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Going elsewhere with your data

csvjson: going online

Very frequently one of the last steps in any data analysis is to get the data onto the web for display as a table, map or chart. CSV is rarely the ideal format for this. More often than not what you want is JSON and that's where :doc:`/scripts/csvjson` comes in. :doc:`/scripts/csvjson` takes an input CSV and outputs neatly formatted JSON. For the sake of illustration, let's use :doc:`/scripts/csvcut` and :doc:`/scripts/csvgrep` to convert just a small slice of our data:

csvcut -c county,item_name data.csv | csvgrep -c county -m "GREELEY" | csvjson --indent 4
[
    {
        "county": "GREELEY",
        "item_name": "RIFLE,7.62 MILLIMETER"
    },
    {
        "county": "GREELEY",
        "item_name": "RIFLE,7.62 MILLIMETER"
    },
    {
        "county": "GREELEY",
        "item_name": "RIFLE,7.62 MILLIMETER"
    }
]

A common usage of turning a CSV into a JSON file is for usage as a lookup table in the browser. This can be illustrated with the ACS data we looked at earlier, which contains a unique fips code for each county:

csvjson --indent 4 --key fips acs2012_5yr_population.csv | head
{
    "31001": {
        "fips": "31001",
        "name": "Adams County, NE",
        "total_population": "31299",
        "margin_of_error": "0"
    },
    "31003": {
        "fips": "31003",
        "name": "Antelope County, NE",
        "...": "..."
    }
}

For making maps, :doc:`/scripts/csvjson` can also output GeoJSON, see its :doc:`/scripts/csvjson` for more details.

csvpy: going into code

For the programmers out there, the command line is rarely as functional as just writing a little bit of code. :doc:`/scripts/csvpy` exists just to make a programmer's life easier. Invoking it simply launches a Python interactive terminal, with the data preloaded into a CSV reader:

csvpy data.csv
Welcome! "data.csv" has been loaded in a reader object named "reader".
>>> print(len(list(reader)))
1037
>>> quit()

In addition to being a time-saver, because this uses agate, the reader is Unicode aware.

csvformat: for legacy systems

It is a foundational principle of csvkit that it always outputs cleanly formatted CSV data. None of the normal csvkit tools can be forced to produce pipe or tab-delimited output, despite these being common formats. This principle is what allows the csvkit tools to chain together so easily and hopefully also reduces the amount of crummy, non-standard CSV files in the world. However, sometimes a legacy system just has to have a pipe-delimited file and it would be crazy to make you use another tool to create it. That's why we've got :doc:`/scripts/csvformat`.

Pipe-delimited:

csvformat -D \| data.csv

Tab-delimited:

csvformat -T data.csv

Quote every cell:

csvformat -U 1 data.csv

Ampersand-delimited, dollar-signs for quotes, quote all strings, and asterisk for line endings:

csvformat -D \& -Q \$ -U 2 -M \* data.csv

You get the picture.

Summing up

Thus concludes the csvkit tutorial. At this point, I hope, you have a sense a breadth of possibilities these tools open up with a relatively small number of command-line tools. Of course, this tutorial has only scratched the surface of the available options, so remember to check the :doc:`/cli` documentation for each tool as well.

So armed, go forth and expand the empire of the king of tabular file formats.

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