1. Computing

Documenting All File Formats

By December 21, 2012

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Over the years I've written many utility programs to do all sorts of little jobs. In fact yesterday I wrote a utility to do a recursive descent through a set of folders, looking for sql files that contained a string. It then found that string and altered it and wrote the file back. It took 45 mins from start to finish to create, test and run it, basing my utility on an existing bit of code to search for matching files.

I've not published it because (a) it was at work and (b) written in Delphi. To do the edits manually, with possible errors would have taken 3-4 hours. There may well have been existing utilities to do this (possibly awk, or sed) but this was on Windows and the learning curve would probably have taken longer than just coding, testing and running the utility.

Those sql files were just simple .txt files but there are a lot of other file formats out there. In November a developer called Jason Scott stated the issue that there is a lot of spread-out information about file formats in the world, almost too many to keep track of and too much information in too spread-out an area for it ever to be assembled. So fileformats.archiveteam.org is a wiki to help document them. Worth a look and contributing to.

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