Can I create a FORM which reads comma delimited text and formats it into tables?

I have comma delmited text coming into me via email.  Can I create a form that will put this incoming text into tables for me?

M
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MitchellVIIAsked:
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David LeeCommented:
Greetings, MitchellVII.

Yes, you can read a CSV file in and put into a table or tables.  That doesn't require a form.  Just a bit of code.  What do you want to do with the data after you've read it in?

Cheers!
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
hiya,
Ok here's what I am doing.  I am an Executive Recruiter.  I have just put a form online:

http://www.executivedecision.biz/forms/DocESWRequest.html

for new candidates to fill out and send to me.  Right now it is just sending me a txt file to my Outlook email per cgi script.

One example of data I am getting is their Industry Experience.  That would look like:

Banking,Expert,3
Manufacturing,Strong,4

and so on.

I want to paste this data into an Access table in their file, but I need it to be in table form so i can copy and paste it.

What I am looking to do is somehow have that data appear in my Outlook email already converted from text to table much as Word does.

M
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David LeeCommented:
Nice looking form.  This is possible, but I'm not sure how practical a solution it'll be.  It'd require using a rule to trap these messages as they arrive and run the code that'd convert the values to a table.  Since the data comes in the message body, I'm assuming it does, reading it out is going to trigger Outlook's built-in security.  That's going to trigger a dialog-box warning that a program is accessing Outlook and asking for your permission to allow it to continue.  Getting around this requires either writing the code as an Outlook add-in, more difficult, or using a third-party tool.  In my opinion the best approach would be to have the web page write the data directly into the database.  If that's not an option, then rather than write a routine to parse and format the body so you can do a manual cut-n-paste, I'd suggest writing a routine that reads the data and inserts it directly into the database.
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the positive feedback on the form.  It looks simple yet it was actually very hard to come up with that considering I have no idea what I am doing - lol.

Anyway, the database idea is a possibility.  In my main database, there is a table called MainContact whose Primary Key is called "ID" (yeah, I know real original).  Anyway, the Main Contact Table has all ur basic Name, Company stuff.

Then I have a table for Phone Data which links to the Contact Table on the ID field and a Group Table where I store all the data on Industries, technologies, Software etc.  They are all "groups", just each has a different group "type".  They link to the Contact table on the ID Field too.

Anyway, as you can see, it would involve importing data into the Contact Table, noting that ID, then adding the phone and Group to their tables and linking that ID in there.

Somewhat complex.

Actually probably easier to create one big fat table that gets everyhting from the web, then I can write some local routines that parse the data out.

Ok, all that being said, I have no idea how to get data from my form to a database on my computer.

M

Prolly the best thing to do is:

Have it write to a database on the server and send me a notification, at which time i can then do some magic that downloads the data to my computer.

P.S., I live in Raleigh, I assume you are close as you are a BLue Devil Fan :)
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David LeeCommented:
MitchellVII,

Does the web server that'll host the form support ASP (Microsoft Activer Server Pages)?  If so, then the form can easily write directly to the database.  If not, does it support FrontPage Server Extensions?  I'm rusty with my FrontPage (I prefer Dreamweaver and ASP), but I seem to remember a way that FrontPage can save straight to a database without using ASP.  A third possibility is to have the form values written to a TSV (tab separated values) file and have the file mailed to you.  It's be easier to process than parsing the message body.  I could provide a VBScript that'd read and parse the TSV file and use ADO to import it into Access.

I noticed the Raleigh address on your form.  I'm not in North Carolina, but I am on the east coast.  
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
well it handles FrontPage, mtSQL and PHP but not ASP.  Right now it is sending me a text file that I can arrange into comma delomited groups that are easy to paste into Word and and change into tables, or import into excel.

M
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
To do the excell thing I would just have to save the email as a text file and do a merge with excel.  It's just one extra step.
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David LeeCommented:
So it already comes as a text file, not as text in the body of the message?
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
No it comes i the body of an email as a .txt file.

You know, I think I am just gonna have to force myself to learn some simple PHP and my SQL.  It cant be that hard.  Maybe my Dreamweaver will show me how.
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David LeeCommented:
If you keep it simple, the Dreamweaver will actually do it all for you.  You don't have to write a bit of code in Dreamweaver until you want to perform an action that there's no "behavior" for.  Saving data from a form into a database is a common behavior.  All you'd need to do is create a connection to the database, and then add the Insert Record behavior.  When you do DW will present you with a dialog box showing the fields in the table you're inserting into and ask which form field goes in each database field.  It's a piece of cake.
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
Hmm, I'll have to try that.  Which do you think is better, DW or FP?  I think FP is cheaper as this is just a trial i downloaded.  FP is only 200 bucks.

M
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David LeeCommented:
In my opinion DW is far better.  FP is less expensive, but it's also less capable, and it's not fully standard.  Some of its best features depend on the FrontPage Server Extensions.  DW produces standard HTML and uses JavaScript/VBScript to do what it does.  They are also targeted at different audiences.  FP is aimed at authors building static web pages.  DW can do that too, but it's target audience are those who are building web apps.  
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
Ah cool thanks.  After I get this project done I think my webpage designing days are over.  There is more money in placing programmers than being one :)

M
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David LeeCommented:
It's probably less frustrating too.
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MitchellVIIAuthor Commented:
Programming is really only frustrating because so many products (M$ for instance) are so poorly thought out that you end up having to write work-a-rounds to do almost anything.

MS Access, for instance, has had things wrong with it for 10 years that M$ KNOWS is wrong with it, yet they never fix it.  I believe this is because they can't without screwing up 10 other things based upon all the old DOS "ghost code" living in the basement of all their products.  M$ products look pretty at the GUI level, but they are held together with spit and chewing gum under the surface.

When considering improving their products M$ uses one guide, "if we make this better, will we sell a lot more of it?"  If the answer is NO, they don't make it better, even though they know it is broken.

Take this site (EE) for instance.  Great site, hugely useful.  One of their BIG problems for the MODS is clearing out all the old abandoned questions.  Why do they get abandoned?  Because the asker never gets what they feel is the right answer so they just bail on it.  They could go to the customer service area, post a message to a mod to have them delete the question, blah, blah, but that's a hassle.

What they need is a simple ABANDON button on each question's page.  You type in a reason and click ABANDON and it notifies the Mod and they go through the process.  Very easy solution to a BIG problem that would take a good programmer maybe and hour to code.  I know for a fact this has been suggested many times by some of the top experts, yet nothing happens.

Oh well, makes sense to someone but not to me :)
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David LeeCommented:
All good points.  I especially agree with the comments about M$.
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