Andrey Lechev
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Dart: calculate the dates difference in years, months and days

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Andrey Lechev
·Oct 20, 2019·

3 min read

I'm playing with Flutter in my free time for a week, trying to build a simple app with my kids' measurements (height, weight, etc).

One of the first things I wanted to show is their age. Not just years, but also months and days, because they are constantly asking me about it: exactly how old are they. So I decided to show this in the interface.


I was pretty excited when I saw that there is a special method in Dart for calculating the date differences: DateTime.difference but unfortunately, only the difference measured in days is supported (issue #1426).

But I've already wanted this feature, so remembering JavaScript way to achieve this, I created my method, returning the years, months, and days as a single object. Here it is:

class KidsAge { 
  int years; 
  int months; 
  int days; 
  KidsAge({ this.years = 0, this.months = 0, this.days = 0 }); 

KidsAge getTheKidsAge(String birthday) { 
  if (birthday != '') { 
    var birthDate = DateTime.tryParse(birthday); 
    if (birthDate != null) { 
      final now = new; 

      int years = now.year - birthDate.year; 
      int months = now.month - birthDate.month; 
      int days = -; 

      if (months < 0 || (months == 0 && days < 0)) { 
        months += (days < 0 ? 11 : 12); 

      if (days < 0) { 
        final monthAgo = new DateTime(now.year, now.month - 1,; 
        days = now.difference(monthAgo).inDays + 1; 

      return KidsAge(years: years, months: months, days: days); 
    } else { 
      print('getTheKidsAge: not a valid date'); 
  } else { 
    print('getTheKidsAge: date is empty'); 
  return KidsAge(); 

The logic here is as follows:

  1. First, a check is the date valid. In case if it is not — returning an empty object.
  2. Next — getting initial values. Subtract the asked years, months, and days from the current date.
  3. Then in case if the months' difference is negative or if it's zero and the days diff is negative — the date has not yet arrived this year. So we are subtracting the one year and adding 12 (or 11, in case of negative days' diff) to the months' diff.
  4. The last step — in case of negative days' diff have to add the length of the previous month... but I wanted to play a bit with the difference method and get the difference in days between the today and the day from the date if it was last month.

That's it for today. I hope that will help somebody.

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