Sample Work

CSV Text File Analyser


Simple text files are extensively used to exchange data between programs and databases.  In the case of a database, values from each row of a table are separated by a delimiter such as a comma.  Hence the name Comma Separated Values (CSV).  Other common delimiters are semicolon, tab, space and slash.  Clearly it is important to select a delimiter that does not appear in the data itself, so that the data columns can be correctly distinguished.

For example, a database table like this:

JoeBloggsSE17 2UR
JohnSmithEC3 7YB

is converted to the following CSV text file:

Joe,Bloggs,SE17 2UR
John,Smith,EC3 7YB

Microsoft Excel is one tool for reading, writing, sorting, filtering and manipulating CSV files.

A time-dependant database can be set to produce CSV text files at specified intervals.

Here are a few examples of time-dependant data:

Details of daily sales records
Daily change in share prices
Weekly purchase records
Road traffic flow rates
Comet-Sun distance
Reproduction rate in a given population

File Names

Time-dependant data file names are often set to contain the date/time on which they were produced.  In order for the files to be identified and sorted correctly, the international date format yyyymmdd is normally appended to a base-name.

For example, a file containing south-west sales data for 5th July 2003 may be named "SWSales20020705.csv".

Sample Work

In this example, an application was created for MS Excel 2002 to read two CSV text files from a set of time-dependant values with each file containing over 6000 records.  Each record from the new file is compared with all records from the previous file to highlight duplicate values in an automated process.

After marking duplicates, The data is filtered according to a user-defined complex criteria involving any number of fields.  For example, the user can specify: "show me all customers in London who's surnames begins with M and monthly purchase has been between £10 and £100 and who made a purchase in the first half of the month".  The user can define 4 filter sets and apply any filter by a mouse click.

After filtering, the tabular data can be viewed on a custom view form to allow manual marking of records.  The same form can show the previous selection history of each record.  For example, has this customer been sent an email before.

The program can send an automatic email for each selected or marked record.  Each email can have a user-defined attachment.  It can also keep track of the records and the time emails were sent.  The program can also send reminder emails after a certain number of days, as defined by the user.

Click on this thumbnail image to see some of the 150 user-definable program variables.

Click on this thumbnail image to see a
CSV data-view form sample.



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Copyright © 2001 Dr. M. A. Meshkot
This page was last updated February 2006