Help parsing a text file

Philip Semanchuk philip at
Mon Aug 29 14:31:13 EDT 2011

On Aug 29, 2011, at 2:21 PM, William Gill wrote:

> I haven't done much with Python for a couple years, bouncing around between other languages and scripts as needs suggest, so I have some minor difficulty keeping Python functionality Python functionality in my head, but I can overcome that as the cobwebs clear.  Though I do seem to keep tripping over the same Py2 -> Py3 syntax changes (old habits die hard).
> I have a text file with XML like records that I need to parse.  By XML like I mean records have proper opening and closing tags. but fields don't have closing tags (they rely on line ends).  Not all fields appear in all records, but they do adhere to a defined sequence.
> My initial passes into Python have been very unfocused (a scatter gun of too many possible directions, yielding very messy results), so I'm asking for some suggestions, or algorithms (possibly even examples)that may help me focus.
> I'm not asking anyone to write my code, just to nudge me toward a more disciplined approach to a common task, and I promise to put in the effort to understand the underlying fundamentals.

If the syntax really is close to XML, would it be all that difficult to convert it to proper XML? Then you have nice libraries like ElementTree to use for parsing.


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