C/C++ library that parses TZ data?

Dario Teixeira darioteixeira at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 9 16:02:30 UTC 2011


I have a problem which is fairly common when one is running a web application
that wishes to display timestamps localised towards each user's time zone.
Basically, I need a function that takes as input a timestamp in UTC and 
a time zone specified in the Zoneinfo convention (ex: "Europe/Lisbon"),
and returns the localised version of that timestamp, including a time zone
abbreviation aware of daylight savings.  Example:

2010-01-01 15:30, "Europe/Lisbon"       -> 2010-01-01 15:30 WET
2010-01-01 15:30, "Europe/Paris"        -> 2010-01-01 16:30 CET

2010-07-01 15:30, "Europe/Lisbon"       -> 2010-07-01 16:30 WEST
2010-07-01 15:30, "Europe/Paris"        -> 2010-07-01 17:30 CEST

Since the zoneinfo data is present in every Unix system and glibc includes
routines for parsing it, interfacing with glibc seemed the obvious solution.
Unfortunately, glibc was not designed with this use case in mind.  In fact,
the glibc interface to zoneinfo can be described as "sui generis" if one
is feeling charitable, or "insane" if truth must be told.  Specifically, to
obtain the localised version of a given timestamp, one must first set the 'TZ'
environment variable with the target timezone, and then invoke 'localtime'.
The abbreviated name of the timezone can be found in the global 'tzname'
array: at position 'tzname[0]' if daylight savings are not in effect and at
position 'tzname[1]' if they are.  A quick search through glibc's bugzilla
shows I'm not the only one to find this interface anachronistic [1], but it
also reveals that it is unlikely to change.

So, my question is if someone is aware of some alternative library in C 
or C++ that provides this same functionality, but is friendlier towards
concurrent applications.

Best regards,
Dario Teixeira

[1] http://sources.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=11620


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