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Solving data entry with Python… July 8, 2007

Posted by Phill in Scripting.

Do you ever have the scenario where you get some data you need to input into a database, except that it’s in a format not really conducive to data entry… HTML, for example. The other day I got sent a bunch of credit card information (test data, I might add) which needed to be input into a table. The only problem was, it was in an email (HTML).

The problem was, it wasn’t a huge amount of data (40 or 50 records) — long enough to not want to enter in each one by hand, but not long enough to spend too much time on.

What I did in the end was copy and paste the data into Excel, export it as a CSV file, and then use Python‘s built-in CSV-parsing features to create a bunch of SQL statements to insert the data (unfortunately I couldn’t just load it up using the raw CSV data as it needed a bit of pre-processing).

It did get me thinking… what would have been the best way from getting that data across from the email to the database? That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way — answers on a postcard! (or, you could just leave a comment). What is the best way of dealing with data in unusual formats?

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