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Multi Time Zone best practices? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I tried googling our problem, but I don't think I came up with a good set of search words, so I'll try to be more direct here:

     

    A little bit of back-story:

     

    My company has a software product consisting of a server/click-once desktop component and a mobile, .NETCF component for facilitating ePOD, Route Accounting, Field Sales, etc.  Until now, all of the mobile users of the application have been regional, and in the same time zone as the backoffice users using the "server" piece.  We have started to notice a change in our customer base to "super-regional" customers where mobile users might be in different time zones than the backoffice users who are scheduling and reporting on the mobile users and the data they collect.  I will say also, that we can integrate with a logisitics package for route planning and fleet optimization where we get a pre-optimized list of stops for a particular driver/vehicle for a given day.

     

    I guess my question, then, is how can we handle the case where the backoffice users and/or the planning software is running in one timezone and generating work-units based on a local timezone, but the users who will actually be performing the work is in another timezone.  In this case, an order might be scheduled to be delivered at 18:00 on 2/8/08.  Ideally, this time would be the local time of the user who is going to perform the work, but what we are seeing is that the mobile user, who's Windows Mobile device is set to central time, sees that the delivery is actually supposed to be made at 17:00.

     

    I don't think that normalizing all date storage to UTC time would be that helpful, since the relative timezone differences would still cause the date to be displayed as 1800 on the "server" and as 1700 on the handheld.

     

    Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions.

     

    Matthew Belk

    Thursday, February 7, 2008 4:37 PM

Answers

  • Hi Matthew,

    the only simple and working thing i could think now is: store date as UTC time and when showing it to the users, you'll have to transform it and show as a local time. It's important to store user's regional settings as well.


    Thursday, February 7, 2008 5:11 PM

All replies

  • Hi Matthew,

    the only simple and working thing i could think now is: store date as UTC time and when showing it to the users, you'll have to transform it and show as a local time. It's important to store user's regional settings as well.


    Thursday, February 7, 2008 5:11 PM
  • What Antonio said makes complete sense. The root of your problem Matthew is that you are showing relative times as they were absolute (just the hour number, without explicitating the timezone they belong too. Just check on TV in program ads: TV channels always clarify the time zone after showing the number

    I guess that probably you may consider this in your UI

    Friday, April 25, 2008 1:01 AM