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Special characters

Information about special characters used in the data feed.

Special characters in the hit_data file

The following characters have a special meaning in the hit_data file:
Character
Meaning
Description
\t (tab character)
End of column
Marks the end of a data field.
\n (newline character)
End of row
Marks the end of a data row.
\ (backslash character)
Escape character
Escapes tab, newline, and backslash when the character was part of the value sent during data collection.
When any of the special characters are preceded by a backslash, they represent a literal character.
Character
Meaning
Description
\\t
Tab
Literal tab character. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.
\\n
Newline
Literal newline. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.
\\
Backslash
Literal backslash character. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.

Special characters in multi-valued variables (events_list, products_list, mvvars)

The following characters have a special meaning in multi-valued variables:
Character Meaning Description
, (comma character) End of value
Separates product strings, event IDs, or other values in multi-valued variables.
; (semicolon character) End of sub-value within an individual product value
Separates values associated with an individual product in the product_list .
= (equals character) Value assignment
Assigns a value to an event in the event_list .
When any of the special characters are preceded by a caret, they represent a literal character.
Character
Meaning
Description
^,
Comma
Literal comma character. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.
^;
Semicolon
Literal semicolon character. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.
^=
Equals
Literal equals character. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.
^^
Caret
Literal caret character. This character was part of the value sent in during data collection.

Sample workflow

If some of the columns in your data feed contain user-submitted data, you should check for special characters before separating the data by column or row using split or readLine , or similar.
Consider the following data:
Browser Width
Browser Height
eVar1
prop1
1680
1050
search\nstring
en
800
600
search\tstring
en
During export, the newline and tab characters in the eVar1 values are escaped. The data feed for these rows appears as follows:
1680\t1050\tsearch\\nstring\ten\n 
800\t600\tsearch\\tstring\ten\n

Calling readLine() on the first row returns the following partial string:
800\t600\tsearch\

Calling split("\t") on the second row returns the following string array:
800 
600 
search\ 
string 
en

To avoid this, use a solution similar to the following:
  1. Starting at the beginning of the file, read until you locate a tab, newline, backslash or caret character.
  2. Perform an action based on the special character encountered:
    • Tab - insert the string up that point into a data store cell and continue.
    • Newline - complete the data store row.
    • Backslash - read the next character, insert the appropriate string literal, and continue.
    • Caret - read the next character, insert the appropriate string literal, and continue.