Handling data formats with Data Prep

Data Prep can robustly handle different formats of data ingested into Adobe Experience Platform. This document outlines how different data formats are treated with Data Prep.


If the source type is a string and the target type is a boolean, Data Prep can automatically parse the value and convert the source value to a boolean.

The values y, yes, Y, YES, on, ON, true, and TRUE are automatically be parsed to be true.

The values n, N, no, NO, off, OFF, false, and FALSE are automatically be parsed to be false.


Data Prep supports date functions, both as strings and as datetime objects.

Date function format

The date function converts strings and datetime objects to become an ISO 8601 formatted ZonedDateTime object.


Parameter Description
{DATE} Required. The string that represents the date.
{FORMAT} Optional. The string representing the format of the source date. More information on string formatting can be found in the date/time format string section.
{DEFAULT_DATE} Optional. The default date to be returned if the provided date is null.

For example, the expression date(orderDate, "yyyy-MM-dd") will convert an orderDate value of “December 31st, 2020” into a datetime value of “2020-12-31”.

Date function conversions

When string fields from incoming data are mapped to date fields in schemas using Experience Data Model (XDM), the date format should be explicitly mentioned. If not explicitly mentioned, Data Prep will attempt to convert the input data by matching it to the following formats. Once a matching format is found, it will stop evaluating any subsequent formats.

"yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ssZ",
"yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss.SSSZ",
"yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss.SSS",
"M/dd/yyyy hh:mm:ss a",
"dd.M.yyyy hh:mm:ss a",

Data Prep will try to convert strings to dates as best as possible. However, these conversions can lead to undesirable results. For example, the string value “12112020” matches the pattern “MMddyyyy”, but the user may have intended for the date to be read with the pattern “ddMMyyyy”. As a result, users should explicitly mention the date format for strings.

Date/time format strings

The following table shows which pattern letters are defined for format strings. Please note that the letters are case sensitive.

Symbol Meaning Presentation Example
G The era Text AD; Anno Domini; A
Y Year, based on the ISO Week Number 1996; 96
y The year Number 2004; 04
M/L Month of the year Number/Text 7; 07; Jul; July; J
w Week in the year Number 27
W Week of the month Number 3
D Day of the year Number 189
d Day of the month Number 10
F Day of the week in a month Number 2
E Name of the day of the week Text Tuesday; Tue
u Day of the week, as a number. 1 represents Monday, …, 7 represents Sunday Number 1
a AM/PM marker Text PM
H Hour in day (0-23) Number 0
k Hour in day (1-24) Number 24
K Hour in AM/PM (0-11) Number 0
h Hour in AM/PM (1-12) Number 12
m Minute in the hour Number 38
s Second in the minute Number 44
S Millisecond Number 245
z Time zone General time zone Pacific Standard Time; PST; GMT-08:00
Z Time zone RFC 822 time zone -0800
X Time zone ISO 8601 time zone -08; -0800; -08:00
V Time zone ID Text America/Los_Angeles
O Time zone offset Text GMT+8
Q/q Quarter of the year Number/Text 3; 03; Q3; 3rd quarter


Maps are currently not supported in Data Prep.

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