Saturday, 23 May 2020

Noda Time v3.0.0 released

Noda Time 3.0.0 came out yesterday, bringing a shiny new parcel of date- and time-related functionality.

What’s new in 3.0? Firstly, there’s a couple of things in 3.0 that just plain make it easier to use Noda Time:
  • Nullable reference types. The API now correctly uses the nullable reference types introduced in C# 8.0 to document when a method or property may accept or return a null value.

    For example, IDateTimeZoneProvider.GetZoneOrNull(id) now declares its return value as DateTimeZone?, while the similar indexer (which cannot return null) instead returns DateTimeZone.

    Nullability was previously noted in our documentation, but now (with appropriate compiler support) you can opt-in to warnings that indicate where you might be accidentally passing a null somewhere you shouldn’t.
  • A plethora of API improvements. For example, we now have a YearMonth type that can represent a value like “May 2020”; TzdbDateTimeZoneSource now provides explicit dictionaries mapping between TZDB and Windows time zone IDs; and DateAdjusters.AddPeriod() creates a date adjuster that can be used to add a Period to dates, along with many other improvements. As always, see the version history and API changes page for full details.
  • A single library version. Previous versions of Noda Time were slightly fragmented when it came to supporting different framework versions. For example, Noda Time 1.x was specific to the .NET Framework, and later added a Portable Class Library version that was missing a few key functions, while Noda Time 2.x again provided a separate .NET Standard version that differed slightly from the ‘full’ version. As of Noda Time 3.0, we have just one library version, providing the same functionality on all platforms.
  • Better support for other frameworks. Most core types are now annotated with TypeConverter and XmlSchemaProvider attributes. Type converters are used in various frameworks to convert one type into other (typically, to or from a string) — for example, ASP.NET will use type converters to convert query string parameters into typed values — while the XML schema attributes make it possible to build an XML schema programmatically for web services that make use of Noda Time types.

Performance

Although not as significant as the changes from Noda Time 1.x to 2.x, performance is still a key concern for Noda Time.

In 3.0.0, we’ve managed to eke out a little more performance for some common operations: finding the earlier of two LocalDate values now takes somewhere between 40–60% of the time it did in Noda Time 2.x, while parsing text strings as LocalTime and LocalDate values using common (ISO-like) patterns should also be a little faster, taking around 90% of the time it did in Noda Time 2.x.

Caveats

The change from Noda Time 2.x to 3.0 is not as big a change as the one from Noda Time 1.x to 2.0, but there are still some small incompatibilities to watch out for.

The migration document details everything that we’re aware of, but there are two points worth calling out explicitly:
  • Noda Time 3.x has (slightly) greater system requirements than Noda Time 2.x. While Noda Time 2.x required either .NET Framework 4.5+ or .NET Core 1.0+, Noda Time 3.x requires “netstandard2.0”; that is, .NET Framework 4.7.2+ or .NET Core 2.0+.
  • .NET binary serialization is no longer supported. While .NET Core 2.0 added some support for binary serialization, binary serialization has many known deficiencies, and other serialization frameworks are now generally preferred. Accordingly, we have removed support for binary serialization entirely from Noda Time 3.x.

    Noda Time still natively supports .NET XML serialization for all core types, and we also provide official libraries for serializing using JSON (1, 2) and Google’s protobuf.
In general, though, we expect that most projects using Noda Time 2.x should be able to replace it with Noda Time 3.0.0 transparently.

Availability

You can get Noda Time 3.0.0 from the NuGet repository as usual (core and testing packages), or from the links on the Noda Time home page.

Note that the serialization packages were decoupled from the main release during the 2.x releases, and so (for example) there is no new version of NodaTime.Serialization.JsonNet; the current version of that library will work just fine with Noda Time 3.0.0.

What’s next?

Good question. While Noda Time is fairly mature as a library, we do have a few areas we’d like to explore for the future: making use of Span<T> in text parsing, and providing a little more information from CLDR sources (stable timezone IDs, for example). If you’re interested in helping out, come and talk to us on the mailing list.

2 comments:

  1. The link to other serialization frameworks points to the "Binary serialization" page at Microsoft's documentation sites; and is mostly a list of which types are serialized under .NET Core.

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  2. It's not a link for other serialisation frameworks. It's a link to the MS guidance that using other serialization frameworks is generally preferred.

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