Asp.net-mvc – MVC DateTime binding with incorrect date format

asp.net-mvcdatetimeformattinglocalizationmodel-binders

Asp.net-MVC now allows for implicit binding of DateTime objects. I have an action along the lines of

public ActionResult DoSomething(DateTime startDate) 
{ 
... 
}

This successfully converts a string from an ajax call into a DateTime. However, we use the date format dd/MM/yyyy; MVC is converting to MM/dd/yyyy.
For example, submitting a call to the action with a string '09/02/2009' results in a DateTime of '02/09/2009 00:00:00', or September 2nd in our local settings.

I don't want to roll my own model binder for the sake of a date format. But it seems needless to have to change the action to accept a string and then use DateTime.Parse if MVC is capable of doing this for me.

Is there any way to alter the date format used in the default model binder for DateTime? Shouldn't the default model binder use your localisation settings anyway?

Best Solution

I've just found the answer to this with some more exhaustive googling:

Melvyn Harbour has a thorough explanation of why MVC works with dates the way it does, and how you can override this if necessary:

http://weblogs.asp.net/melvynharbour/archive/2008/11/21/mvc-modelbinder-and-localization.aspx

When looking for the value to parse, the framework looks in a specific order namely:

  1. RouteData (not shown above)
  2. URI query string
  3. Request form

Only the last of these will be culture aware however. There is a very good reason for this, from a localization perspective. Imagine that I have written a web application showing airline flight information that I publish online. I look up flights on a certain date by clicking on a link for that day (perhaps something like http://www.melsflighttimes.com/Flights/2008-11-21), and then want to email that link to my colleague in the US. The only way that we could guarantee that we will both be looking at the same page of data is if the InvariantCulture is used. By contrast, if I'm using a form to book my flight, everything is happening in a tight cycle. The data can respect the CurrentCulture when it is written to the form, and so needs to respect it when coming back from the form.