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Introduction

While some applications target a single timezone, others target many different timezones. To satisfy such needs and centralize datetime operations, ABP provides a common infrastructure for datetime operations.

Clock

Clock is the main class used to work with DateTime values. It defines the following static properties and methods:

  • Now: Gets the current time according to the current provider.
  • Kind: Gets the DateTimeKind of the current provider.
  • SupportsMultipleTimezone: Gets a value that indicates whether or not a current provider can be used for applications that need multiple timezones.
  • Normalize: Normalizes/converts a given DateTime using the current provider.

So, instead of using DateTime.Now, we use Clock.Now, which abstracts it:

DateTime now = Clock.Now;

Clock uses the clock providers inside it. There are three types of built-in clock providers:

  • ClockProviders.Unspecified (UnspecifiedClockProvider): This is the default clock provider and behaves just like DateTime.Now. It acts as if you don't use the Clock class at all.
  • ClockProviders.Utc (UtcClockProvider): Works in UTC datetime. DateTime.UtcNow for Clock.Now. The Normalize method converts a given datetime to a utc datetime and then sets it's kind to DateTimeKind.UTC. It supports multiple timezones.
  • ClockProviders.Local (LocalClockProvider): Works in the local computer's time. The Normalize method converts a given datetime to a local datetime and sets it's kind to DateTimeKind.Local.

You can set Clock.Provider in order to use a different clock provider:

Clock.Provider = ClockProviders.Utc;

This is generally done at the beginning of an application (do it in the Application_Start of a web application).

Client-Side

The clock can be used on the client-side using the abp.clock object in JavaScript. When you set Clock.Provider on the server-side, ABP automatically sets the value of abp.clock.provider on the client-side.

Time Zones

ABP defines a setting named Abp.Timing.TimeZone (TimingSettingNames.TimeZone constant) for storing the selected timezone of the host, tenant and user. ABP assumes that the value of a timezone setting is a valid Windows timezone name. It also defines a timezone mapping file to convert a Windows Timezone to an IANA timezone since some common libraries are using the IANA timezone id. UtcClockProvider must be used in order to support multiple timezones. Because if UtcClockProvider is used, all datetime values will be stored in UTC and all datetimes will be sent to clients in UTC format. Then on the client-side we can convert a UTC datetime to the user's timezone by using the user's current timezone setting. 

Client-Side

ABP creates a JavaScript object named abp.timing.timeZoneInfo which contains timezone information for the current user. This information contains Windows and IANA timezone ids and some extra information for windows timezone info. This information can be used to make client-side datetime convertions by showing a datetime to the user in his/her timezone.

Binders and Converters

  • ABP automatically normalizes DateTimes received from clients in MVC, Web API and ASP.NET Core applications, based on the current clock provider.
  • ABP automatically normalizes DateTimes received from the database based on the current clock provider, when EntityFramework or NHibernate modules are used.

If the UTC clock provider is used, then all DateTimes stored in the database are assumed as UTC values, and all DateTimes received from clients are assumed as UTC values unless explicitly specified.