Developing Datagrabber Scripts with PSPad

One of my colleagues in the US Sales Engineering organization at Captaris built out a great set of templates for using UltraEdit to build out DataGrabber scripts. The problem with it is that I can’t really use it in my classes since I can’t really use UltraEdit without having paid for it for all 12 training laptops. So I wanted to find another similar editor I could use for my classes. I had a few basic requirements:

  • Light & quick.
  • Use of clips or templates that were easy to customize.
  • The ability to plug in a compiler and to view the output without have to change the viewing context.
  • Built-in Hex view for determining line and record delimiters
  • Free or minimal cost.

After trying Notepad2, Notepad++, Programmers Editor, Context, and many others, I found PSPad to offer all that I needed. And figuring out how to make a clip file that could be used to create DataGrabber scripts easily took less than a single morning. So now you just create a new definition file, and press <ctrl><space> to add all of the common elements of a datagrabber script. Now I can create a script in less than 10 minutes. Pressing <ctrl><F9> to compile shows the log file at the bottom of the window. Now I can quickly tweak and re-compile until I get it just right.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, Datagrabber is a component of Alchemy, our archival and records management tool that has been available for more than 10 years. Many of our customers use Alchemy to store customer records in a searchable format, such as invoices and statements. So if they have a mainframe batch that runs every night that produces a single text file with 1000’s of customer statements, the problem is trying to store each as a separate record in the archive. Datagrabber parses the text file into a series of records. It also identifies customer numbers, invoice numbers, names, etc based on a definition file. This definition file is what I am using PSPad to create.

You can find my DataGrabber config for PSPad here along with instructions on how to install it.

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