Comma-separated files are a format frequently used for exporting data from databases and spreadsheets. Python 2.3 adds a parser for comma-separated files.
Comma-separated format is deceptively simple at first glance:
Read a line and call
line.split(','): what could be simpler?
But toss in string data that can contain commas, and things get more
"Costs",150,200,3.95,"Includes taxes, shipping, and sundry items"
A big ugly regular expression can parse this, but using the new csv package is much simpler:
import csv input = open('datafile', 'rb') reader = csv.reader(input) for line in reader: print line
The reader function takes a number of different options. The field separator isn't limited to the comma and can be changed to any character, and so can the quoting and line-ending characters.
Different dialects of comma-separated files can be defined and registered; currently there are two dialects, both used by Microsoft Excel. A separate csv.writer class will generate comma-separated files from a succession of tuples or lists, quoting strings that contain the delimiter.
See About this document... for information on suggesting changes.