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How to export to Fixed Field ASCII format with header and trailer records?

Posted on 2007-11-27
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a vendor who is requesting we export our data in an "ASCII fixed field, fixed length" format with header and trailer records.

I've never dealt with header or trailer records before and am not clear how I'd insert these.

First, how would I export in this format, and what kind of query would I need to insert these "header" and "trailer" records?  By the way, the columns requested in the header and trailer records do not match the number of columns in the "Detail" records.
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Question by:cacklebunny
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Expert Comment

by:deroby
ID: 20358371
The way we did this is by simply creating a results table that holds a sequence number (IDENTITY column) and a large string per record
First create the header(s) somehow and store it as a string in the table
Then, either record by record or in bulk, add the data
Finally add the footer(s)

In the end, simply export the table, make sure to ORDER BY on the identity field.

What you'll need is :
* table to store the result
* stored procedure to clear the table and fill it up again with the new results
* some program to extract the result. (BCP.exe would work, DTS OR SSIS would be great too...)
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Expert Comment

by:Scott Pletcher
ID: 20359502
The best solution would be to get your vendor out of the 1970s style of processing, but obviously that isn't going to happen :-) .

So, I suggest this:

1) Write the header record to a file specifying "overwrite".
2) Write the data rows to the same file using a standard SELECT query specifying "append".
3) Write the trailer record the the same file specifying "append".
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Scott Pletcher earned 250 total points
ID: 20359601
Rats, thought that bcp had an overwrite/append file option, but it does not.  You may have to convert all results to one long string, and bcp that result to a file all at once; a sample query would be:

SELECT 'Header Rec' + ... + '=' + ...
--FROM tableName
UNION ALL
SELECT col1 + RIGHT(REPLICATE('0', 10) + CAST(col2 AS VARCHAR(10)), 10) + col3 + ...
FROM tableName
UNION ALL
SELECT 'Trailer Rec:' + col1 + CAST(SUM(...) AS VARCHAR(20))
FROM tableName
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by:cacklebunny
ID: 20376590
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen.

Scott, I went ahead with your suggestions and that seems to work!  

Thanks so much for your help.
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Expert Comment

by:deroby
ID: 20377062
Keep in mind that this solution might turn the sequence of the lines 'upside-down' ...

You'll need to add some kind of ORDER BY for this to work !
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Expert Comment

by:Scott Pletcher
ID: 20377161
UNION ALL shouldn't change the order of lines w/i each section.  If you need to, add an ORDER BY to the middle query.
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