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TextBase library to manipulate DBText style data files.

Project description

textbase - A Python library to manipulate Inmagic/DBText style data files

What are textbase files?

A simple format separating data records with a single character delimiter, (all files we use have a $ character on a line. For each record the fieldname is the first word on the line, usually in upper case. Any text following the fieldname is that value for the field. Repeating values in a list for the fieldname can be specified on consecutive lines using a semicolon. If the text value for a field is very long and needs to wrap, start the line with one (or more) spaces.

Why did you re-invent the wheel?

We already have CSV files, or JSON files, or YAML, why did you make this? Well, I didn’t invent this. It is actually a format used by a suite of software from InMagic:

We used the dbText software to create a boatload of data files since the early eighties, which is a LONG time ago in Internet-land. Those exact same data files are still used to drive a lot of software, and has proven to be remarkably useful over the years. Think of it as Markdown vs HTML, or as a simpler dataformat with über-simple Key:Value records that are human readable.

Example File:

FOO A Foo field
BAR A Baz field with mulitple entries
; Another
; and yet even more
FOO This is the FOO field for the next record
BAR Nothing

The main utitlity class is TextBase. It can be initialised with an open file, or a string buffer, named sourcefile. Sourcefile is iterated over, splitting the contents into chunks. Each chunk is parsed and added to an internal buffer list. The internal buffer contains a dict for each record. Each entry in the dict is keyed on the DBText record fieldname, the entry itself is a list of the values.

The TextBase object can be used as a generator to iterate over the contents, or the Textbase object can be index-addressed like a list.

Example Usage:

import textbase
t = textbase.TextBase(somebuf)

print len(t)

for x in t[10:20]:
    print x.keys()

print t[0]

If you do not want the records parsed into Python dictionaries and just want to muck about with the records as text blobs, initialise like this:

t = textbase.TextBase(somebuf, parse=False)

Author: Etienne Posthumus Mail:

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