Show absolute datetimes instead of "X days ago" with hover

This was the bane of social networks and somehow this made into developer tools everywhere.

Human beings are not computers. We cannot compute 4 days ago on the fly especially if there are potentially dozens of “4 days ago” entries in a build list. We don’t write “4 days ago” into logs because that would prevent us from quickly and efficiently figuring out what was wrong.

“But you can hover over a thing” adds friction. Why should I hover over something when it’s much easier for the UI to go ahead and display the unadulterated date? Why make us hover over a small and inconsistently sized target?

A very quick and easy example: a continuous deployment pipeline. A few deploys a day. Errors start showing up in logs at 2020-04-04 15:23. Which deploy was that? Let’s hop over to Circle CI. 5 min ago, 1 hour ago, 1 day ago, 1 day ago, 1 day ago, 1 day ago, 2 days ago, 2 days ago Wait what? I need a build/deploy that happened right before 2020-04-04 15:23.

The weirdness of this situation is that it’s harder to display “X ago” than to display a date. So why bother?


I’m totally with you. Actually, to be fair, it’s the same on the “old” UI still. Or did I miss a setting? :thinking:

Yup. The old UI has the same problem :slight_smile:

@Kate_Catlin any chance you could make this happen? :slight_smile:

IMHO upto 3 hours ago is sorta easy when doing PRs etc, but beyond that absolute is really helpful.

Also curious if you are hearing otherwise

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I want to see if two jobs ran at the same time (to check for interference), so I would like to see the time started and ended not only for the job, but for the steps as well. The exact times please.

A year later this is still the case.

We’ve had a lot of discussion about this internally, and we’ve tested a few different versions. One of our PMs will reach out because I think it would really helpful to chat with you about how we can improve this.