Alex Alex - 1 month ago 23
C# Question

Force JSON.NET to include milliseconds when serializing DateTime (even if ms component is zero)

I'm using JSON.NET to serialize DateTime values directly from object instances (not using DateTime.ToString() with formatter).

Is there a way to force JSON.NET to include milliseconds in the serialization even if the millisecond component of the DateTime is zero?

Background: I have a very slow web service consumer for this JSON endpoint. Conditional logic is expensive for the consumer, so I'd like to provide the same data formatting every time.

Answer

We ran into this same issue on my current project. We are using Web API (and hence JSON.Net) to implement a REST API. We discovered that, when serializing DateTime objects, JSON.Net omits the trailing zeros from the milliseconds, or omits the milliseconds from the date entirely if it is zero. Our clients were expecting a fixed-length date-time string, with exactly 3 digits for the milliseconds. We fixed it by doing the following in Application_Start():

JsonSerializerSettings settings = HttpConfiguration.Formatters.JsonFormatter.SerializerSettings;
IsoDateTimeConverter dateConverter = new IsoDateTimeConverter 
{ 
    DateTimeFormat = "yyyy'-'MM'-'dd'T'HH':'mm':'ss.fff'Z'" 
};
settings.Converters.Add(dateConverter);

If you're not using Web API, you can do the same thing by creating a new instance of JsonSerializerSettings, adding the IsoDateTimeConverter to it as shown above, then passing the serializer settings to JsonConvert.SerializeObject().

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