Databases and Time – Time Zones are not Datatypes

When working with time in databases and web applications we should recognise that time zones are NOT a datatype. They represent an important part of a datetime value that links to a datetime value and may represent the time on the server or the time in the browser or some time in a particular country for an attribute of a record. Simply viewing a datetime value individually is incomplete if users are entering data from all over the world. If this is not designed into the schema from the beginning problems may be presented when filtering and ordering records based on datetime.

Does your application have users within the same or different time zones? Is your database hosted in the same or a different time zone?

SQL Azure database servers for instance only allow for a default time zone set to UTC. This means wherever you are in the world if you set a default value on an datetime field new records will record time at UTC. This can present issues where users submit values based on a different localised time.

Default values that are set to GetDate() can be out by a given time offset. Additionally web interfaces which set the datetime value at input may be set by the browser and if the browser is not on UTC that time will use a clock that may be forward or behind UTC. What’s the solution? My suggestion is to record the time zone in a separate field per record to the datetime value and then use a view to convert all datetimes to a common time zone field (probably best UTC). At least that should reduce complexity for users. Developer and users should be aware as this could be confusing when a user inputs a time into a database and then is presented with the UTC value when viewing the value.

It should be noted that Azure Logic Apps are on a server that is not set to UTC but local time (in my case London / Europe) I suspect that whatever local you set will be affect the local time. This led to a situation where in British Summer Time a logic app procedure triggered for 10pm was showing 9pm in the database – the BST offset.

Repeat after me – Time Zones are not Datatypes

And here is a nice site that identifies differences from UTC of timezones based on URL parameters

Time around the world
British Summer Time – 10am UTC

Eastern Seaboard Time – 10am UTC

Sydney Australia – Aussie Eastern Daylight Time – 10am UTC

Postgres on Azure : also named Azure Database for Postgres Flexible Server : MS Azure

Quick Start Azure Documentation

Good link on tips and tricks Azure

Login to your azure portal and choose Create a resource

Next select the Azure Database for PostgresSQL Flexible Server

Now indicate the starting parameters
Please note IF you want to connect using PGAdmin I found issues with version 15 so chose version 14 it is not clear why this is some quick googling suggested it was the version of PGAdmin I was using. So at the bottom of this post I capture the about PgAdmin 4 that I am using as a client. I was able to connect to the server vis psql.
Remember all of your parameters and choose an appropriate account

Note you can stop the server if this is a development test copy which is good for reducing costs…

Do this by navigating to the server and selecting the stop button at the top.

Note give it time to start and stop not like me try and start the server before it has finished stopping!

MS Azure – Web App Service – Notes on creating a staging web front end on an existing Web App Service

At some point in developing sites for clients you will may want a satellite site feeding off the main database but with prototype features on it. Considering that certain levels of web app service come with free staging sites you may as well use these rather than either the free service which may be less well provisioned or a separate paid site that you will have to pay additional money for. The number of slots available will depend on the service you are on.

Beginners guide to setting up a staging slot

Once you have the site up and running you operate it in the same way as a normal service and so you can get the publishing details from the Get Publish Profile.

Azure App Service – Simple Web App Service IP Restriction

Its written about extensively but here are my links and notes on setting up IP restriction for web apps in Microsoft Azure. You can allow or deny specific IPs. Setting up a restriction immediately denys all other IPs.

For this you will need
1) Azure Account with Web App Service running.
2) the IP you specifically wish to ALLOW

Firstly a useful service to identify the external IP you or your customers are using.

1) Navigate to and go into your account

2) Identify the App Service you wish to place IP restrictions on.

3) Within Settings look for Networking

4) Scroll down to Access Restrictions

and select

    Configure Access Restrictions

5) Adjust as appropriate

Restrictions occur almost immediately so usually within 30 seconds or a browser refresh new policy will be in place.