First Cut at CSV PEP

Dave Cole djc at
Tue Jan 28 23:59:29 CET 2003

>>>>> "Kevin" == Kevin Altis <altis at> writes:

Kevin> The big issue with the MS/Excel CSV format is that MS doesn't
Kevin> appear to escape any characters or support import of escaped
Kevin> characters. A field that contains characters that you might
Kevin> normally escape (including a comma if that is the separator)
Kevin> are instead enclosed in double quotes by default and then any
Kevin> double quotes in the field are doubled.

I thought that we were trying to build a CSV parser which would deal
with different dialects, not just what Excel does.  Am I wrong making
that assumption?

If we were to only target Excel our task would be much easier.

I think that we should be trying to come up with an engine wrapped by
an friendly API which can be made more powerful over time in order to
parse more and more dialects.

Kevin> I found this MySQL article where the dialogs show the emphasis
Kevin> on escape characters.


Kevin> It doesn't seem like you would run into a case where a file
Kevin> would use the MS CSV format and have escaped characters too,
Kevin> but perhaps these exist in the wild.

There are CSV formats which do not use quote characters, they instead
escape the delimiters.

- Dave


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