What is a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file?
A CSV (Comma Separated Values) file contains various values that are separated by a separator that acts as a database table or intermediate form of a database table. In other words, a CSV file is a group of database rows and columns stored in a text file with the rows separated by a new line while the columns are separated by a semicolon or comma. A CSV file is mainly used to transport data between two databases of different formats via a computer program.
The following sequence shows a typical CSV file: Germany, Cologne, 755373, 5 people
Note that each line of text corresponds to a line in the database table. The different columns are shown with commas. In general, the following applies: The leading and trailing spaces are usually ignored when converting from CSV to a typical database. Double quotes are used to delimit embedded commas. A field that contains double quotation marks is surrounded by double quotation marks, and the embedded double quotation marks in the field are also surrounded by an additional quotation mark.
A field with embedded line breaks is also enclosed in quotation marks. The fields in the top row indicate the column names of the target table to which the CSV file will be converted. The advantage of the CSV file format for data exchange is that the CSV file is relatively easy to process by any application and the data extraction can be performed with the help of a simple program.
In the earlier years, when database technology was still in its infancy, the CSV format was the most portable standard format. In most cases you would only use a CSV file for a relatively simple application - XML would be used for a more complex transfer.