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From Ken Gentle <j.kenneth.gen...@acm.org>
Subject Re: Timestamp attribute processing
Date Tue, 02 Sep 2003 18:35:08 GMT
At 12:56 PM 9/2/2003, you wrote:
>Steve Cohen wrote:
>>Hmm, that's weaker than I would have expected.  If I'd like something a 
>>little better, is your recommendation then to add to DateUtils?
>
>I guess it is time for a date type. I imagine taking java.util.Calendar as 
>a param would be a nice way to map it (or Date, though that one's lack of 
>timezones is an eternal source of trouble in the SOAP world)

SOAP and everywhere an application may span timezones.

This sounds like the first step down a very slippery slope of processing 
arbitrary date formats.  I don't believe that the date parsing is 
consistent across ant tasks now, and tasks like CVSTAGDIFF don't parse 
their date parameters at all, but pass them through to the underlying app.

As date formats are different across locales, and date strings can be very 
ambiguous (MM-DD-YYYY vs DD-MM-YYYY for example will both "match" the input 
string '12-12-2000' and there is no way to "dis-ambiguate" them without 
some other input.

This is a sore point with me because for the mess in the system I'm working 
with now -- there are a list of US specific formats that are each tried 
against the input string until one matches.  This was originally coded as 
the nested exception handler from hell...

Anyway, I'd suggest be very cautious about introducing general date 
processing in ant that would allow arbitrary date formats, as opposed to 
one or two formats per locale, or a single ISO style format 
"yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss.SSS" (I think that one is legal, I don't have the spec 
in front of me).

         Ken 


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