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#1637 ✓wontfix
Artem Ignatiev

Accessing datetime via read_attribute loses timezone

Reported by Artem Ignatiev | December 26th, 2008 @ 02:43 PM | in 2.x

In my project I needed to alter getter method for datetime attribute, like that:

class SomeModel < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_one :overriding_model
  def start_time
    if overriding_model

With such definition start_time method began to return instances of Time class (with time in UTC timezone), so that broke displaying of times for us.

Here's diff to test case that will fail test_time_attributes_are_retrieved_in_current_time_zone

diff --git a/activerecord/test/cases/attribute_methods_test.rb b/activerecord/test/cases/attribute_methods_test.rb
index 77ee8d8..cc5198f 100644
--- a/activerecord/test/cases/attribute_methods_test.rb
+++ b/activerecord/test/cases/attribute_methods_test.rb
@@ -146,7 +146,9 @@ class AttributeMethodsTest < ActiveRecord::TestCase
       record[:written_on] = utc_time
       assert_equal utc_time, record.written_on # record.written on is equal to (i.e., simultaneous with) utc_time
       assert_kind_of ActiveSupport::TimeWithZone, record.written_on # but is a TimeWithZone
+      assert_kind_of ActiveSupport::TimeWithZone, record.read_attribute(:written_on)
       assert_equal ActiveSupport::TimeZone["Pacific Time (US & Canada)"], record.written_on.time_zone # and is in the current
+      assert_equal ActiveSupport::TimeZone["Pacific Time (US & Canada)"], record.read_attribute(:written_on).time_zone
       assert_equal Time.utc(2007, 12, 31, 16), record.written_on.time # and represents time values adjusted accordingly

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Mark Turner

    Mark Turner December 26th, 2008 @ 09:02 PM

    What version of Rails are you using?

  • Frederick Cheung

    Frederick Cheung December 26th, 2008 @ 10:26 PM

    Well currently the conversion happens at the level of the automatically generated attribute reader so it's not surprising that this happens.

    All you need to do is change your code to say


    Furthermore I'm of the opinion that time zone conversions etc... are none of read_attribute's business. It's a low level method, so if you use it there will be slighly more faffing around

  • Artem Ignatiev

    Artem Ignatiev December 29th, 2008 @ 12:07 PM

    What version of Rails are you using? Using 2.2, patch is against 07298fd0929ae1c6dd6d1b41bf320112d6bfc6a0 (Fri Dec 26 01:49:14 2008 +0000)


    Well, after reading the source I came to conclusion that it's intended behaviour when reading datetime attributes.

    Perhaps, a note should be added to rdoc about timezone conversion when reading/writing datetime attributes?

  • Geoff Buesing

    Geoff Buesing January 7th, 2009 @ 06:29 AM

    • State changed from “new” to “wontfix”

    In agreement with Frederick -- time zone conversions shouldn't be done inside of read_attribute.

    @Artem, agreed, an rdoc note could help by explaining that time zone conversions are done via generated methods, and not inside of read_attribute.

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