[Python-Dev] Status on PEP-431 Timezones

Alexander Belopolsky alexander.belopolsky at gmail.com
Sun Jul 26 18:54:18 CEST 2015

On Sun, Jul 26, 2015 at 11:33 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:

> As a user, if the apparent semantics of time zone aware date time
> arithmetic are accurately represented by "convert time to UTC ->
> perform arithmetic -> convert back to stated timezone", then I *don't
> care* how that is implemented internally.
> This is the aspect Tim is pointing out is a change from the original
> design of the time zone aware arithmetic in the datetime module. I
> personally think its a change worth making that reflects additional
> decades of experience with time zone aware datetime arithmetic, but
> the PEP should be clear that it *is* a change.

These semantics are already available in python 3:

>>> t = datetime(2015, 3, 7, 17, tzinfo=timezone.utc).astimezone()
>>> t.strftime('%D %T %z %Z')
'03/07/15 12:00:00 -0500 EST'
>>> (t+timedelta(1)).strftime('%D %T %z %Z')
'03/08/15 12:00:00 -0500 EST'   # a valid time, but not what you see on the
wall clock
>>> (t+timedelta(1)).astimezone().strftime('%D %T %z %Z')
'03/08/15 13:00:00 -0400 EDT'   # this is what the wall clock would show

Once CPython starts vendoring a complete timezone database, it would be
trivial to extend .astimezone() so that things like
work as expected.

What is somewhat more challenging, is implementing a tzinfo subclass that
can be used
to construct datetime instances with the following behavior:

>>> t = datetime(2015, 3, 7, 12, tzinfo=timezone('US/Eastern'))
>>> t.strftime('%D %T %z %Z')
'03/07/15 12:00:00 -0500 EST'
>>> (t + timedelta(1)).strftime('%D %T %z %Z')
'03/08/15 12:00:00 -0400 EDT'

The solution to this problem has been provided as a documentation example
[1] for many years,
but also for many years it contained a subtle bug [2] which illustrates
that one has to be careful
implementing those things.

Although the examples [1] in the documentation only cover simple US
timezones, they cover
a case of changing DST rules and changing STD rules can be implemented

Whether we want such tzinfo implementations in stdlib, is a valid question,
but it should be
completely orthogonal to the question of vendoring a TZ database.

If we agree that vendoring a TZ database is a good thing, we can make
.astimezone() understand how to construct a fixed offset timezone from a
and call it a day.

[2]: http://bugs.python.org/issue9063
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