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Re: Best X-delimited format?

by Abigail-II (Bishop)
on Sep 18, 2002 at 16:59 UTC ( [id://198912]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Best X-delimited format?

I doubt everyone will agree what the "optimal" delimited format is. A few points:
  • For a program, it doesn't matter what the delimiter is - an "a" is as easy as a tab or a comma.
  • For humans, it matters.
  • I give much kudos to things that are debuggable with vi and telnet.
  • Tabs lose points, because they are not always easy to distinguish from spaces. Furthermore, it's not uncommon to configure editor to expand tabs to spaces.
  • Printable punctuation characters are better than letters, digits or control characters.
  • The delimiter should be choosen in such a way it's not a common character in the data, to avoid use of a backslash. Don't use a dot as a delimiter when delimiting decimal numbers.
  • I've preferences for colons (because important files in /etc do so, semi-colons, dots, hyphens (all three because it's natural) and "horizontal whitespace", that is, any sequence of one or more spaces or tabs. Then you can make columns.


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