Sunday, 5 December 2010

Working with disk resident files .Net

I dont often find myself working a lot with flat or delimited files. I either interact with .config files or just with very, very simple text files. However, recently I have found myself dealing with some rather complex delimited files.

When I started working on these files I thought to myself that I would need to develop some code that would do everything I wanted in one fell swoop. However, there are a number of viable alternatives out there that will help you a out a great deal.

Over the last week, tab delimited files were my main adversary and after some pointless efforts on my part to create a robust and useful file handling API, I came across FileHelpers. For now, I am just interested in the ability FileHelpers has when it comes to parsing de-limited files, this whole API is now embedded in the code I am writing though. It struck me that there is a lot on offer from this open source utility that I couldn't ignore.

Take a look at the examples on show in the documentation, there is so much there to make use of it seemed natural to include the API in my work. One of the very cool features I will be looking into during the new year is ability to diff de-limited files. I know there are a lot of tools and patterns out there I could use, but why should I go and make something of my own when this is now on my doorstep?

I urge anyone working in .Net who has to deal with complex de-limited files to take a look at this library, you will not be wasting your time.