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Flatfile fixer and dumper


Summary:

Some things in development are not sexy, in fact they are downright boring, but you have to just pound out the code and get the job done before you can move on to the real cool, shiny and new stuff.

Consider the lowly mainframe text file dump. A big old block of characters that one corporation sticks on an FTP site and another one has to pickup and deal with.

It is true that one beautiful day in the future such files will be all XML and BIZTALK will have put that robber baron EDI out of business but till then, and unfortunately it *is* a ways off, corporate developers still have do deal with those cobol-born chunks of ASCII.

The first time you figured out a badly documented file format and finished the hard-coded parsing routine you have to admit that you felt darned proud of yourself. But the day that the format changed the thrill waned, and a few new files later the whole process was nothing but a boring chore.



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