CSV : Java Glossary

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CSV
CSV (Comma-Separated Value). A file of ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) fields separated by commas. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and SQL (Standard Query Language) can often import some variant on this format.
apple,"wild cherry",peach
pear,plum,"apricot"
mango,payaya,guava
"orange, Valencia",  lemon, lime
"""extra virgin"" olive", palm, date
Usually fields containing embedded spaces or commas are contained in " marks, but there are other conventions. Quotes (") inside quoted fields are doubled. Europeans often use ; and Perl aficionados use tab to separate fields instead of commas. Sybase SQL import uses ' instead of ".

I wrote CSVReader and CSVWriter which are available with complete Java source. They are full featured and configurable. As well as the read/write classes there are 20 utilities to let you do such thisgs as sort, align, pack, etc. with the library or with the sample utilities. I find these utilities useful for massaging data into tidied form, e.g. by screenscaping, without having to write any Java code.

For simple key=value you might use the built-in Properties mechanism instead. Unfortunately, it has a complex system of encoding awkward characters incompatible with CSV.

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