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Converting a CSV to SQL using 1 line in bash


 - The command line is very powerful and can do amazing stuff in one single line by pipelining a series of commands. This post is inspired after creating a line that mixed sed and awk, but with just only awk I'll show you an example on how to convert a CSV file to an SQL insert

Let's take an input CSV named events-2013-06-06.csv with 16 columns per line. It looks like this:

k51b04876036e2,,3a8d6196,2013-06-06,03:29:42,started,,,,no active campaign,Spain,ca-es,,v1.0,1370482182
k51b04876036e2,,3a8d6196,2013-06-06,03:29:43,first-run,,,,no active campaign,Spain,ca-es,,v1.0,1370482183
k51b04876036e2,,3a8d6196,2013-06-06,03:30:17,close,34,,,no active campaign,Spain,ca-es,34,v1.0,1370482217
k51b0494a76071,,febd870c,2013-06-06,03:33:14,started,,,,no active campaign,Spain,ca-es,,v1.0,1370482394

I took 16 because is more or less a real-life example. I added some empty columns too to make it more real.

And this is the SQL output we want:

INSERT INTO tracking VALUES ('k51b04876036e2',INET_ATON(''),'3a8d6196','2013-06-06','03:29:42','started','','','','no active campaign','Spain','ca-es','','v1.0','1370482182','');
INSERT INTO tracking VALUES ('k51b04876036e2',INET_ATON(''),'3a8d6196','2013-06-06','03:29:43','first-run','','','','no active campaign','Spain','ca-es','','v1.0','1370482183','');
INSERT INTO tracking VALUES ('k51b04876036e2',INET_ATON(''),'3a8d6196','2013-06-06','03:30:17','close','34','','','no active campaign','Spain','ca-es','34','v1.0','1370482217','');
INSERT INTO tracking VALUES ('k51b0494a76071',INET_ATON(''),'febd870c','2013-06-06','03:33:14','started','','','','no active campaign','Spain','ca-es','','v1.0','1370482394','');

The one-liner that produced the output above was:

cat events-2013-06-06.csv | awk -F',' '{ printf "INSERT INTO tracking VALUES (\x27%s\x27,INET_ATON(\x27%s\x27),\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27);",$1,$2,$3,$4,$5,$6,$7,$8,$9,$10,$11,$12,$13,$14,$15,$16;print ""}'

Don't get scared yet... more generically:

cat your_file.csv | awk -F',' '{ printf "INSERT INTO table VALUES (\x27%s\x27,\x27%s\x27);",$1,$2;print ""}'

The big line decomposed:

  • The awk command will scan your buffer/file looking for commas, then splits every line into several fields. The comma was passed as parameter to awk as column separator: This was:
    awk -F','
  • Then awk will assign a numeric variable for every column found, allowing you to write any text using as placeholders these variables. If you want to ignore any of the columns, just don't use them when printing.
    '{ printf "...YOUR TEXT AND PLACEHOLDERS %s HERE...",$1,$2,$3,$4,$5,$6,$7,$8,$9,$10,$11,$12,$13,$14,$15,$16;print ""}'
  • Then there is plenty of this strange \x27. Well, it is pretty messy in the reading but this is just an encoded way of writing single quotes so they are not interpreted as the command itself.

As a final note, do notice that I used printf in the command instead of print. The only difference is that using printf you put the %s placeholder in the text, while if you use print you write the number right away. So, if your CSV has a few fields maybe is more visual for you the print command, like this:

cat yourfile | awk -F',' '{ print "INSERT INTO tracking values(" $1 ")" }'

The only precaution here is that the $1 must be out of the quotes.

Let me know if any of these worked for you! Works like a charm!

And if you want to know more, there is a very cheap reference book for awk and sed:


Comments Converting a CSV to SQL using 1 line in bash

hello !!
one question, If you don't know the number of fields, how can you do it automatically ?
manuel manuel 07/01/2014 at 17:36
At some point you need to know it, at least to construct dynamically the command. If you need to add much more complicated stuff than create a script rather than a one-liner.
Albert Albert 08/01/2014 at 14:40
');rollback; drop table input;-- what sql injection problem', is perfectly valid csv
Jasen Jasen 21/03/2014 at 00:08
sed "s/\\(.*\\)/insert into tablename values('\\1');/;s/,/','/g;"
but see my comment on sql injection above.
Jasen Jasen 21/03/2014 at 00:16

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