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Comma delimited CSV files?

Posted on 2000-05-11
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
Hi......
I have dumped a table to a text file from SQLServer 7.
Quoted, comma delimited, CR/LF row termination.
The thing is there are commas also in thesome of the fields themselves.
This screws me up when I try and do stuff based on the comma delimit field.
Please help.
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Question by:rickyr
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17 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:allenstoner
Comment Utility
You can put quotes around the string fields.  Then ignore commas inside the quotes.  Of course you may have quotes in string values also.  Double quotes are usually safer because of names like O'Neal.
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Expert Comment

by:DawsonB
Comment Utility
use a different delimiter.
Other than commas, TAB (chr9) is also an oft used delimiter.
this could still be called a .csv and fit in with the rules.
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Expert Comment

by:bhess1
Comment Utility
Depends on how you are processing the file.  If you are using a program on a csv with quotes around strings, you'll need to check for that in your code.  Some simplistic pseudo code for processing one line:

Read Line
While Not Done
   Look for a comma
   If Next Character is a quote
      Look for the next quote
   End If
   Look for the next comma
   If at End of Line
      Done is True
   End If
   Assign data value
End While
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Expert Comment

by:david_levine
Comment Utility
I agree with DawsonB. You ddidn't mention where the data is going, but you should use a delimiter that isn't in your data. So if you don't have tabs in any fields, you should use that. Most programs that will open the extract file should have no issues with tab delimited data. And for a bcp, you don't need to specify anything and the tab character will be used by default (if -c is specified in the bcp).

David
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Expert Comment

by:DawsonB
Comment Utility
If you are using VB then an easier way to split each line out would be to use Split function

Read Line
While Not Done
   Read line from file into LineVariable
   Array = split(LineVariable,vbtab)
   
End While

this will mean you don't need to actually 'look' for the delimiters. You will just need to do with each field whatever you need to do with it.

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Author Comment

by:rickyr
Comment Utility
I think you are right, its a pain trying to use commas. I may use TAB.
I am using a simple select statement to generate my csv file, How ( in sql) can I strip out all tabs in the cells (data itself) during the select, so that I can be guaranteed a tab free csv (except of course for where I want them as delimeters).
That should be it, thanks.
R
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Expert Comment

by:DawsonB
Comment Utility
Select Field1,Field2,Replace(Field3,char(9),'<TAB>')  [Field3]
From Table

This way you could later programatticaly replace your tab, but all for all this would work just as well with a comma delimiter(although I tend to stick to TAB's).

This is all well and good, but why are you not using the DTS to do this? If you have a large table then DTS would be much more efficient.

You could use the same Select satatement on the source connection, and just point it at a text file and wham bam thank you mam!





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Expert Comment

by:barx
Comment Utility
I suggest using a the pipe character '|'.  This character is very rarely found in data.  I also agree with bhess1 that another good idea is, you should enclose the data in quotation marks.
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Author Comment

by:rickyr
Comment Utility
Ok.....
I'm using | to delimit rows, and tab to delimit cols.
but guess what? there are tabs in my data. In my sql that I use to generate my csv, how can I replace any tabs that occur with a space.
This will close this Q.
Thanks in advance
R
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Accepted Solution

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DawsonB earned 50 total points
Comment Utility
select REPLACE(ColumnName,char(9),' ') as ColumnName
:-}
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Expert Comment

by:david_levine
Comment Utility
Or change the column separator to another character such as '/0' that's a zero.

I'd recommend doing that before updating data.

David
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Author Comment

by:rickyr
Comment Utility
I'm creating the csv from sqlserver, it doesn't allow me to specify anything but comma, tab, etc.
cheers!
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Expert Comment

by:david_levine
Comment Utility
You can use the -r and -t options of bcp to specify the column and row terminators when extracting the data from the table to a flat-file.

David
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Author Comment

by:rickyr
Comment Utility
select REPLACE(ColumnName,char(9),' ') as ColumnName
returns.........
Argument data type text is invalid for argument 1 of replace function.
cheers
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Expert Comment

by:david_levine
Comment Utility
What are you going to do with the file - open it in Excel or a like package?

Just do something like the following in a DOS/NT command prompt:

bcp dbname.owner.table out flatfile.txt -Uuserid -Ppassword -Sservname -c -t'~' -r'|'

and that will create a file that you can load into anything where you can specify the row/column delimiters
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Author Comment

by:rickyr
Comment Utility
Comment accepted as answer
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Author Comment

by:rickyr
Comment Utility
Thanks, now see my new question
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