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Re: st: binary format type str question


From   David Kantor <kantor.d@att.net>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: binary format type str question
Date   Mon, 12 Mar 2007 22:11:03 -0400

At 08:35 PM 3/12/2007, Mark Fisher wrote:
Hi. I'm writing a Mathematica program to read stata "dta" files. I have the "Stata help for dta" page, which is quite useful. Everything seems to work fine as long as the data types are in the range 251 to 255 (byte, int, long, float, or double). But I can't figure out how to properly read the data when the data types are in the range 1 to 244 (str1, str2, ... str244). BTW, I have no trouble reading the "char" strings for the data_label and the time_stamp; I just read them in as a list of bytes, discard the bytes starting with the first zero, and convert the remaining bytes to ascii. But the str types don't seem be the same sort of beast. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.

--Mark.
I'm not looking at the documentation for this, and I've never done any work like that, but I do recall reading that the string types are stored such that...
they have a 0-byte terminator if they are shorter than the maximal length of the type;
they have no terminator otherwise -- if they fill up the maximal length.

Thus, you need the type's nominal (maximal) length as a factor in reading the values.

For example, if the type is str20, then the values have a 0-byte terminator if they are shorter than 20, and no terminator if they are 20 characters long.

I hope this is correct and that it helps. Good luck.
--David

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