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ASC2XXX - Two classes for parsing delimited text files

, 8 Mar 2003
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Convert delimited text files to XML file or DataSet object
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Turn a delimited text file:

Into a DataSet:

Or an XML file:

Introduction

Two classes that illustrate one way to: read a delimited text file, parse the "fields" of data using regular expressions and move the data it into either an XML file or a DataSet object for direct use. 

.Net framework classes used:

  • System;//For strings and things
  • System.IO;//For reading and writing streams and files
  • System.Xml;//For creating and writing the XML file
  • System.Text.RegularExpressions;//For parsing the text file
  • System.Data;//to generate a DataSet

Concepts illustrated

  • Reading and writing files through stream objects
  • Parsing text using regular expressions
  • Generating a DataSet in memory from code and using it to fill a DataGrid control
  • Generating an XML file from code

Background

The reason I wrote these classes is twofold:

  • I needed to write an application that would parse a web server log file (in W3C common log format) and put that data into a SQL server database. 
  • I needed a class that I could re-use in other applications where it was necessary to move data from a CSV text file into a database.

Using the code

Although very short, the code is commented heavily throughout and contains referenced hyperlinks to the MSDN articles that explain in more detail the .Net class being used at each point in the code where relevant.

This code is set to parse a web server log file, however it can easily be modified to parse any delimited text file and I've indicated in the comments where to do so. I've also included a commented out line of an alternate regular expression that can be used to parse comma delimited text files.

A file samplelog.txt is provided with the demo which contains a test web server log file.  I have mangled the IP Addresses for privacy, however the data is straight out of an Apache server log from our web server.

I've recently started using C# after many years of working in C++ so any constructive criticism would be welcome.

History

  • Original version: Feb.26.2003

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

Member 96

Canada Canada
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
AnswerRe: Why not use a normal data connection? PinmemberJohn Cardinal10-Mar-04 5:14 
GeneralRe: Why not use a normal data connection? PinmemberPaul Menefee10-Mar-04 5:51 
Generaltab delimited files PinmemberjuliusPH19-Jan-04 16:48 
GeneralRe: tab delimited files PinmemberJohn Cardinal19-Jan-04 17:26 
I should really update this article, the original method can be simplified greatly. The method in the article relies on finding the spaces between the fields whereas the easier way is to simply return the words that are separated by the separator characters.
Try this:
\S+
as your expression.
 
In my code I use it like this:
Regex r = new Regex(
@"\S+",
RegexOptions.IgnoreCase
| RegexOptions.Multiline
| RegexOptions.IgnorePatternWhitespace
| RegexOptions.Compiled
);

 
Which you can use with a matchcollection like this:
 
MatchCollection mc=r.Matches(INPUTSTRING);
foreach (Match m in mc)
{
string sTemp=m.Value;//m.Value being the field that matches
}

 

Also, if you don't have it already, Expresso is your friend in these matters:
http://www.codeproject.com/dotnet/expresso.asp?target=expresso[^]
 

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GeneralRe: tab delimited files PinmemberjuliusPH19-Jan-04 19:11 
GeneralRe: tab delimited files PinmemberJohn Cardinal19-Jan-04 21:40 
GeneralRe: tab delimited files PinmemberjuliusPH19-Jan-04 22:32 
GeneralRe: tab delimited files Pinmembersimona441116-Apr-04 9:38 
GeneralRe: tab delimited files PinmemberJohn Cardinal16-Apr-04 12:51 
GeneralRe: tab delimited files Pinsussoktayy27-Aug-04 11:10 

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