Decoding CSV data one row at a time

CSV data is sometimes unreasonably large - I’ve had to deal with CSV files in the multiple gigabytes - and cannot comfortably fit in memory. It’s better to treat these cases as an iterator of sorts, which is kantan.csv’s default mode of operation.

Let’s take the by now familiar cars example from wikipedia, available in this project’s resources:

val rawData: = getClass.getResource("/wikipedia.csv")

This is what this data looks like:
// res0: String = """Year,Make,Model,Description,Price
// 1997,Ford,E350,"ac, abs, moon",3000.00
// 1999,Chevy,"Venture ""Extended Edition""","",4900.00
// 1999,Chevy,"Venture ""Extended Edition, Very Large""",,5000.00
// 1996,Jeep,Grand Cherokee,"MUST SELL!
// air, moon roof, loaded",4799.00"""

Our goal here is to parse this resource row by row. In order to do that, we must be able to decode each row as a case class. This is exactly what we did in a previous tutorial:

import kantan.csv._
import kantan.csv.ops._
import kantan.csv.generic._

case class Car(year: Int, make: String, model: String, desc: Option[String], price: Float)

Now that we have everything we need to decode the CSV data, here’s how to turn it into something that is essentially an iterator with a close method:

val iterator = rawData.asCsvReader[Car](rfc.withHeader)
// iterator: CsvReader[ReadResult[Car]] = kantan.codecs.resource.ResourceIterator$$anon$3@62af6c02

asCsvReader is explained in some depths here, but we’re more interested in what we can do with our CsvReader.

The first, fairly important thing we can do is close it if we don’t intend to read the whole thing. If we do, however, it will happen automatically and needs not be done explicitly.

Other than that, it looks a lot like any other standard collection. And being an iterator, it’s lazy: you can apply multiple filter and map operations, and nothing will happen until each row is explicitly requested. For example:

val filtered = iterator.filter(_.exists(_.year >= 1997)).map(
// filtered: kantan.codecs.resource.ResourceIterator[Either[ReadError, String]] = kantan.codecs.resource.ResourceIterator$$anon$3@67603a5c

At this point, no data has been parsed yet. We can now, say, take the first element:
// res1: Either[ReadError, String] = Right(value = "Ford")

And this will only read as much as it needs to decode that first row. You could iterate over huge CSV files this way without loading more than one row at a time in memory.

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