A web page to display my time zone

Jun 25, 2024

I recently had to share my time zone information with a group of people online. While it's easy to say "My time zone is XYZ", I thought it would be better if I had a web page that was easy to remember and had this information available for everyone to see. So, I created tz.erethon.com.

Original idea source

This isn't an original idea of mine. I ran into networkException's site and noticed they had a similar page. The moment I saw it, I needed wanted a similar page, so I shamelessly copied their idea ^_^. Thank you for the inspiration!

I was, also, curious to see how long it would take me to implement it and release it publicly.


Since I don't want my websites to use JavaScript, the generation of the page needed to be done serverside. My initial approach was to write a small app in Rust that would serve the page. It would be overkill to have a HTTP server in Rust just to serve a single GET request, so I thought it would make more sense to have Nginx call the Rust app via CGI. And then, I realized that if I was gonna use CGI, it would be simpler to just use a shell script and call that via CGI. I'm fascinated by the fact that I always come up with complex solutions at first, when a simpler solution is a couple of minutes and a few tweaks away.

In total, it took me ~75 minutes from the moment I started thinking about this project to publishing it online. Most of the time was spent on figuring out how to interface FastCGI with Nginx and if I wanted to reuse the fastcgi DebOps role. I also spent around 15 minutes making sure that this endpoint is somewhat rate-limited as it's easy to abuse it and increase the load on the host it's running on. Finally, as one would expect when writing shell scripts, I spent more than five minutes on getting the right invocation of date to return the date and time in the format I wanted.

All in all, this feature is implemented in this commit, and I'm happy with how simple and portable it ended up being.

PS. This blog post took longer to write than creating the actual tz.erethon.com web pageā€¦

Tags: CGI software workflow

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