I have configured an event attribute for order_timestamp which takes a certain timestamp format:
Set date order_timestamp with date format yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss'Z'
As I understand it, this allows Tealium to properly parse the incoming datetime string into its proper data type. However, in downstream audience attribute creation, if I create a date or timeline attributes and I want to use my original order_timestamp as a date input, I have to again enter a date format:
Record an event for this timeline > Based on date order_timestamp with date format yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss'Z'
If I need to change my timestamp format at some point, it means I not only have to touch my original timestamp values, but also all my linked enrichments (dates) as well as timeline attributes which do not show up as linked enrichments. This is in spite of the fact that it's already a timestamp datatype, and I should not need to convert it here.
The Tealium documentation below even explicitly references a string data type the following for the Set date function. This makes me think it should automatically inherit the date if it's the proper variable data type.
The Set Date enrichment sets the attribute to the value of another attribute. If the other attribute is a string, use the Date Formatter to convert it to a date. This enrichment is available for attributes: event, visit and visitor.
Is this a bug or a design issue?
The way Tealium is designed, all "date" attributes are actually stored in epoch format on the backend, which is why it needs to be formatted every time if you don't need the date in an epoch format (and also why it must be stored in a "string" format).
If you like, you can submit a product idea to our engineering team to suggest handling date formats differently to make it easier for the user. You can do this by clicking on the "Resource Center" at the top right of your Tealium screen, then clicking on "Submit Your Idea". These ideas have direct visibility by our product team for consideration.