INFO: DELIMITED WITH BLANK Behavior Differs in Various FoxPro Versions

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Article ID: 305931 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

The behavior of the COPY TO ... DELIMITED command differs slightly in each version of Microsoft FoxPro and Visual FoxPro (VFP). You should be aware of these differences when moving code between versions.

MORE INFORMATION

The different versions of FoxPro produce slightly different text files using the same command. Depending on the version, leading spaces may be truncated or quotation marks may be added to character fields.

For example, COPY TO filename DELIMITED WITH BLANK in FoxPro 2.6a produces a text file that does not contain quotation marks around the character fields. If a character field contains leading spaces, they remain. Visual FoxPro 3.0, however, trims these leading spaces. Both these behaviors are contrary to the COPY TO documentation, which states in VFP 3.0:
DELIMITED Creates a delimited file. A delimited file is an ASCII text file in which each record ends with a carriage return and linefeed. The default field separator is a comma. Since character data may include commas, character fields are additionally delimited with double quotation marks.
DELIMITED WITH BLANK Creates a delimited file with fields separated by spaces instead of commas.
Visual FoxPro 5.0 and later behave correctly, including leading spaces and delimiting character fields with quotes. DELIMITED WITH " " removes the quotes, but replaces them with extra spaces.

In Visual FoxPro 5.0 and 6.0, attempts to remove the character field delimiter altogether fail in different ways. DELIMITED WITH "" and DELIMITED WITH [] give the following error:
Command contains unrecognized phrase/keyword.
DELIMITED WITH '' treats the first quote as a delimiter and ignores the second one.

However, Visual Foxpro 7.0 has been enhanced so that DELIMITED WITH "" does not give a syntax error. This allows you to create text files that have no quotes around any fields, which is desirable in some cases.

To observe these various behaviors, run the following code in FoxPro 2.6 or later. Feel free to experiment with the other forms of the command listed above.
CREATE TABLE copyTest (cField1 C(30), cField2 C(10))

INSERT INTO copyTest VALUES ("This is a test.", "Part 1")
INSERT INTO copyTest VALUES ("     This is another test.", "Part 2")
INSERT INTO copyTest VALUES ("  This is a third test.", "Part 3")

COPY TO copyTest.txt DELIMITED WITH BLANK

MODIFY FILE copyTest.txt

#IF "7.0"$VERSION()
   COPY TO copyTest.txt DELIMITED WITH ""
   MODIFY FILE copyTest.txt
#ENDIF
				

Properties

Article ID: 305931 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 2.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 3.0b Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 5.0a
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 6.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 7.0 Professional Edition
Keywords: 
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbinfo kbxbase KB305931

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