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Creating a column from header data

Level 2
Creating a column from header data

Hi, I need to load a large number of CSV files from the server filesystem where the second row in each file contains a date field (one CSV = 1 date).  I would like to copy the date to a new column in the data set.  Appreciate any advice on how to do this.  Thankyou

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8 Replies

@SimonM Are the files you are referencing on the DSS Design Node? Are they stored on some other server? Are you trying to load them into a particular DSS project as managed datasets?

Is this a one-time process? Or are you needing this to occur as part of a flow?

I don't have first hand experience, but I'm happy to try to recreate your use locally to figure it out (if I can)



Level 2

Thanks Tim.  Where the files are stored is not really important.  The CSVs are coming in daily but I also have a backlog of them.  Each CSV has a 3 row header.  The middle row contains some text including the date.  I'd like to extract this date and place it in a new column as each CSV is loaded.  I then merge all the CSVs into a single table for analysis.  Initially I loaded the data using files in folder.

I did solve this pretty easily using MS PowerQuery but I can't figure out how to do it in DSS.  I'm trying to use Visual Recipes.

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Hi @SimonM. Can you share a sample of your CSV files? That could be useful to help you.

Do you have something like this?

# First line of header bla bla bla
# Second line 2020-10-02 more info blablabal
# Third header line
column1 column2 column3 ... columnN

Could you confirm? (and if possible attach a small csv example... 🙂 )



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Level 2

I don't have a sample on me at the moment but it is very simple: described below.

Interval Detail For: 01/06/2020,
"Customer Details",
Col1,Col2, Col3
Time, Decimal, Alpha
Time, Decimal, Alpha


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@SimonM, I am honestly not sure how to do this in a non-hacky way using visual recipes - though I am not saying it can't be done (I just don't know).

In the meantime I have written some logic that can combine a bunch of files (of the format you specified) from a single folder data source and concatenate those in a single step. 




 Data inside sample_csvs: 


 recipe output (processing +stacking the 2 csvs):



Here is the code inside the recipe that I used to actually perform the logic. If this looks like it may work for you, I'm happy to help you tweak the python code for your specific need.


# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
import dataiku
import pandas as pd, numpy as np
from dataiku import pandasutils as pdu

#------------------Two helper functions ----------------------#

import re
import os
from datetime import datetime

def get_date(string, date_pattern):
""" define a regex pattern to extract first date match in a string"""
match =, string)
date = datetime.strptime(, '%m/%d/%Y').date()
return date

def process_file(file, header_rows, date_row, date_pattern):
process a single csv. This function will skip `header_rows` rows and create a dataframe
from the remaining data. The date_pattern argument will be used to extract the first date
from date_row and insert it as a new column in the data. The modified dataframe will be
with open(file,'r') as f:
for i, line in enumerate(f):
if i == date_row-1:
date = get_date(line, date_pattern)

df = pd.read_csv(file, skiprows=header_rows)
df['date'] = date
return df


# Read recipe inputs
sample_csvs = dataiku.Folder("b5vBISdg")
folder_path = sample_csvs.get_path() # path to this data folder
files = sample_csvs.list_paths_in_partition() # file names in this folder
file_paths = [os.path.join(folder_path, file[1::]) for file in files] ## create paths to the actual csvs (will be a list of 2 here)
dfs = [] # empty list to store the results of each processed file

for path in file_paths:
dfs.append(process_file(path, header_rows=3, date_row=2, date_pattern='(\d{2}/\d{2}/\d{4})')) # Process each csv and append to list
stacked_dataset_df = pd.concat(dfs) # stack the processed csvs

# Write recipe outputs
stacked_dataset = dataiku.Dataset("stacked_dataset")


Nice solution @tim-wright! I'm not sure neither if this would be possible with a visual recipe, but for this case I don't think we will find something that matches the efficiency of the python solution.

Unless there is some plugin that provides this functionality as a visual step!

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Level 2

Thanks @tim-wright.  It's been useful to understand the limitations of the Visual Recipes.  I'm specifically trying to do this without code but appreciate your efforts.

I believe one way to do this with Visual Recipes might be to:

  • load the data twice
  • Input the filename into a new column using the Enrich processor in both copies
  • In the second copy, keep only the rows containing the "Interval Detail For" prefix
  • Use this second copy as a mapping table to create a new column in the original data set

I'm pretty sure this will work but it's a painful way of solving what should be a simple requirement.


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@SimonM Ah, I missed that part of your post. If you absolutely need to use the visual recipes, then yes, I think the approach you laid out would probably work. 

If this is something you plan to do frequently or with a bunch of datasets, I'd propose that the investment time to develop a plugin (which would be minimal) is worth it so that users can simply leverage a UI to accomplish the task without knowing code or getting wrapped up with the logic you mention above.

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