Plain Text is everywhere and it isn’t always present in exactly the format you would like it to be in. Take for example an address line like this one; “Pottsville, PA 17901”, that is in a single field (or xml element). The data needs to be separated into city, state, and zip code fields. Luckily there is a pattern to the address data, although the city name may vary in length and might include spaces such as in “New York”, there is always a comma and space before a two letter state abbreviation, another space and then a five digit zip code.
Now, I could write a little parsing program or perhaps use several string manipulation functions in my translator to get what I want, but I know a little something about Regular Expressions (regex). Continue reading →
In this age of the Internet, where information is exchanged between systems regularly, it is all too easy to forget that computer systems can store their “plain-text” data in a lot of different ways. If you thought that UNIX Files versus Windows Files were annoying with their Line Feed versus Carriage Return+Line Feed differences, can you imagine the trouble we would have if ASCII didn’t exist?
ASCII, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, has become a subset of many other character sets in common usage today, so you can exchange a lot of documents without too much hassle, but what do you do if you get something else?