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Data Interchange Formats

by William Jackson on 2013-01-03

Today while doing some programming work I had the opportunity to take a closer look at CSV and JSON. My programming experience up to this point has really only included consuming these formats. Today I wrote code to produce these formats.

We have an application where I work that exports data to a MySQL database. A while age, I wrote a very simple web app to make viewing reports from that data easier. Until today, the reports were only available as tables in an HTML page.

After the work I did today, the same reports are now available as CSV (to easily import into spreadsheet apps like Excel and Numbers) and JSON (to easily pass the data to other external applications).

It was enlightening to learn about the quirks of both formats. I had never before considered things like what characters need to be escaped in strings and what character encoding I ought to use.

It seems like whenever I get deep into programming where text input and output is concerned, I always run into problems with character encodings. I complain about this to my programming-minded friends often.

I honestly donʼt know what use the JSON output will be, but I was in the mood so I added it.

I hope to write about my web app in greater detail in the future.