Javascript: ISO8601 parser and pretty dates

Compared to PHP, with its many helpful date functions, working with dates in Javascript is a pain in the neck.

The js Date object can parse some human-readable strings into a date, but with the rise of RSS etc (in my case it was working with Google gdata apis…) you’ll often be encountering ISO8601 date strings.  Apparently ECMAScript 5 will include built in methods to parse this standard format, but until that’s available it’s a bit of a headache.

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