If you’re working in the Network Management space as I am you’ll no doubt be taking in feeds from third party systems, parsing the data so that it can read into an application or used in some way to manipulate data already there.
It’s the “glue” that allows many systems to share data. If no API exists the only alternative is often an XML or CSV file exchange via the most secure protocol both systems support.
But can you trust the content of the feed? It’s a good idea to use regular expressions to audit each field in the data before it’s used, ensuring bad data gets ignored. But how *old* is the data? Does the method used to generate or exchange the data ever cause an old file to be handed over?
How would you know about it?
Having the third party add a simple line like
# EOF 07/07/2011 21:02:37
to a CSV file, or the equivalent XML tag can save you a mass of time wondering why changes to one system are not being reflected in another.