• author: Nick Chapsas

How Microsoft Addressed Feedback and Improved the Time Provider in .NET 8

Hello everybody! I'm Nick, and in this video, I'm going to show you how one of the most anticipated features of .NET 8 has changed based on the criticism and feedback we received. The time provider, a long overdue feature, has been revamped and improved by Microsoft. Let's dive into what the type is, how it was originally supposed to work, why it had some flaws, and how we, as a community, helped fix it.

Introduction to the Problem

When working with the time provider in .NET, we encountered a common issue. The system clock, which the time provider relied on, created a hard dependency that made it difficult to unit test our code. As a result, our tests would pass or fail based on the specific time they were run, compromising the integrity of our testing process.

Historically, to solve this problem, developers would create their own clock or system clock interface and inject it into their code. This allowed for easy mocking and changing the behavior of returning the current time during testing. However, there was no universal solution provided by the Base Class Library (BCL) in .NET.

Microsoft's Initial Approach

Microsoft introduced the time provider as an abstract class called "TimeProvider" instead of opting for an interface. This approach had its own shortcomings, though.

One major problem was that the constructor of the time provider required a parameter called "Frequency," which was not intuitive unless you understood the implementation details of the clock. This made initialization for testing purposes more complicated than necessary.

Additionally, all the members of the time provider class were abstract, which required developers to implement all the methods even if they only needed the default implementation of the system clock. This caused confusion and added unnecessary complexity.

Furthermore, Microsoft chose to use properties such as UTC now and local now, similar to how properties are implemented in the DateTime class. While this consistency had some benefits, it deviated from the recommended approach of using methods for this type of functionality.

Microsoft's Response to Feedback

Thankfully, Microsoft listened to user feedback and made significant improvements to the time provider in .NET 8. Let's explore the changes they implemented.

Constructor Improvements

The first improvement was addressing the unnecessary complexity of the time provider's constructor. Microsoft removed the parameterized constructor and replaced it with a protected parameter-less constructor. This change simplified the initialization process and made it more intuitive.

Virtual Members with Default Implementations

Another significant change was turning the abstract members of the time provider into virtual members with default implementations. This made the implementation more flexible and reduced the burden of having to override unnecessary methods. Developers could now override only the methods they needed to implement in their own versions of the time provider.

Clear Method for Timezone Info

One noticeable change in the updated time provider was the conversion of the "LocalTimeZoneInfo" property into a clear method. Although the implementation remained the same behind the scenes, this change made it more explicit and aligned with proper method signatures. It also made mocking easier for testing purposes.

The Simplified Implementation

With these improvements in mind, let's look at how the new time provider can be used in your code. Here's an example of how you can update your code to leverage the updated time provider:

publicclassIngredientService{privatereadonlyTimeProvider_timeProvider;publicIngredientService(TimeProvidertimeProvider){_timeProvider=timeProvider;}publicstringGetMessageBasedOnTime(){varcurrentTime=_timeProvider.GetUtcNow();// Generate message based on current timereturnmessage;}}

As you can see, the dependency on the system clock has been replaced with the time provider, making the code more testable. You can now easily mock the time provider and control the behavior of returning the current time during testing.

The Power of Community Feedback

The improvements made to the time provider were a direct result of community feedback and collaboration. By raising our concerns, challenging the existing implementation, and providing suggestions, we were able to influence the changes made by Microsoft.

It's crucial for developers to engage with the community and actively participate in discussions and issue reporting on platforms like GitHub. By expressing our opinions and sharing our real-world experiences, we can bridge the gap between how Microsoft perceives things and how we, as developers, perceive them.

Your Opinion Matters

Now, I want to hear from you. What do you think about the changes made to the time provider in .NET 8? Do you believe it should have been an interface from the beginning? Should it have remained a property rather than a method? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let's continue the discussion!


In conclusion, Microsoft's response to feedback regarding the time provider in .NET 8 demonstrates their commitment to improving their products based on user input. By addressing the shortcomings and implementing valuable changes, they have made the time provider more robust and developer-friendly.

As developers, it's essential to voice our opinions and actively engage with the community and the products we use. Together, we can shape the future of .NET and ensure that it meets our needs and expectations.

Thank you for watching, and as always, keep coding! Don't forget to subscribe for more content and check out my courses on dumbtrain.com for additional training.

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