Business 'fancy date format'

John Ralls jralls at
Thu Nov 10 10:16:42 EST 2016

> On Nov 10, 2016, at 5:09 AM, Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at> wrote:
> On Wednesday 09 November 2016 06:50:16 John Ralls wrote:
> > > On Nov 9, 2016, at 2:17 AM, Robert Fewell <14ubobit at <mailto:14ubobit at>>
> > > wrote:
> > > 
> > > John,
> > > 
> > > Yes this is master and the reports have been changed. On maint there
> > > is an option for 'Fancy Date Format' and the default is what I
> > > stated above so your date will be correct.
> > > 
> > > So to me it looks like the following...
> > > 
> > > The File/Properties/Business should be showing 'Locale' as the
> > > default and remove 'UTC' from the list. (it is not on the list in
> > > Preferences/Date) (gnc-default-strftime-date-format) should return
> > > a format based on 'Locale' These reports should test for a valid
> > > 'Fancy Date Format', if not, use the default one.
> > > 
> > > If you agree I will add it to my pull request dealing with the
> > > report changes.
> > Bob,
> > 
> > Saying that the reports had changed got me to look at history, which
> > reminded me that on maint the Fancy Date setting doesn't actually
> > work and that Geert fixed it in master last year. I think his idea
> > was that the user might want to have reports dated in UTC instead of
> > the local time-zone, but I don't remember the reasoning. Perhaps he
> > does. Until he chimes in let's leave it on the list.
> > 
> Just for kicks I tried to trace the UTC definition back in our code base. I lost the trail in the gnome2 merge in 2005. So it's been around for a while.
> The definition of this date format can presently be found in 
> <>
> And a bit later in the enum there is an example:
> 2004-12-12T23:39:11Z
> It's the only of all the date formats that includes a time. All others are date only. I have no idea why this was added unfortunately. And given we are considering removing all time information from gnucash, I wonder if it's even useful to keep around for much longer.

We haven't before considered removing time information. We've been discussing for a very long time indeed how to reconcile the way we store posted-date as an arbitrary date-time with our users' expectation that that date should be the same nominal value regardless of time zone. Getting rid of time and therefore time zones altogether and having only dates is an interesting idea. It would permit simplifying a lot of code.

That doesn't really bear on having an option to date a report with a UTC date-time. I can't immediately think of a reason to do that*, but if it's been around forever then we should ask for some user feedback before removing it.

John Ralls

* At least not in the context of what I understand of our users' needs. I can certainly see a need in a large organization that might run the same report several times a day from locations in different time zones and need to make sure that everyone in a multi-time-zone discussion is "reading from the same page". 

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