We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Data Import from a CSV file

619 Views
Last Modified: 2014-08-07
I have been supplied with a text file with comma separated values which require update to a database.

When read in programmatically the string has an ASCII Null between every character
eg.   D A V 0 0 1 , J u l i e , D a v i e s - J o n e s ,

In notepad the file displays correctly as DAV001,Julie,Davies-Jones

The supplier of the file is downloading the file from a web site of an international company so I am unable to contact the originator.

Since Notepad is automatically stripping out the nulls is there a Windows API function I can utilise to replicate the Notepad functionality
Comment
Watch Question

Software Developer
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Commented:
This problem has been solved!
(Unlock this solution with a 7-day Free Trial)
UNLOCK SOLUTION

Commented:
What i normally do if i have converting issues is trying to open the CSV in Excel because it holds it's original information and then copy and paste it into NotePad. Normally this does do the trick. The only other option is to ask for a correctly configured file..

Author

Commented:
Interesting.

 I have done hundred of imports using Fox Pro over the last 10 years and I have never seen this issue before.
Olaf DoschkeSoftware Developer
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
Well,

more typical for internet services is UTF-8 encoding, which encodes the most commonly used 128 characters (eg letters, digits) in the same way as ASCII and many ANSI codepages. That's why you might never have stumbled upon this, even if you already precessed UTF-8 data only using these 128 characters.

Unicode (specifcally ISO 10646) is capable to encode more characters, it defines 17 planes with each potentially 65535 characters. Unicode Version 7 is "just" using 113.021 of theses potential codes.

MS mostly uses UTF-16 for Unicode, which is using 16bits or two bytes for most characters, no characters are encoded with a single byte, also the simple ones of ASCII or of ANSI codepages, so you surely stumble upon this encoding problem the first time you get UTF-16 data.

Character/Text/Data encoding (in the sense of codepages, not in the sense of cryptographic encoding) is a topic you should be aware of at least, even if you stumble upon this for the first time. Unicode is one of the weaknesses of VFP you can only partly cope with. You can easily store unicode in binary fields, but the native VFP controls will not display unicode and you have all kind of symptoms with it. Some operations will irreversably change unknown chars with '?' and so you always better keep original files for postprocessing into something VFP can work with, once such conversion losses in data are recognized.

Bye, Olaf.

Author

Commented:
The file in question had one other thing that I have not seen.

The first two characters were ASCII 255 and ASCII 254.

Is this a signal that it is Unicode?

Also Excel does not recognize the file as a CSV file in the conventional way by creating columns for each comma separated variable, all values for each line appeared in column A separated by commas
Olaf DoschkeSoftware Developer
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
>The first two characters were ASCII 255 and ASCII 254.
This is the BOM I mentioned earlier. Look that up in Wikipedia and you get it explained.

>Is this a signal that it is Unicode?
Yes and no. It's just a few applications setting and expecting a BOM at the begin of a file. In other cases files may simply be Unicode without any hint in itself. Today XML is more common and has standard tags and attributes defining the encoding.

You may use the first two bytes as indicator, but not as proof.

Bye, Olaf.
aikimarkSocial distance; Wear a mask; Don't touch your face; Wash your hands for 20 seconds
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
That might be the BOM (byte order marker)

Gain unlimited access to on-demand training courses with an Experts Exchange subscription.

Get Access
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Empower Your Career
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE

Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions