).GetFormatItem("TimePrecision")
  SET x=##class(%SYS.NLS.Format).SetFormatItem("TimePrecision",4)
    WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
  ELSE {
    WRITE !,"Timestamp is:  ",a
    WRITE !,"Timestamp is:  ",b }
  SET x=##class(%SYS.NLS.Format).SetFormatItem("$TimePrecision",pre)

The following Embedded SQL example compares local (time zone specific) and universal (time zone independent) time stamps:

    WRITE !,"Error code ",SQLCODE }
  ELSE {
    WRITE !,"Local timestamp is:  ",a
    WRITE !,"UTC timestamp is:    ",b

The following example sets the LastUpdate field in the selected row of the Orders table to the current system date and time. If LastUpdate is data type %TimeStamp, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP returns the current date and time as an ODBC timestamp:

  WHERE Orders.OrderNumber=:ord

The following example creates a table named Orders, which records product orders received:

     OrderId     INT NOT NULL,
     ClientId    INT,
     ItemName    CHAR(40) NOT NULL,
     PRIMARY KEY (OrderId))

The OrderDate column contains the date and time that the order was received. It uses the TIMESTAMP data type and inserts the current system date and time as the default value using the CURRENT_TIMESTAMP function with a precision of 3.

See Also

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