CW Developer Network

Oct 9 2018   4:21PM GMT

Plankers: why midnight 00:00 is a dumb deadline

Adrian Bridgwater Adrian Bridgwater Profile: Adrian Bridgwater

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How many times have you heard people tell you that ‘deadline for submissions is midnight on Tuesday’ (or insert weekday of your choice)..?

Sysadmin guru and technology commentator extraordinaire Bob Plankers thinks it’s confusing, if not downright dumb.

Plankers is author of The Lone Sysadmin and in addition to his role as virtualization architect at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

Suggesting that midnight is a essentially a poor choice of timeslot for scheduling anything, Plankers says that midnight belongs to tomorrow —and that’s not how we how humans think, if we’re focused on the task in hand that is.

The focus of his argument centralises on the face that, in the world of the sysadmin, DBA and for many other operations professionals, midnight is a popular time to schedule automated processes.

“I get it, it’s easy. If you run something at midnight you don’t have to do much processing to separate yesterday from today. The problem is that there’s a ton of stuff already running on the hour, and you’re just piling on. Most people try to avoid shopping when it’s crazy busy, why would you want to run your jobs that way? If you ran your job a bit earlier or later chances are it’ll run faster because you’re not competing with everyone else,” wrote Plankers.

If not that, then what?

Plankers makes a great point, that is – in the contemporary world of always-on software application development we work in a cycle of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD)… so slotting in nightly builds at ‘traditional midnight’ probably isn’t possible anyway and if we do push for that slot it could well cause a log jam.

As we now look to hit equally specific, but more widely dispersed deadlines, Plankers asks us to be strict about how you write your deadline times and use the time & date in the ISO 8601 format to help avoid global formatting issues (YYYY-MM-DDThh:mmTZD).

Thanks Bob, we’ll aim for diversity in every sense of the word.

Plankers: get savvy about your schedules.

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