Frustrations With System.DateTime - Part 1

System.DateTime is a frustrating object for a number of reasons, many of which I hope to elaborate in future posts.

Imagine you have a class, that for correctness, requires a DateTime parameter to be in UTC. How can you communicate and enforce this fact to users of your class?

Unfortunately, there is nothing like a UtcDateTime class in the .NET BCL. You’re basically stuck with the following:

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public class Dater
{
    public Dater(DateTime createdDateUtc)
    {
        if (createdDateUtc.Kind != DateTimeKind.Utc)
            throw new ArgumentException("createdDateUtc must be a UTC time");

        // ...
    }
}

There are only two signals to future programmers:

  1. the “Utc” suffix on your parameter name
  2. the ArgumentException

You have absolutely no way to enforce at compile time that someone actually passed you the UTC time you need. Relying on exceptions and parameter names is confusing and error prone.

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