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JSaPar is a Java library providing a schema based parser and composer of almost all sorts of delimited (CSV) and fixed width files.

Java Schema Parser

The javadoc contains more comprehensive documentation regarding the classes mentioned below.

The JSaPar is a java library that provides a parser for flat and CSV (Comma Separated Values) files. The concept is that a schema denotes the way text data should be parsed or composed. The schema instance to be used can be built by specifying a xml-document or it can be constructed programmatically by using java code. The parser is event driven, meaning that you need to provide an event handler while parsing. For convenience there are some event handlers provided or you may implement your own. For instance, the org.jsapar.parse.DocumentBuilderLineEventHandler builds a a org.jsapar.model.Document object that contains a list of org.jsapar.model.Line objects which contains a list of org.jsapar.model.Cell objects.

Supported file formats:


The JSaPar library uses Maven as build tool and the binaries are published to the maven central repository. If you also use maven, all you need to do is to add dependency JSaPar into your project pom-file:


On the maven central page for each version you will find instructions of how to add dependency in all the most common build tools and if you want to download the binaries and install them locally in your project classpath you also find download links there.

Simple example of parsing CSV file

You can find a version of this example in the jsapar-examples project

Let us say that we have a CSV (or rather a semi colon separated) file that we need to parse. In this example the file contains lines that all have the same type. They each contain four cells (columns). Here is an example of the content of such a file.


The first column contains the first name. The second column contains a middle name (that we are not interested in parsing). The fourth column contains a boolean value that can have one of the values “yes” or “no” where yes is considered as boolean true.

In order to parse this type of files you first need to define a schema of the file. The easiest way to do this is to use the xml format. Here is a simple example of a schema file that can be used to parse the file above:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<schema xmlns="">
  <csvschema lineseparator="\n">
    <line occurs="*" linetype="Person" cellseparator=";" quotechar="&quot;">
      <cell name="First name" />
      <cell name="Middle name" ignoreread="true"/>
      <cell name="Last name" />
      <cell name="Has dog"><format type="boolean" pattern="yes;no"/></cell>

The page Basics of Schemas describes schemas in more details.

The code that you need to write in order to use the JSaPar library to parse files of this type is this:

try (Reader schemaReader = new FileReader("examples/01_CsvSchema.xml");
    Reader fileReader = new FileReader("examples/01_Names.csv")) {
    Schema schema = Schema.ofXml(schemaReader);
    TextParser parser = new TextParser(schema);
    Document document = new Document();
    DocumentBuilderLineEventListener listener = new DocumentBuilderLineEventListener(document);
    parser.parse(fileReader, listener);
    Line firstLine = document.iterator().next();
    assert "Erik".equals( LineUtils.getStringCellValue(firstLine, "First name")) );

In this example we

  1. Load the Schema from a file by using a FileReader for the schema file.
  2. Then we use that schema to create a TextParser.
  3. We then create a DocumentBuilderLineEventListener that is a pre defined event listener that collects all the events for each line and then fills a Document object with lines that can be fetched when done parsing.
  4. The resulting document instance contains a list of Line objects where each Line represent a line in the input file. Now, depending on what we want to do with the parsed result, we may for example use the LineUtils class that contains a number of convenient methods to get cell values of different types from a Line.

That is all you need to parse a CSV file. As you can see with this example the library works with so the data source is not actually limited to just files, it can be of any text data source.

The example above is a small simple example. For larger data sources you probably want to implement a different event listener that handles each line immediately as it is parsed. That way you will never load the whole content of the data source in the memory.

If you rather work with your own Java bean class directly instead of getting Line objects, you probably want to look at the Text2BeanConverter class which delivers Java beans directly instead of Line objects. More about that in the basics article.

Simple example of composing a CSV file

The code to use the JSaPar library to compose a file, using the same schema as when parsing above, could look like this:

try (Reader schemaReader = new FileReader("examples/01_CsvSchema.xml");
     Writer writer = new FileWriter("out.csv")) {
    Schema schema = Schema.ofXml(schemaReader);
    TextComposer composer = new TextComposer(schema, writer);
    Line line1 = new Line("Person")
            .addCell(new StringCell("First name", "Erik"))
            .addCell(new StringCell("Middle name", "Vidfare"));
    LineUtils.setStringCellValue(line1, "Last name", "Svensson");

    composer.composeLine(new Line("Person")
            .addCell(new StringCell("First name", "Fredrik"))
            .addCell(new StringCell("Last name", "Larsson"))
            .addCell(new BooleanCell("Has dog", false)));

In this example we

  1. Load the Schema from a file by using a FileReader for the schema file.
  2. Then we use that schema to create a TextComposer.
  3. Then we feed the composer with newly created Line objects. As you can see, the cell values can be set in some different ways. The Java doc provides more details about your different options. You may for instance feed lines to the composer by using a java Stream<Line> or an Iterator<Line>.

The advantage of this schema approach is that if you parse or compose a large number of similar files you can adapt the schema file if the file format changes instead of making changes within your code.

Simple example of parsing and composing fixed width file

As long as only the file format differs, only the schema needs to change. That is the whole idea of working with schemas. This means that if you want to parse or compose fixed with file you can use exactly the same code as with the CSV example above. The only thing that needs to be changed is the schema.

If you have a fixed with file that looks like this:

Erik    Vidfare   Svensson Y
Fredrik Allvarlig Larsson  N
Alfred  Stark     Nilsson  Y

…you can use a schema like this to parse (or compose) it:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<schema xmlns="">
<fixedwidthschema lineseparator="\n">
    <line linetype="Person" occurs="*" >
      <cell name="First name" length="8"/>
      <cell name="Middle name" length="10" ignoreread="true"/>
      <cell name="Last name" length="9"/>
      <cell name="Has dog" length="1"><format type="boolean" pattern="Y;N"/></cell>

The noticeable difference from working with CSV files above is that you need to specify a length for the cell. The length describes how many character each cell/column has.

Here you can see the advantage of keeping the format of the file separated from your Java code. If the file format changes you do not need to alter your code.

Further Examples

See the jsapar-examples project for further examples or just continue to read about the basics of JSaPar.

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