C# – DateTime.Parse(“2012-09-30T23:00:00.0000000Z”) always converts to DateTimeKind.Local

.netasp.netc++datetimeutc

I want to parse a string that represent a DateTime in UTC format.

My string representation includes the Zulu time specification which should indicate that the string represent a UTC time.

var myDate = DateTime.Parse("2012-09-30T23:00:00.0000000Z");    

From the above I would expect myDate.Kind to be DateTimeKind.Utc, instead it is DatetimeKind.Local.

What am I doing wrong and how to Parse a string that represents a UTC time?

Many thanks!

Best Solution

I would use my Noda Time project personally. (Admittedly I'm biased as the author, but it would be cleaner...) But if you can't do that...

Either use DateTime.ParseExact specifying the exact format you expect, and include DateTimeStyles.AssumeUniversal and DateTimeStyles.AdjustToUniversal in the parse code:

using System;
using System.Globalization;

class Test
{
    static void Main()        
    {
        var date = DateTime.ParseExact("2012-09-30T23:00:00.0000000Z",
                                       "yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.fffffff'Z'",
                                       CultureInfo.InvariantCulture,
                                       DateTimeStyles.AssumeUniversal |
                                       DateTimeStyles.AdjustToUniversal);
        Console.WriteLine(date);
        Console.WriteLine(date.Kind);
    }
}

(Quite why it would adjust to local by default without AdjustToUniversal is beyond me, but never mind...)

EDIT: Just to expand on my objections to mattytommo's suggestion, I aimed to prove that it would lose information. I've failed so far - but in a very peculiar way. Have a look at this - running in the Europe/London time zone, where the clocks go back on October 28th in 2012, at 2am local time (1am UTC):

DateTime local1 = DateTime.Parse("2012-10-28T00:30:00.0000000Z");
DateTime local2 = DateTime.Parse("2012-10-28T01:30:00.0000000Z");
Console.WriteLine(local1 == local2); // True

DateTime utc1 = TimeZoneInfo.ConvertTimeToUtc(local1);
DateTime utc2 = TimeZoneInfo.ConvertTimeToUtc(local2);
Console.WriteLine(utc1 == utc2); // False. Hmm.

It looks like there's a "with or without DST" flag being stored somewhere, but I'll be blowed if I can work out where. The docs for TimeZoneInfo.ConvertTimeToUtc state

If dateTime corresponds to an ambiguous time, this method assumes that it is the standard time of the source time zone.

That doesn't appear to be the case here when converting local2...

EDIT: Okay, it gets even stranger - it depends which version of the framework you're using. Consider this program:

using System;
using System.Globalization;

class Test
{
    static void Main()        
    {
        DateTime local1 = DateTime.Parse("2012-10-28T00:30:00.0000000Z");
        DateTime local2 = DateTime.Parse("2012-10-28T01:30:00.0000000Z");

        DateTime utc1 = TimeZoneInfo.ConvertTimeToUtc(local1);
        DateTime utc2 = TimeZoneInfo.ConvertTimeToUtc(local2);
        Console.WriteLine(utc1);
        Console.WriteLine(utc2);

        DateTime utc3 = local1.ToUniversalTime();
        DateTime utc4 = local2.ToUniversalTime();
        Console.WriteLine(utc3);
        Console.WriteLine(utc4);
    }
}

So this takes two different UTC values, parses them with DateTime.Parse, then converts them back to UTC in two different ways.

Results under .NET 3.5:

28/10/2012 01:30:00 // Look - we've lost information
28/10/2012 01:30:00
28/10/2012 00:30:00 // But ToUniversalTime() seems okay...
28/10/2012 01:30:00

Results under .NET 4.5 beta:

28/10/2012 00:30:00 // It's okay!
28/10/2012 01:30:00
28/10/2012 00:30:00
28/10/2012 01:30:00