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CSV Output From Documentum

Posted on 2009-04-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
We are working with a vendor to spec out a Documentum-based solution.
Among the needs are a data file that reports on the state of active workflows daily.
Apparently this is standard functionality for Documentum.  Problem is, one particular
field may contain multiple delimited values, in particular file names.  According to
the vendor, Documentum delimits multiple items with commas.  That's fine.  The
vendor says, however, that if we use the CSV file extension, the editor, Excel or
whatever, will interpret the item-delimiting commas as column delimiters, so
they have advised us to use a TXT extension and delimit columns with tabs.
Well that's fine too, but it seems odd.  The official CSV specification says that
values that contain commas should be contained in quotes, and quotes should
be doubled.  Is Documentum CSV-unaware, or is our vendor not understanding
Documentum properly?

Mike
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Question by:shacho
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by:omoralesm
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Hi Shacho,

Your vendor's recommendation is right, let me show you why with the following example, among the different attributes of a running workflow's activity are the creation date and the list of performers that had to repeat the activity, the list of performers could be one or more different persons depending on the way it was defined on the previous activities. Lets say that you want a report on the execution of the activity Approve in your running  workflows, it will look like this:

Creation Date                    List of Performers that had to repeat this activity
01/01/2009                       John                                  
01/01/2009                       Susan, Joe
01/02/2009                       Susan, Joe, Helen

If you use the CSV format to store this information you'll have something like this:

Creation Date,List of Performers that had to repeat this activity
01/01/2009,John                                  
01/01/2009,Susan, Joe
01/02/2009,Susan, Joe, Helen

If you import this information each value will appear in a different column, so in the last row Joe and Helen will not appear as part of the List of Performers that had to repeat this activity.


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by:shacho
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Have you tested it?
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by:omoralesm
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Yes, for sure, and it does not have nothing to do with Documentum, it is the way the values are separated. Lets say that instead of separating them with commas you do it with tabs, your file will look like this:

Creation Date    List of Performers that had to repeat this activity
01/01/2009       John                                  
01/01/2009       Susan, Joe
01/02/2009       Susan, Joe, Helen

If you save it in a text file with the TXT extension you can import that information into Excel and tell it to separate data using tabs instead of commas. However, if you are trying to get more sophisticated reports I would recommend you to use a report specific tool like Crystal reports to connect to the repositories database and generate your reports, they will look better and it will be easy to share them; or even better, use Documentum Reporting Services with Crystal Reports to get your reports done.
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shacho earned 0 total points
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I finally got through to the vendor and got a chance to set up a CSV output file from Documentum to test.  As I suspected, Documentum is perfectly capable of generating data files that are compliant with the CSV specification, if you specify CSV with comma delimiters.  It puts all fields in quotes and escapes quotes with quotes.  There is no need to use Excel's text parsing functions.  So the vendor was wrong.  Thanks anyway for your comments.

Mike



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by:omoralesm
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You are welcome
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