Parse DateTime with time zone of form PST/CEST/UTC/etc


Question

I'm trying to parse an international datetime string similar to:

24-okt-08 21:09:06 CEST

So far I've got something like:

CultureInfo culture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture("nl-BE");
DateTime dt = DateTime.ParseExact("24-okt-08 21:09:06 CEST",
    "dd-MMM-yy HH:mm:ss ...", culture);

The problem is what should I use for the '...' in the format string? Looking at the Custom Date and Time Format String MSDN page doesn't seem to list a format string for parsing timezones in PST/CEST/GMT/UTC form.

1
43
6/30/2014 5:12:03 PM

Accepted Answer

AFAIK the time zone abbreviations are not recognized. However if you replace the abbreviation with the time zone offset, it will be OK. E.g.:

DateTime dt1 = DateTime.ParseExact("24-okt-08 21:09:06 CEST".Replace("CEST", "+2"), "dd-MMM-yy HH:mm:ss z", culture);
DateTime dt2 = DateTime.ParseExact("24-okt-08 21:09:06 CEST".Replace("CEST", "+02"), "dd-MMM-yy HH:mm:ss zz", culture);
DateTime dt3 = DateTime.ParseExact("24-okt-08 21:09:06 CEST".Replace("CEST", "+02:00"), "dd-MMM-yy HH:mm:ss zzz", culture);
32
10/28/2008 12:51:36 AM

The quick answer is, you can't do it.


Here is why,

There is a definitive database of world timezones, you can get it from the IANA here.

The problem is, the 3 or 4 letter abbreviations have a many-to-one association with the IANA timezones. For instance "AMT" means different things, depending on your culture, what part of the world you are in and the context of your application.

AMT "Armenia Time" Asia          UTC + 4 hours 
AMT "Amazon Time"  South America UTC - 4 hours 

If you really want to tackle this, I suggest using Noda Time to represent your Instances. You'll have to write some code to convert the abbreviations to a standard IANA timezone.

We can't do this for you, it depends on the context of your application.


Another good example is "CST".

CST "China Standard Time"   Asia            UTC + 8 hours 
CST "Central Standard Time" Central America UTC - 6 hours 
CST "Cuba Standard Time"    Caribbean       UTC - 5 hours 
CST "Central Standard Time" North America   UTC - 6 hours 

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