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A comma separated values (CSV) file contains different values separated by a delimiter, which acts as a database table or an intermediate form of a database table. In other words, a CSV file is a set of database rows and columns stored in a text file such that the rows are separated by a new line while the columns are separated by a semicolon or a comma. A CSV file is primarily used to transport data between two databases of different formats through a computer program.
The following sequence illustrates a typical CSV file:
John Smith, 50, $5000, New York
David Benz, 36, $10000, Miami
Note that each the line of text corresponds to a row in the database table. The various columns are represented with comma. Generally, the following are true:
The advantage of using CSV file format for data exchange is that the CSV file is relatively easy to process by any application and data extraction can be achieved with the help of a simple program. In the earlier years when database technologies were still in their infancy, the CSV was the most standard portable format. For the most part, a CSV file would only be used for a relatively simple application, while XML would be used for a transfer involving more complexity.