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  • DBF Viewer

    Is there a viewer available to compare dBase DBF files? I have a DBF file that is associated with an ESRI GIS Shapefile and I want to compare it to my prior version to see the differences. The DataCompare viewer doesn't work properly.

    --Stewart

  • #2
    Hello,

    I'm not familiar with DBF files. Is there a way to export them as plain text or in the .CSV format?

    What error message are you getting when the Data Compare "doesn't work properly"? A full screen screenshot may help.

    Are you using the latest release of BC3 (3.2.4)? You can update any 3.x version to the latest 3.x for free using the Help menu -> Check for Updates, or by visiting the downloads section of our website:
    http://www.scootersoftware.com/download.php
    Aaron P Scooter Software

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    • #3
      DBF files are the format created originally for dBase. The format was also adopted by Clipper (compiled dBase) and FoxPro. Each version (dBase, Clipper and FoxPro) used the same datbase file format but created their own unique index files to go along with them (IDX, CDX, etc.)

      The data compare just showed the actual data in a wrapped format (which is consistent with the data format in the file. The files are fixed width formatted data (there are no delimiters between columns and rows).

      DBF files are not widely used anymore, however ESRI still uses them to store custom attribute data to go along with their GIS shape files in their ArcGIS products.

      Here is a link to more information about the .DBF file format:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBASE#File_formats

      --Stewart

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      • #4
        Hello,

        You can switch from delimiter detection to a fixed width definition by creating a custom file format in the Tools menu -> File Formats, New data compare file format. In the Type tab, select Fixed and you can defined the columns as numeric values.

        Would the index files normally contain the column width information? Does defining a few custom file formats (which can be selected and toggled from the file format dropdown menu) work for you?
        Aaron P Scooter Software

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        • #5
          The file format is actually defined at the beginning of the .DBF file. The index file only contains information about a single index on the file. There would be a separate index file for each index defined on the file. I am not concerned about the index files though, only the .DBF files.

          The problem with the data file format is that the header has a certain format and then the data has a completely different format (different column widths, etc.) based on the information in the header. Here is a link to the format of the file: http://www.dbf2002.com/dbf-file-format.html

          --Stewart

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          • #6
            Our Data Compare does not have a method in place to ignore large header sections. You could create a custom External Conversion that strips out this header information before displaying the files in the Data Compare session type, or you can use the Text Compare session to compare your files and create a grammar rule to ignore the Header section for comparison purposes.

            http://www.scootersoftware.com/suppo..._unimportantv3

            If you have any example files you would like to submit, please feel free to attach them here in the forum or email us at [email protected]. If you do email us, please include a link back to this forum post for reference.

            I'll also create a Customer Wishlist entry for supporting DBF files.
            Aaron P Scooter Software

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            • #7
              Hello Aaron,

              It is nice that you have submitted a customer wishlist for supporting DBF files. I could find a utility from http://www.pfsolutions-mi.com/blog/2...ndCompare.aspx however this utilty compares the Dbf files as XML files in text compare not as CSV files in data compare.

              it will be wonderful if DBf files could be compared as data compare. Is there any update on your submission to the wishlist.

              With Regards

              Sumangalam

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              • #8
                Hello,

                Thanks for the heads up. We haven't found or had a DBFtoCSV conversion program submitted, but I have added your notes and the program you found to the wishlist entry. Depending on how it outputs, we may be able to use it.
                Aaron P Scooter Software

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                • #9
                  Compare DBF files

                  All xBASE programs have a COPY TO command for exporting data in a DBF into another file format.

                  In Visual FoxPro (upgrade to 9 please for stability):

                  COPY TO <filename> TYPE XL5 creates an Excel XLS file, up to 16K

                  COPY TO <filename> TYPE CSV creates a comma delimited file

                  In FoxPro, the table is ordered by when the records were added. If you want a similar order for two tables being compared, then order the records, then use the COPY TO command.

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                  • #10
                    We actually have a potential solution for you in the BC4 beta. If you would be comfortable helping test it, please go here and then open your DBF files in the Table Compare:
                    http://www.scootersoftware.com/beta.php
                    Aaron P Scooter Software

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