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89.4. flattenField(): Flatten one field

This function takes two arguments: a DbfFieldDef object defining a field, and an object representing the field's value. Its purpose is to convert the value to a string (if it isn't one already) and pad it to the length from the field definition.

# - - -   f l a t t e n F i e l d   - - -

def flattenField(fieldDef, value):
    '''Flatten one field.

      [ (fieldDef is the definition of a field as a DbfFieldDef) and
        (value is the value of one such field) ->
          return value, converted to a string, and padded to
          the length defined in fieldDef.length ]

Life would be simpler here if the dbfpy package gave us the field value as stored in the file, which is always a string and always the full length. However, because the package has been nice enough to convert it to one of the standard Python types, we have to convert it back to a string.

We can't pad all values the same way, either. Numbers should be right-justified, and strings should be left-justified. We use Python's built-in isinstance function to determine whether the value is one of the numeric types. The isinstance() function takes two arguments. The first argument is the object to be tested. The second argument can be either a class or a sequence of classes. It returns a True value if the object is a member of any of the classes, or derived from them.

    #-- 1 --
    # [ if value is an instance of int, long, or float class ->
    #     result  :=  value, as a string, right-justified to
    #                 length fieldDef.length
    #   else ->
    #     result  :=  value, as a string, leftt-justified to
    #                 length fieldDef.length ]
    if  isinstance(value, (int, long, float)):
        result = str(value).rjust(fieldDef.length)
        result = str(value).ljust(fieldDef.length)

    #-- 2 --
    return result