[Python-Dev] xmlrpclib and dates before 1900

Ralf Schmitt schmir at gmail.com
Wed Apr 2 12:45:31 CEST 2008

On Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 11:42 AM, Christian Heimes <lists at cheimes.de> wrote:

> Martin v. Löwis schrieb:
> > Can you please explain why this is an important problem?
> > Dates before 1900 have all passed long ago, so they shouldn't
> > occur that often in real applications.

In the application where I needed it, the customer wanted to send/store
dates for e.g. the date of birth of some people.

> Does xmlrpc support dates for 1900? For historic dates the Julian Day

The xmlrpc spec says dates should be sent in the following format:

1900 is a rather arbitrary limit with this format.

Note that the unpatched xmlrpclib is able to receive datetime objects with
dates before 1900:
~/ /usr/bin/python2.5                                               ralf at redok
Python 2.5.2 (r252:60911, Mar  9 2008, 11:14:55)
[GCC 4.2.3 (Debian 4.2.3-2)] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import xmlrpclib, datetime
((datetime.datetime(1850, 1, 1),), None)

Dumping however doesn't work:
>>> xmlrpclib.dumps((datetime.datetime(1850, 1, 1),))
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/usr/lib/python2.5/xmlrpclib.py", line 1080, in dumps
    data = m.dumps(params)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.5/xmlrpclib.py", line 623, in dumps
    dump(v, write)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.5/xmlrpclib.py", line 635, in __dump
    f(self, value, write)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.5/xmlrpclib.py", line 725, in dump_datetime
  File "datetime.py", line 791, in strftime
    return _wrap_strftime(self, fmt, self.timetuple())
  File "datetime.py", line 181, in _wrap_strftime
    "methods require year >= 1900" % year)
ValueError: year=1850 is before 1900; the datetime strftime() methods
require year >= 1900

This ValueError just shows an implementation detail.

Note that it's also possible to send and receive dates before 1900 using
xmlrpclib.DateTime objects.

> Number family (MJD or JDN) or Rata Die are more appropriate and much
> easier to use. I wish somebody could add both to the datetime module.
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