Scott Hanselman

WSE and Timestamping - TimeZones and Tijuana

June 30, 2003 Comment on this post [0] Posted in Web Services | XML | Tools
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A fellow emailed me about some trouble he was having with WSE (Web Services Enhancements) and Timestamp Expiration.  He was getting a SOAP Exception (Timestamp Fault) and figured it was because his machines were in different timezones.  This is what I told him:

This isn’t neccessarily an issue of maturity of the toolkit, it’s simply how TimeStamping (TTL) works on Web Services. Personally, I run my Web Servers on GMT/Universal Time to avoid even thinking about Timezones.  Either way, it’s really about Universal Time (UTC).  When you see a DateTime (when sniffing) in a Created or Expires you’ll notice that they append a “Z” ( and that indicates the DateTime is in UTC.  Note: 1994-11-05T08:15:30-05:00 corresponds to November 5, 1994, 8:15:30 am, US Eastern Standard Time. 1994-11-05T13:15:30Z corresponds to the same instant. (note: at 5.2.1. Expiration.


  • What is your timestamp expiration set to?  5 seconds? 60 seconds?
  • Are the client and server using an NTP server (they need to be at LEAST within 30 seconds of each other or so.
  • What times are you seeing?  (What does the “conversation” look like between the two machines...use ProxyTrace or YATT.)
  • Are the machines (client and server) set to their respective timezones (in Windows Regional Settings)…some people in New York just change the system time and not the zone and the machine thinks it’s in Tijuana.

It’s may not be an issue of hours apart; it’s probably minutes or seconds from UTC.  Timestamping only works when the clocks are set and set well! :)

UPDATE: in classic CarTalk style it turns out it it WAS the TimeZone.  If you don't tell your system WHERE it is, it can't tell you what time UTC is.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.