Python: Robust Conversion of Time String to Seconds with Missing Values


Python has the strptime function that can be used in the following way to convert from something like “00:00:5.37” to 5.37.

The problem with the above is that it requires a very specific string format. A function that converts a time string should be able to handle “00:00:5.37”, “00:5.37”, “5.37”, “5”, etc. The above code does not handle all those cases, but the follow code does just that…


Regular expressions to the rescue:


The code to test the function:

The correct output of the above is:

Another Approach:

If you were inclined to do the above in as few lines of code as possible, the approach from here is a good starting point. You just need to add handling of microseconds.

Reverse the Conversion:

Reversing the above conversion is much easier: