How to split a field into two fields?

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# 1  
Old 02-20-2008
How to split a field into two fields?


I have a comma delimited text file where character fields (as opposed to numeric and date fields) are always enclosed with double quotes. Records are separated by the newline character. In a shell script I would like to split a particular field into two separate fields (enclosed with double quotes). The field I would like to split always begins with <description> and ends with </description> and is always the 5th field in a record.

e.g. I would like to convert this:

18,"A",2008-02-11,"Y","<description> some long text </description>","N",1

to this:

18,"A",2008-02-11,"Y","<description> some lo","ng text </description>","N",1

I'm not bothered where in the field the split occurs - somewhere in the middle is optimal.

Really grateful for any help on this one.

Thanks, Vicky
# 2  
Old 02-20-2008
try awk:
awk -F, '{
       for(i=1; i<NF; i++) {                                                
           if($i ~ /<description>/) { 
                   printf("%s\",\"%s,", substr($i,1,half),
           else {
                   printf("%s,", $i)
       print $NF }' oldfile > newfile

# 3  
Old 02-20-2008
While I was trying to solve the issue it seems Jim has already solved it.
Even I'm new to scripting and I have tried to solve it.
Hope it helps
awk -F"," '{print $1,",",$2,",",$3,",",$4,",",substr($5,1,length($5)/2),"\",\"",substr($5,(length($5)/2)+1),",",$6,",",$7,",",$8}' file1
But my script gives extra spaces at the delimiters.
# 4  
Old 02-21-2008
Thanks a lot for your help.

I should have said in my initial post that there may be text in between the double quotes which themselves are in double quotes and may contain commas,

e.g. 18,"<description><job_title value="some text, more text" /></description>",2008-02-19,"N"

I think this makes it a lot more complicated?

I'm also having to use nawk (I'm on Solaris) as each record is likely to be more than 3000 characters (max for awk), but I think the syntax is the same/similar to awk.

Any ideas?

Thanks again
# 5  
Old 02-21-2008
Follow up:

Think I have managed to sort out what I want with only a minor modification to user "jim mcnamara" solution:

I used nawk and put </description> as the record delimiter instead of ,

nawk -F "</description>" '{
for(i=1; i<NF; i++) {
if($i ~ /<description>/) {
printf("%s\",\"%s", substr($i,1,half), substr($i,half+1))
else {
printf("%s,", $i)
print $NF }' oldfile > newfile

Thanks so much for your help.

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