The Java™ Tutorials
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Date-Time Design Principles
Trail: Date Time
Lesson: Date-Time Overview

Date-Time Design Principles

The Date-Time API was developed using several design principles.


The methods in the API are well defined and their behavior is clear and expected. For example, invoking a Date-Time method with a null parameter value typically triggers a NullPointerException.


The Date-Time API provides a fluent interface, making the code easy to read. Because most methods do not allow parameters with a null value and do not return a null value, method calls can be chained together and the resulting code can be quickly understood. For example:

LocalDate today =;
LocalDate payday = today.with(TemporalAdjusters.lastDayOfMonth()).minusDays(2);


Most of the classes in the Date-Time API create objects that are immutable, meaning that, after the object is created, it cannot be modified. To alter the value of an immutable object, a new object must be constructed as a modified copy of the original. This also means that the Date-Time API is, by definition, thread-safe. This affects the API in that most of the methods used to create date or time objects are prefixed with of, from, or with, rather than constructors, and there are no set methods. For example:

LocalDate dateOfBirth = LocalDate.of(2012, Month.MAY, 14);
LocalDate firstBirthday = dateOfBirth.plusYears(1);


The Date-Time API is extensible wherever possible. For example, you can define your own time adjusters and queries, or build your own calendar system.

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