Q/A: Why do samples have a column with ‘End’ filled in?

Q:  Why do your samples in OAK!Merge sample folder all have a column with ‘End’ filled in?

A:  Is has become a “best practice” to fill in a dummy field as the last field of a CSV file with data. Just ignore it when mapping your import source data.    It is not required, just a good practice.

This is due to errors with importing records with different numbers of fields.   Ensuring a value is always in the last column helped avoid this problem.  Also, if you see the “end” field in your data after an import, it helps trouble shoot the import file.  It may have extra or be missing field delimiters like double quotes. 

We recommend you add a dummy field to the end of each import file structure or ensure the last data field has data for all records as a best practice.

The reasoning is…

Older versions of Excel would not output extra comas on rows with no data in the last few fields, so each row would have different number of fields. (No trailing commas for blank fields)

As an example of a CSV file viewed in notepad that looked fine in Excel:

Joe,124 Main,,

Above is good

Below was bad (data from excel saved as a CSV)

Joe,124 Main,

So to force excel to add the blank fields, you add a column at the end and then ignore it when doing your mapping

Joe,124 Main,,,end