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Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0) (Read 7525 times)
Rob Forsyth
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Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Jan 15th, 2010, 6:44pm
 
I have a large but very "well-formed" (no blank cells) spreadsheet I'm trying to convert to a TBX file. Copying/pasting as per the manual works fine - notes with attributes determined by the spreadsheet column names as you would expect - however trying to reopen the closed, saved file fails generating the error "Tinderbox was unable to parse this file. It may be damaged, or you may need a newer version of Tinderbox. The XML parser said: not well-formed (invalid token) (line 708" - the actual line number appears to differ on different occasions

I wondered if it was because of the size of the spreadsheet (4100 rows x 9 cols; the saved TBX file is about 5MB) but the problem persists with a few hundred rows only. Opening the file in TextWranger also generates the message "The UTF-8 file "untitled.tbx" is damaged or incorrectly formed: please proceed with caution" although it appears to open OK. The culprit line always appears to contain a slightly "unusual" character rendered in TextWranger as a black diamond containing a question mark and going back to the original Excel spreadsheet this is always a slightly "unusual" character such as a UK Pound sterling symbol or a "smart quote" curled apostrophe and I wonder if these are tripping things up some how? Is there a workaround?

Thanks as ever
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« Last Edit: Dec 01st, 2010, 11:14am by Mark Anderson »  
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Jean Goodwin
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #1 - Jan 16th, 2010, 6:21am
 
Speaking in the absences of the Marks....

Try "zapping gremlins" in the tinderbox document in TextWrangler--it sounds like it's a problem with what's in the spreadsheet, not with the spreadsheet itself.  Plus you might send the corrupt document to Eastgate support, so they can continue to refine the new text engine in TBX 5.  Good luck!
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #2 - Jan 16th, 2010, 7:36am
 
Jean's right.  The problem is not Tinderbox, but Excel as the laters isn't properly encoding its output.  I had the same problem exporting from Word (see Word OPMl -> TB). I got round the problem by copying my Microsoft data and pasting into TextEdit saving the latter then exporting the latter's file into TB.

It's worth passing a specimen 'bad' file onto TB support in case it helps with import but I suspect if Excel exports the data incorrectly encoded (as happens with Word), it's hard for TB to guess what the incorrectly encoded data should be.  

Try this. Go back to your Excel select all the data (as a single Range/block) that you wish to export and copy it to the clipboard.  Now open TextEdit and make a new document.  The next step is crucial - use menu Format -> Make Plain Text before pasting in the Excel data.  Now save, using the default 'Unicode UFT-8' encoding option. You can use the result in TB.

I used Excel 2008 & TextEdit on OS 10.5.8. See if it works for you. If not, could you post a link to a specimen Excel file with data that exhibits the import problem as originally reported.
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Mark Anderson
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Rob Forsyth
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #3 - Jan 16th, 2010, 10:36am
 
Thanks everyone yes as I thought about I realised that it was more of a character-encoding problem. (I should also have documented that the spreadsheet was sourced from a copy/paste of a web table viewed in IE6 on a PC, generated by a commercial database - plenty of scope for rogue character encodings!). It just struck me as odd that such a character is tolerated during all the intermediate steps including pasting into, displaying in and saving of a TBX document. Your workround has worked, thanks Mark A
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #4 - Jan 16th, 2010, 12:14pm
 
Glad that worked. Actually, it's not that surprising that the Euro character working in some apps an not others. Standards often still leave a fair amount of leeway for interpretation.  It only takes 2 different programmers to make different assumptions about the same 'fact' and all can go wrong - especially as such assumptions are enacted inside the app. Microsoft apps, especially Office ones are likely - through inter-app testing - to acquire the same assumptions as are databases that ware wholly/normally Windows based, and so on. There's really no right/wrong - just apps that won't 'just' swap data as expected!
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« Last Edit: Dec 1st, 2010, 2:59am by Mark Anderson »  

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Mark Anderson
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #5 - Jan 16th, 2010, 12:56pm
 
We're investigating ways to better anticipate these encoding problems.  The "unusual character" you saw in TextWrangler is, in fact, the glyph used to represent "this cannot be a character -- something has gone off the rails!"
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garyturner
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #6 - Nov 30th, 2010, 9:09pm
 
I have a file that  has about two months worth of school notes. Lucky for me, on Sunday I backed it up to my mobile me site. On Monday, I did not back up the changes I made on Monday. On Tuesday(today), I went to open the file and got the following message:
"Tinderbox was unable to parse this file. It may be damaged, or you may need a newer version of Tinderbox". I tried to open it with Twig and got the same message. This has never happen to me before and since I could not open it, I retrieved the file from Sunday on Mobile Me. I had to spend an hour updating the file with changes made on Monday.
I don't know why this happened but it is has definitely put me on the edge. Can someone explain why this can happen? I do not live on the edge with Tinderbox like some of the postings  suggest!!!
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Problem with spreadsheet import (TBX 5.0)
Reply #7 - Dec 1st, 2010, 11:15am
 
Off-Topic replies have been moved to this Topic.
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Mark Anderson
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