Zia’s NLP-based Hawking date/time parser is now open source

Hawking Parser is a Java-based NLP parser for parsing date and time information. As businesses build applications like chatbots, smart CRM applications, help desks, and other applications leveraging natural language processing, developers need tools and libraries that can reduce complexity and accelerate application development. Hawking Parser uses NLP and other parsing techniques to decipher timestamps and other date and time fields. Developers do not need to reinvent the wheel for every new app, so they can use Hawking Parser to interpret dates and times seamlessly and with context in their applications.

Some of the most popular parsers out there like Heidel Time, SuTime, and Natty Date time parser are distinctly rule based. As such, they often tend to struggle with parsing date/time information where more complex factors like context, tense, multiple values, and more need to be considered.

With this in mind, Hawking Parser is designed to address a lot of these challenges and has many distinct advantages over other available date/time parsers.

Understanding context 

When we talk or write, we often use words that necessarily don’t indicate date or time values. This is something that many NLP libraries don’t tend to handle very well, as they tend to parse by regex or rule-based pattern recognition.

However, Hawking Parser can detect how the date and time are used by putting words in context with the rest of the sentence, then inferring the right date and time.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

Making sense of your tenses 

“I will meet you on Thursday” and “I met you on Thursday” refer to two different time periods. The tense used in the sentence pushes the date to last week or the coming Thursday. Existing date/time parsers return fixed dates irrespective of the tense, but Hawking Parser can understand the tense and distinguish between past, present, and future tense, to find the appropriate date.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

Handling multiple date/time values  

Another challenge in using other date/time parsers is that they do not handle multiple date/time variables well. When presented with multiple dates, they tend just to parse a single date or the first date from the list which is not ideal if there are other date/time references which are missed. Hawking Parser can identify each one effectively and parse the required information for your use.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

Connecting the dots on duration and relationships

Just parsing the date and time value is not enough. To parse dates effectively, the parser must understand the nuances of the duration and the relationship between the dates being mentioned. Hawking Parser understands these details, so that the date and time information is parsed more accurately.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

Contextual understanding of prefixes and postfixes 

Prefixes and postfixes can drastically change the date and time a person is referring to. A good NLP-based date/time parser must understand the context provided by the prefixes and postfixes to parse the correct information. Hawking Parser has support for 30+ prefixes and postfixes for phrases signifying date and time, making it one of the most versatile date and time parsers available for developers.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

Capturing information from complex sentences 

The complexity of the sentence often makes it hard for other parsers to pinpoint the exact date/time value but not for Hawking Parser. It can analyze and give you the correct output from strings where the date/time information is described with multiple words.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

Effortlessly capture date/time across time zones 

In today’s global economy where interactions span countries and time zones it is important for a parser to be able to differentiate and convert date/time information between different time zones as needed. This is necessary in order to effectively use date/time parsers in handling chats and emails for any businesses operating across multiple countries. Our Hawking Parser can parse dates and times with the relevant time zone with over 500 named time zones currently supported.

Reference Date : March 15, 2021 (Monday)

The perfect fit for business applications 

The versatility of Hawking Parser allows for it to be configured to pull date/time information for different business use cases. Hawking Parser supports 30+ date/time formats and also supports business date cases like fiscal year, annual year, and quarter.

The date/time parser libraries available right now are not ready to use out of the box. The response is constant and is only displayed in one format. Depending on their requirements, a developer might need to write a layer of code to convert date responses from the output.

In Hawking Parser, we return all date parser information including milliseconds, date format, date text, time zone offset, and so on to enable a smoother user experience. All a developer needs to do is import Hawking into any project, parse any text, and use the required date output from the response.

Hawking Parser is now available under open-source GNU GPLv3 license and the library can be accessed on Github.

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