Microsoft Sync Framework timezones

Over the last few months I have been working with the Microsoft Sync Framework and the time zone issues have been a problem.

New Zealand has a 12hr standard time or 13 hr daylight savings time offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and at a glance our customer data could look ok if treated as either local or UTC.

After some experimentation I found that it was due to Windows Communication Foundation(WCF) serialisation issues (The proposed solutions looks like it might have some limitations, especially across daylight savings time transitions).

For the initial synchronisation DateTime values in the database were unchanged, but for any later incremental synchronisations the DateTime values were adjusted to the timezone of the server (Our Azure Cloud Services are UTC timezone, though I don’t understand why Microsoft by default has them set to US locale with MM/DD/YY date formats)

In our scenario having all of the DateTime values in the cloud local looked like a reasonable option and this article provided some useful insights.

In the end I found that setting the DateSetDateTime  for every DateTime column in each DataTable in the synchronisation DataSet to unspecified in the ProcessChangeBatch (our code was based on the samples) method meant that no adjustment was applied to the incremental updates

public override void ProcessChangeBatch(ConflictResolutionPolicy resolutionPolicy, ChangeBatch sourceChanges, object changeDataRetriever, SyncCallbacks syncCallbacks, SyncSessionStatistics sessionStatistics)
{
try
{
DbSyncContext context = changeDataRetriever as DbSyncContext;

if (context != null)
{
foreach (DataTable table in context.DataSet.Tables)
{
foreach (DataColumn column in table.Columns)
{
// Switching from UnspecifiedLocal to Unspecified is allowed even after the DataSet has rows.
if ((column.DataType == typeof(DateTime)) && (column.DateTimeMode == DataSetDateTime.UnspecifiedLocal))
{
column.DateTimeMode = DataSetDateTime.Unspecified;
}
}
}
...

Hope this helps someone else

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