Working with Elapsed Time

No matter how much you'd like VBA date/time values to be able to track elapsed time, they're not built that way. As designed, VBA date/time values store a particular point in time, not a span of time, and there's no way to store more than 24 hours in a given date/time variable. If you want to work with elapsed times, you'll generally have to do some conversion work, storing the elapsed times in a numeric datatype and converting them back to a formatted output for display. Other elapsed time issues simply return an integer value indicating the number of elapsed units (year, days, months) between two dates.

This section covers several standard issues when dealing with elapsed times, including these topics:

  • Finding the number of workdays between two dates

  • Returning a person's age, in years, given the birth date

  • Formatting elapsed time using a format specification string

  • Formatting cumulative times

Finding Workdays between Two Dates

Many applications require you to calculate the number of days between two dates (and you can simply use DateDiff or subtract the first date value from the second, if that's all you need). In addition, many business applications need to know the number of workdays between two dates, and that's a bit more complex. The function in this section, dhCountWorkdays, uses the code presented previously (see the section “Working with Workdays”) to skip holidays and weekends. Listing 2.20 shows the entire function.

Listing 2.20: Count the Number of Workdays between Two Dates

Function dhCountWorkdays(ByVal dtmStart As Date, _
 ByVal dtmEnd As Date, _
 Optional rst As Recordset = Nothing, _
 Optional strField As String = "") _
 As Integer
    Dim intDays As Integer
    Dim dtmTemp As Date
    Dim intSubtract As Integer
    ' Swap the dates if necessary.
    If dtmEnd < dtmStart Then
        dtmTemp = dtmStart
        dtmStart = dtmEnd
        dtmEnd = dtmTemp
    End If
    ' Get the start and end dates to be weekdays.
    dtmStart = SkipHolidays(rst, strField, dtmStart, 1)
    dtmEnd = SkipHolidays(rst, strField, dtmEnd, -1)
    If dtmStart > dtmEnd Then
        ' Sorry, no workdays to be had. Just return 0.
        dhCountWorkDays = 0
    Else
        intDays = dtmEnd - dtmStart + 1
        ' Subtract off weekend days. Do this by figuring out
        ' how many calendar weeks there are between the dates
        ' and multiplying the difference by two (since there
        ' are two weekend days for each week). That is, if the
        ' difference is 0, the two days are in the same week.
        ' If the difference is 1, then you have two weekend days.
        intSubtract = (DateDiff("ww", dtmStart, dtmEnd) * 2)
        ' The answer, finally, is all the weekdays, minus any
        ' holidays found in the table.
        ' If rst is Nothing, this call won't subtract any dates.
        intSubtract = intSubtract + CountHolidays(rst, _
         strField, dtmStart, dtmEnd)
        dhCountWorkdays = intDays - intSubtract
    End If
End Function

To call dhCountWorkdays, pass it two dates (the starting and ending dates). In addition, if you want to take holidays into account, pass it a reference to an open recordset and the name of the field within the recordset containing the holiday date information. For more information on working with this type of function, see the section “Working with Workdays” earlier in this chapter. Unlike the functions presented there, however, this one requires a bit of effort to find the right answer.

There are, of course, many ways to solve this problem. The solution we came up with takes these steps:

  1. Move the starting date forward, skipping weekend and holiday dates, until it finds a workday:

    dtmStart = SkipHolidays(rst, strField, dtmStart, 1)
    
  2. Take the same step with the ending date, moving backward.

    dtmEnd = SkipHolidays(rst, strField, dtmEnd, -1)
    
  3. If the starting date is now past the ending date, there are no workdays in the interval, so just return 0:

    If dtmStart > dtmEnd Then
        ' Sorry, no workdays to be had. Just return 0.
        dhCountWorkdays = 0
    intDays = dtmEnd - dtmStart + 1
    

Now for the tricky part, the final three steps:

  1. Subtract the number of weekend days. DateDiff, using the “ww” interval specifier, gives you the number of weeks, and there are two weekend days per weekend:

    intSubtract = (DateDiff("ww", dtmStart, dtmEnd) * 2)
    
  2. Subtract the number of holiday days. If you've not supplied a recordset variable, the CountHolidays function returns immediately, reporting no holidays in the interval:

    intSubtract = intSubtract + CountHolidays(rst, strField, _
     dtmStart, dtmEnd)
    
  3. Finally, return the total number of workdays in the interval:

    dhCountWorkdays = intDays - intSubtract
    

To work with these procedures, you might write a test routine like the one shown in Listing 2.21. This procedure makes these assumptions:

  • You have Jet and DAO installed on your machine.

  • You have a reference set to the DAO type library in your project.

  • You have a database named HOLIDAYS.MDB available (and you've modified the code to point to the actual location of HOLIDAYS.MDB).

  • HOLIDAYS.MDB includes a table named tblHolidays.

  • tblHolidays includes a date/time field named Date, containing one row for each holiday you want tracked.

Listing 2.21: Test Procedure for dhCountWorkdays

Sub TestCountWorkdays()
    Dim rst As DAO.Recordset
    Dim db As DAO.Database
    Set db = DAO.DBEngine.OpenDatabase("Holidays.MDB")
    Set rst = db.OpenRecordset("tblHolidays", _
     DAO.dbOpenDynaset)
    Debug.Print dhCountWorkdays(#12/27/96#, #1/2/97#, _
     rst, "Date")
    Debug.Print dhCountWorkdays(#12/27/96#, #1/2/97#)
End Sub

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