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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Unanswered: Best way to load data from text files

    I have problem I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers with.

    I need to load data from several text files into one table. The format of the files are simple - each line is comma separated, with double quotes around each element e.g.

    "parameter 1","value 1","parameter 2","value 2"....
    "parameter 12","value 12","parameter 13","value 13"...

    However, the files themselves will have different numbers of columns e.g file 1 may have 8 columns, file 2 may have 16 columns.

    I'm going to load the data into a table that has at least as many columns as the longest file. The table columns are all varchar, and are named simply as [Col001] [Col002] [Col003] etc...

    The first two columns of this table must be left empty during the load (I use these later on), so the data entry will start at [Col003].

    My question is what is the best way to do this? I thought perhaps using a BULK INSERT in a stored procedure might do the trick, but I haven't used it before and haven't got very far. I gather another approach might be to use bcp utility. Someone has also suggested a DTS package, but the filenames will be suffixed with current date/time stamp, so i don't think that will work.

    My preferred appraoch would be the BULK INSERT..but i'm open to any pointers.

    Many Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    California, USA
    You could use BCP or BULK INSERT but you would need to know, a priori, how many columns were in the current input file and then use a different format file that matched.
    Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God holds others in contempt. - Robert Green Ingersoll, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    In a large office with bad lighting
    I would bring them into a staging table as the first step. Then I would have a control proc count the number of commas in a row and then call a proc set up to handle that number of columns. The called proc would then put the columns into the table designed to hold the largest number of columns.

    That way, if someone comes along later and adds another file with n more columns, you merely create another proc to handle n more columns, alter your table to hold n more columns, and modify your control proc to count up to n more columns and call the appropriate sproc.

    -- This is all just a Figment of my Imagination --

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