TimeZone : Java Glossary

Unfortunately, Oracle has effectively decommitted Applets. This means you can no longer run the various CMP programs in a browser. You must download them and install them. You must have the most recent Java JRE (Java Runtime Environment) 1.8.0_131 32-bit or 64-bit. It no longer matters which browser you use.
Oracle has effectively decommited Applets, so this Applet will no longer run online in your browser, but it is a hybrid you can also download, install and run it on your own machine as standalone application. It will start and run faster if you do that. It will also work safely even if you have disabled Java in your browser.

A TimeZone is a Java class for a region of the earth that keeps the same time.


Spelling is chaotic. The Java class is spelled precisely TimeZone. When you see that spelling on this website, you know I am referring to the Java class. Authorities say that time zone, timezone and time-zone are all correct. You will more frequently see timezone in the USA and time-zone in Britain, however, I have discovered from study Google hits, that most people including the Americans and Brits use time zone. I attempt to use the time zone spelling consistently on this web site.

What are Time Zones

If the people in a given time zone keep different time in summer and winter, everyone is the region flips together. The TimeZone class describes the offset from UTC (Coordinated Universal Time/Temps Universel Coordonné) in summer and winter time and when the flips occur of a given time zone. To get the default TimeZone adjusted for the user’s location:

In ordinary use, a time zone is a region of the earth that keeps the same winter time. They may or may not all flip to summer time at the same time and some parts may not flip at all.

TimeZone Names and Offsets

The names for time zones used in Java comes from a database maintained by Arthur David Olson. For reasons only he understands, Pacific Standard Time is called America/Los_Angeles.

The reason that local time is different at different spots on the earth is a consequence of:

The reason we have time zones is to make synchronising railway (and later airline and TV) schedules easier. If we used natural time, based on observing the instant the sun were highest in the sky, every town would have its own slightly different clock from its immediate neighbours. This is how things used to be done in the days of the stagecoach.

You will see many different ways of specifying a time zone, including:

Here is a list of available TimeZones:

Applet failed to run. No Java 1.8 or later plug-in found.

Java Requirements and Troubleshooting

TZ is a Java Applet (that can also be run as an application) to TimeZone. You are welcome to install it on your own website. If it does not work…
  1. If Copy/Paste (Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V) do not work, you can turn them back on by modifying your java.policy file. This is not for the novice or faint of heart. instructions Your alternative is to download this program and run it without a browser.
  2. In the Java Control Panel security tab, click Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Programs ⇒ Java ⇒ Security, configure medium security to allow self-signed and vanilla unsigned applets to run. If medium is not available, or if Java security is blocking you from running the program, configure high security and add http://mindprod.com to the Exception Site List at the bottom of the security tab.
  3. Often problems can be fixed simply by clicking the reload button on your browser.
  4. Make sure you have both JavaScript and Java enabled in your browser.
  5. Make sure the Java in your browser is enabled in the security tab of the Java Control panel. Click Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Programs ⇒ Java ⇒ Security ⇒ Enable Java Content in the browser.
  6. This Java Applet (that can also be run as an application) needs 32-bit or 64-bit Java 1.8 or later. For best results use the latest 1.8.0_131 Java.
  7. You also need a recent browser.
  8. It works under any operating system that supports Java e.g. W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32, W8-64, W2012, W10-32, W10-64, Linux, LinuxARM, LinuxX86, LinuxX64, Ubuntu, Solaris, SolarisSPARC, SolarisSPARC64, SolarisX86, SolarisX64 and OSX
  9. You should see the Applet hybrid above looking much like this screenshot. If you don’t, the following hints should help you get it working:
  10. Especially if this Applet hybrid has worked before, try clearing the browser cache and rebooting.
  11. To ensure your Java is up to date, check with Wassup. First, download it and run it as an application independent of your browser, then run it online as an Applet to add the complication of your browser.
  12. If the above Applet hybrid does not work, check the Java console for error messages.
  13. If the above Applet hybrid does not work, you might have better luck with the downloadable version available below.
  14. If you are using Mac OS X and would like an improved Look and Feel, download the QuaQua look & feel from randelshofer.ch/quaqua. UnZip the contained quaqua.jar and install it in ~/Library/Java/Extensions or one of the other ext dirs.
  15. Upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer or another browser.
  16. Click the Information bar, and then click Allow blocked content. Unfortunately, this also allows dangerous ActiveX code to run. However, you must do this in order to get access to perfectly-safe Java Applets running in a sandbox. This is part of Microsoft’s war on Java.
  17. Try upgrading to a more recent version of your browser, or try a different browser e.g. Firefox, SeaMonkey, IE or Avant.
  18. If you still can’t get the program working click the red HELP button below for more detail.
  19. If you can’t get the above Applet hybrid working after trying the advice above and from the red HELP button below, have bugs to report or ideas to improve the program or its documentation, please send me an email atemail Roedy Green.
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See GNU Timezone classes that correct for historical changes and leap seconds.

You can find out the current time at any place on the globe at WorldTimeServer.com. It will tell you the offset from UTC, but not the time zone name. huh not CUT? It was a weird compromise acronym half way between French and English.

Unfortunately, you can’t extract the rules about when daylight savings go into effect from a TimeZone object. I suppose if you were patient you could deduce them by binary search on inDaylightTime. You could also study the code that is used to construct all the TimeZone objects in rt.jar, or the various locale jars and decompile and parse that to extract the information.

Here are the rules for the switch days in the EU. There are some algorithms to compute them.

Switch days are decided politically so can change erratically, especially in the USA, albeit with advance notice. In ancient Rome, one could bribe officials to have months lengthened or shortened, so we have made progress.

Olson Timezone Database

An ordinary citizen, David Olson has maintained a database of timezone and DST trivia that was used by the entire computing community. It was a much bigger job than you might imagine. Have a look at some of the changes in 2011. He has retired his server because a mean-spirited astrology company, Astrolabe, sued him distributing data free they sell. This information is clearly in the public domain. It is no secret when DST stops and starts and how far off UTC each spot on earth was at various times in the past. He did not have the resources to fight back. So for now, there is no one keeping track! Perhaps Anonymous could punish Astrolabe for this evil deed. Perhaps Oracle could sue them for selling their timezone data.

These turkeys attempted to screw Microsoft, Oracle, AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph), the airlines, the railroads and every operating system/computer program that deals with local time. They all rely directly or indirectly on the Olson tables. All went well and Astrolabe was handily defeated.

Learning More

Oracle’s Javadoc on TimeZone class : available:

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