Skip to main content

Converting XML to FoxPro tables


Many FoxPro developers are familiar with XMLTOCURSOR() which converts an XML file to a FoxPro cursor for review. This function works typically best with a single table in an XML file.

Unfortunately, it requires a fairly well structured XML file. For example, it can parse this XML perfectly:
<?xml version = "1.0" encoding="Windows-1252" standalone="yes"?>
<vines>
    <vine_lot>
        <id>1</id>
        <ripe_grape>4</ripe_grape>
    </vine_lot>
    <vine_lot>
        <id>2</id>
        <ripe_grape>3</ripe_grape>
    </vine_lot>
    <vine_lot>
        <id>3</id>
        <ripe_grape>3</ripe_grape>
    </vine_lot>
</vines>

Yet, it complains when trying to convert:
<?xml version = "1.0" encoding="Windows-1252" standalone="yes"?>
<vines>
     <Lot>
          <id>1</id>
           <ripe-grape>4</ripe-grape>
     </Lot>
     <Lot>
          <id>2</id>
           <ripe-grape>3</ripe-grape>
     </Lot>
     <Lot>
          <id>3</id>
           <ripe-grape>3</ripe-grape>
     </Lot>
</vines>

Now the reason may be obvious to FoxPro developers - (ripe-grape is not a valid field while ripe_grape is) - so clearly you have to be very careful when using XMLTOCURSOR.


This program (Advanced XML Converter) will take nested XML tables and create multiple DBF files with it (as well as other formats) - it also deals with these types of issues.

I tried it out because I'm always interested in handling different XML formats. I could likely transform a nested XML into a single one with an XSL but this seemed a little easier.

For those who are unsure what I mean by a nested table, here is a sample (borrowed from here):

<Vineyard>
      <Lot id="1">
           <ripe-grapes>4</ripe-grapes>
           <Picker>
                 <name>John</name>
                 <metabolism>2</metabolism>
                 <grape-wealth>20</grape-wealth>
           </Picker>
     </Lot>
<Vineyard>

In this scenario, you would see two tables: Lots and Pickers.

Advanced XML Converter saw this and when I saved it as "Vine" it created two DBF files: Vine_Lots and Vine_pickers.

Unfortunately, what it missed was the relationship between Lots and Pickers.

I would have expected to see an foreign key in Pickers that would link it back to Lot. Unfortunately, it missed this relationship. To get it to work properly, I had to do:

<Vineyard>
      <Lot id="1">
           <ripe-grapes>4</ripe-grapes>
           <Picker id="2">
               <lot>1</lot>
                 <name>John</name>
                 <metabolism>2</metabolism>
                 <grape-wealth>20</grape-wealth>
           </Picker>
     </Lot>

Which defeats the purpose of the nested XML.

It's too bad - because it did a great job in other areas. Still, might be worth a look if you're looking to at least see what's up with it.

Here's my list of ERs:
1) properly handle relationships
2) build an XSL that will do the conversion for you automatically

Of course, that's not necessarily its purpose - it's more for data crunchers but without the relationship support for nested XML, it is lacking it.

Do you know of a tool that can do this? (either from a command line or others)


Software can turn raw data into structured text., HiBase Group

Powered by ScribeFire.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FoxInCloud Stats

FoxInCloud sent this link a while back about their statistics regarding visits to their site:

http://foxincloud.com/blog/2017/12/27/VFP-community-lessons-from-foxincloud-site.html



What's interesting here is the breakdown of people. Yes, I think it's understandable that the Fox community is getting older.

Another factor is the growth of the mobile and web environments taking over development. These environments really do push people towards the newer non-SQL or free SQL/hosted environments but more towards hosted storage options like Amazon and Google. A tool like FoxInCloud that helps MOVE existing applications to the cloud inherently competes with those environments.

But FoxInCloud also allows developers to extend their application further by giving them a starting point using Javascript and the basic CSS (such as Bootstrap). If you're not rebuilding your application from scratch, it's certainly a great step forward.

Well, that explains CodePlex...

In a move that will be sure to anger open source (or rather anti-paid software, anti-Microsoft open source)  zealots, Microsoft is planning to buy GitHub.

A year ago, I mused about why Microsoft would shut down CodePlex and how the world needs competing source code repositories to be strong. I'm not the only one per this Slashdot article :
"...people have warned about GitHub becoming as large as it did as problematic because it concentrates too much of the power to make or break the open source world in a single entity, moreso because there were valid questions about GitHubs financial viability...." - Jacques Mattheij

I will be interested in seeing this play out - whether developers jump ship or not. Have all the efforts Microsoft has made in pushing towards open source be seen as genuine or will all the zealots jump ship or maybe even attack?

Microsoft's comment about why they shut down CodePlex referred to how spammers were using CodePlex. Well, GitHub has its own …

The World of Updates Today

I just received an update for Office 365. It certainly includes some cool features - including starting in one environment and picking it up in another environment. In recent years, I've certainly enjoined the use of Continuity on a Mac and in fact, I feel spoiled being able to start a message in one environment (even Google) and then finish it off on another.  This has become some pervasive when we were reviewing our most recent backlog at a client site, a similar feature was added to the current workload.

But with web applications, the trend is to reduce the amount of software on a client machine. I used to have automatic backup for all of my machines (thanks Carbonite!) but these days, many of my machines don't need anything beyond the core OS and some basic applications. Certainly that's the feeling with Chromebooks and even the lightweight aspect of many iOS apps. The functionality is mostly in the cloud.

When you upgrade your system, you expect it to a big update. So…