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sadenniston
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Using natural language for due dates for assignments

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Hi there:

I'd like to ask the community whether they are having a problem with entering due dates using natural language.

When creating an assignment, it used to be that I could enter 'tomorrow' or 'next week'  or 'friday' into the due date field, and the date would be entered. This is very handy behaviour, as it means I don't have to use the date picker and only have to think about how much time I give to a task rather than how much time plus what date that happens to fall on.

This no longer works - when entering 'tomorrow' or 'next week' I get an error stating 'That's not a date!'. If I enter a day, say Thursday, it always puts the date in as 1st Jan 2015.

I haven't got a response on this from support, so am wondering if it is unique to our organisation's install or across the board.

Thanks!

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erinhallmark
Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @sadenniston ​​,  @kona ​, and  @chofer ​,

After asking the engineers about this, it sounds like going global sometimes requires making sacrifices. The date library that Canvas was previously using did support "tomorrow" and "today" as date inputs. However, the new library that they implemented has several languages that do not support these terms to generate dates. Therefore the library change was a necessary tradeoff to be able to support localized dates for all Canvas users worldwide. After asking around several people were aware this functionality existed (as Kona mentioned), so we weren't aware that we should announce the change in behavior. I apologize for the confusion and hope that explanation helps a bit.

Erin

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9 Replies
chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

AssignmentDueDate.jpgHi  @sadenniston ​...

I am seeing the same thing you are.  As you can see from the screen shot, the pop-up hint does indicate the format that is required for the "Due" field.  Hope this helps!

Thanks for the response Chris. The problem, however, is that it used to be a feature to be able to use words like 'tomorrow' or 'next week' to indicate a date, rather than entering in the date string or using the date picker.

For some reason it no longer works this way and seems to be broken. When I was producing videos on Canvas features to show our staff during our evaluation of different LMSs, I demonstrated how the product has intuitive features built in; one of the things that excited our staff was the ability to use natural language for entering dates.

Here is a screenshot of how it worked (the video was produced in March):

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 2.29.13 PM.png

I'd like to know how I can get the functionality of entering dates back to how it was....!

Cheers

 @sadenniston ​, it's amazing the things you learn in the Community! We've been using Canvas for about 3 years and I had no idea this feature ever existed.

My guess is that if you recently test this and it worked then a recent Production release (like the one that took place Saturday) must have changed something. As far as I'm aware there's no easy way to get it back. My recommendations is to contact Canvas Support about this change - they might know if it's a bug or if it was a known change. In addition, I'll share this with a few people who might have more insight into when this change took place and whether it's intended or not.

Thanks Kona. I've submitted a support request. I noticed the behaviour about a month and a half ago and thought I had logged a request through the help option on our Canvas site, but it may not have gone through, as I didn't get a ticket email.

Let's hope it's resolved soon! Using natural language is a great way for entering dates!

Please let us know what you find out!

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @sadenniston ​, to better help us help you, do you know the last time you tried this and it worked? Also, if possible could you share one of your video where you show how this works. I'm actually pretty interested in seeing it in action because it sounds pretty nifty!

Hi Kona:

Here's a snippet:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3175838/due%20date%20for%20assignment.mov

In this example (on Wed 11th March) I entered 'next week' and it knew to make the date Wed 18th March. This is somewhat easier than using the date picker.

Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

erinhallmark
Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @sadenniston ​​,  @kona ​, and  @chofer ​,

After asking the engineers about this, it sounds like going global sometimes requires making sacrifices. The date library that Canvas was previously using did support "tomorrow" and "today" as date inputs. However, the new library that they implemented has several languages that do not support these terms to generate dates. Therefore the library change was a necessary tradeoff to be able to support localized dates for all Canvas users worldwide. After asking around several people were aware this functionality existed (as Kona mentioned), so we weren't aware that we should announce the change in behavior. I apologize for the confusion and hope that explanation helps a bit.

Erin

View solution in original post