From time to time users of this site contact me with zmanim related questions, both technical and halachic. While I do not mind answering these questions, an open forum is probably more helpful to a greater audience. Please feel free to post your zmanim questions and comment here. While the target of this API were Java programmers, the vast majority of questions/comments are not related to the actual API. Here are some recent questions received (made generic).
- Q: Can you let me know what calculations/opinion is used by the zmanim shown at [link removed]? I tried contacting the owner of the site but no one replied.
A: I was able to answer the user based on information on the site and comparing the zmanim
- Q: What opinion does zman XYZ follow?
A: The information can be seen in the Javadocs, and I added additional information in the email to the user.
- Q: How can I use your API in JavaScipt/Ruby/PHP/C#/C++/Obj-C etc, etc
A: The API is written in Java. The Zmanim API was already ported to .NET (Zmanim.NET) and Objective-C (KosherCocoa). If you are looking for it in different programming languages, a port is likely needed. I am more than willing to help guide you and make changes to my API to allow easier porting, but this is not something that I have the time to do myself.
- Q: Your zmanim spreadsheet does not show a time for tzais as X minutes after shkiah etc
A: In some of these cases I actually added zmanim to the API, but for the less commonly used times, I point the questioner to the API with a sample on how to generate the requested zman. The API is very flexible, and almost every zman pointed out to me was very easy to generate
- Q: Why are your zmanim 2 minutes different than [link removed].
A It is not always clear what exact coordinate was used to generate those zmanim or what rounding was done by the author. If you provide more detailed information (usually by contacting the author of that calendar) you will usually find that the 2 can be matched
- Q: I want to incorporate a Luach on my site, can you help?
A: while the current version of the API only calculates Zmanim, the beta version has Luach support. Zmanim are based on a solar year, and there is no need for the Hebrew date for the calculations of zmanim (with the exception of kiddush levana times). That said, Avrom Finkelstien released a java API for a Luach in 2002 (a cache is available via the The Wayback Machine) under the GPL. I modified the code and integrated it into the beta version of the Zmanim API. There is another API available from the ICU Project released under the open source ICU License by IBM. There are various other ones including the non-GPL Gauss library released by Zvi Har’El.
- Q: I found the following bug in the API!!!
A: I welcome these reports even though the majority are not bugs at all