Importing text data in Machine Learning Server

RevoScaleR can use data from a wide range of external data sources, including text files, database files on disk (SPSS and SAS), and relational data sources. This article puts the focus on text files: delimited (.csv) and fixed-format, plus database files accessed through simple file reads.

To store text data for analysis and visualization, you can load it into memory as a data frame for the duration of your session, or save it to disk as a .xdf file. For either approach, the RevoScaleR rxImport function loads the data.

Note

To get the best use of persisted data in XDF, you need Machine Learning Server (as opposed to R Client). Reading and writing chunked data on disk is exclusive to Machine Learning Server.

About rxImport

Converting external data into a format understood by RevoScaleR is achieved using the rxImport function. Although the function takes several arguments, it's just loading data from a source file that you provide. In the simplest case, you can give it a file path. If the data is delimited by commas or tabs, this is all that is required loading the data. To illustrate, the following example creates a data object loaded with data from a local text-delimited file:

	> mydataobject <-rxImport("C:/user/temp/mydatafile.csv")

Depending on arguments, rxImport either loads data as a data frame, or outputs the data to a .xdf file saved to disk. This article covers a range of data access scenarios for text files and file-based data access of SPSS and SAS data. To learn more about other data sources, see related articles in the table of contents or in the link list at the end of this article.

How to import a text file

  1. Set the location of the source file. One approach is to use R's file.path command.

     > mySourceFile <- file.path("C:/Users/Temp/my-data-file.txt")
    

    To try this out using built-in samples, run the first command to verify the files are available, and the second command to set the location and source file.

     # Verify the sample files exist and then set mySourceFile to the sample directory
     > list.files(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"))
     > mySourceFile <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.txt")
    
  2. Run rxImport to load the data into a data frame.

     > claimsDF <- rxImport(mySourceFile)
    
  3. Follow up with the rxGetInfo function to get summary information. If we include the argument getVarInfo=TRUE, the summary includes the names of the variables and their types:

     > rxGetInfo(claimsDF, getVarInfo = TRUE)
    
     Data frame: claimsDF  
     Number of observations: 128 
     Number of variables: 6 
     Number of blocks: 1 
     Variable information: 
     Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
     Var 2: age, Type: character
     Var 3: car.age, Type: character
     Var 4: type, Type: character
     Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
     Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)
    

    For just variables in the data file, use the names function:

     > names(claimsDF)
       [1] "RowNum"  "age"     "car.age" "type"    "cost"    "number"
    
  4. To save the data into a .xdf file rather than importing data into a data frame in memory, add the outFile parameter. Specify a path to a writable directory:

     > claimsDF <- rxImport(inData=mySourceFile, outFile = "c:/users/temp/claims.xdf")
    

    A .xdf file is created, and instead of returning a data frame, the rxImport function returns a data source object. This is a small R object that contains information about a data source, in this case the name and path of the .xdf file it represents. This data source object can be used as the input data in most RevoScaleR functions. For example:

     > rxGetInfo(claimsDF, getVarInfo = TRUE)
     > names(claimsDF)
    
  5. Optionally, you can simplify the path designation by using the working directory. Use R's working directory commands to get and set the folder. Run the first command to determine the default working directory, and the second command to switch to a writable folder.

     > getwd()
     > setwd("c:/users/temp")
    

Modifications during import

During import, you can fix problems in the underlying data by specifying arguments for replacement values, changing metadata on the variable, changing data types, and creating new variables based on calculations.

Set a replacement string

If your text data file uses a string other than NA to identify missing values, you can use the missingValueString argument to define the replacement string. Only one missing value string is allowed per file. The following example is from the Airline demo tutorial:

inFile <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "AirlineDemoSmall.csv")
airData <- rxImport(inData = inFile, outFile="airExample.xdf", 
	stringsAsFactors = TRUE, missingValueString = "M", 
	rowsPerRead = 200000, overwrite = TRUE)

Change variable metadata

If you need to modify the name of a variable or the names of the factor levels, or add a description of a variable, you can do this using the colInfo argument. For example, the claims data includes a variable type specifying the type of car, but the levels A, B, C, and D give us no particular information. If we knew what the types signified, perhaps “Subcompact”, “Compact”, “Mid-size”, and “Full-size”, we could relabel the levels as follows:

#  Specifying Additional Variable Information

inFileAddVars <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.txt")
outfileTypeRelabeled <- "claimsTypeRelabeled.xdf"
colInfoList <- list("type" = list(type = "factor", levels = c("A", 
    "B", "C", "D"), newLevels=c("Subcompact", "Compact", "Mid-size", 
    "Full-size"), description="Body Type"))
claimsNew <- rxImport(inFileAddVars, outFile = outfileTypeRelabeled, 
	colInfo = colInfoList)
rxGetInfo(claimsNew, getVarInfo = TRUE) 

This produces the following output:

File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsTypeRelabeled.xdf 
Number of observations: 128 
Number of variables: 6 
Number of blocks: 1 
Compression type: zlib
Variable information: 
Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
Var 2: age, Type: character
Var 3: car.age, Type: character
Var 4: type, Body Type 
       4 factor levels: Subcompact Compact Mid-size Full-size
Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)

To specify newLevels, you must also specify levels, and it is important to note that the newLevels argument can only be used to rename levels. It cannot be used to fully recode the factor. That is, the number of levels and number of newLevels must be the same.

Change data types

The rxImport function supports three arguments for specifying variable data types: stringsAsFactors, colClasses, and colInfo. For example, consider storing character data. Often data stored in text files as string data actually represents categorical or factor data, which can be more compactly represented as a set of integers denoting the distinct levels of the factor. This is common enough that users frequently want to transform all string data to factors. This can be done using the stringsAsFactors argument:

#  Specifying Variable Data Types

inFile <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.sts")
rxImport(inFile, outFile = "claimsSAF.xdf", stringsAsFactors = TRUE)
rxGetInfo("claimsSAF.xdf", getVarInfo = TRUE)

	File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsSAF.xdf 
	Number of observations: 128 
	Number of variables: 6 
	Number of blocks: 1 
	Variable information: 
	Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
	Var 2: age
	       8 factor levels: 17-20 21-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-49 50-59 60+
	Var 3: car.age
	       4 factor levels: 0-3 4-7 8-9 10+
	Var 4: type
	       4 factor levels: A B C D
	Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
	Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)

You can also specify data types for individual variables using the colClasses argument, and even more specific instructions for converting each variable using the colInfo argument. Here we use the colClasses argument to specify that the variable number in the claims data be stored as an integer:

outfileColClass <- "claimsCCNum.xdf"
rxImport(infile, outFile = outfileColClass, colClasses=c(number = "integer"))
rxGetInfo("claimsCCNum.xdf", getVarInfo = TRUE)

	File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsCCNum.xdf 
	Number of observations: 128 
	Number of variables: 6 
	Number of blocks: 1 
	Compression type: zlib
	Variable information: 
	Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
	Var 2: age, Type: character
	Var 3: car.age, Type: character
	Var 4: type, Type: character
	Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
	Var 6: number, Type: integer, Low/High: (0, 434)

We can use the colInfo argument to specify the levels of the car.age column. This is useful when reading data in chunks, to assure that factors levels are in the desired order.

outfileCAOrdered <- "claimsCAOrdered.xdf"
colInfoList <- list("car.age"= list(type = "factor", levels = c("0-3", 
    "4-7", "8-9", "10+")))
rxImport(infile, outFile = outfileCAOrdered, colInfo = colInfoList)
rxGetInfo("claimsCAOrdered.xdf", getVarInfo = TRUE)

Gives the following output:

File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsCAOrdered.xdf 
Number of observations: 128 
Number of variables: 6 
Number of blocks: 1 
Compression type: zlib
Variable information: 
Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
Var 2: age, Type: character
Var 3: car.age
       4 factor levels: 0-3 4-7 8-9 10+
Var 4: type, Type: character
Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)

These various methods of providing column information can be combined as follows:

outfileCAOrdered2 <- "claimsCAOrdered2.xdf"
colInfoList <- list("car.age" = list(type = "factor", levels = c("0-3", 
    "4-7", "8-9", "10+")))
claimsOrdered <- rxImport(infile, outfileCAOrdered2, 
	colClasses = c(number = "integer"), 
    	colInfo = colInfoList, stringsAsFactors = TRUE)
rxGetInfo(claimsOrdered, getVarInfo = TRUE) 

Produces the following output:

File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsCAOrdered2.xdf 
Number of observations: 128 
Number of variables: 6 
Number of blocks: 1 
Compression type: zlib
Variable information: 
Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
Var 2: age
       8 factor levels: 17-20 21-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Var 3: car.age
       4 factor levels: 0-3 4-7 8-9 10+
Var 4: type
       4 factor levels: A B C D
Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
Var 6: number, Type: integer, Low/High: (0, 434)

In general, variable specifications provided by the colInfo argument are used in preference to colClasses, and those in colClasses are used in preference to the stringsAsFactors argument.

Also note that the .xdf data format supports a wider variety of data types than R, allowing for efficient storage. For example, by default floating point variables are stored as 32-bit floats in .xdf files. When they are read into R for processing, they are converted to doubles (64-bit floats).

Create or modify variables

You can use the transforms argument to rxImport to create new variables or modify existing variables when you initially read the data into .xdf format. For example, we could create a new variable, logcost, by taking the log of the existing cost variable as follows:

inFile <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.txt")
outfile <- "claimsXform.xdf"
claimsDS <-rxImport(inFile, outFile = outfile, transforms=list(logcost=log(cost)))
rxGetInfo(claimsDS, getVarInfo=TRUE)

Gives the following output, showing the new variable:

File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsXform.xdf 
Number of observations: 128 
Number of variables: 7 
Number of blocks: 1 
Compression type: zlib
Variable information: 
Var 1: RowNum, Type: integer, Low/High: (1, 128)
Var 2: age, Type: character
Var 3: car.age, Type: character
Var 4: type, Type: character
Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)
Var 7: logcost, Type: numeric, Low/High: (2.3979, 6.7452)

Change date formats

The .xdf format can store dates using the standard R Date class. When importing data from other data formats that support dates such as SAS or SPSS, the rxImport function converts dates data automatically. However, some data sets even in those formats include dates as character string data.

You can store such data more efficiently by converting it to Date data using the transforms argument. For example, suppose you have a character variable TransactionDate with a representative date of the form "14 Sep 2017". You could convert this to a Date variable using the following transforms argument:

transforms=list(TransactionDate=as.Date(TransactionDate, format="%d %b %Y")))

The format argument is a character string that may contain conversion specifications, as in the example shown. These conversion specifications are described in the strptime help file.

Change a delimiter

You cannot create or modify delimiters through rxImport, but for text data, you can create an RxTextData data source and specify the delimiter using the delimiter argument. For more information about creating a data source object, see Data Sources in Microsoft R.

As a simple example, RevoScaleR includes a sample text data file hyphens.txt that is not separated by commas or tabs, but by hyphens, with the following contents:

Name-Rank-SerialNumber
Smith-Sgt-02912
Johnson-Cpl-90210
Michaels-Pvt-02931
Brown-Pvt-11311

By creating an RxTextData data source for this file, you can specify the delimiter using the delimiter argument:

readPath <- rxGetOption("sampleDataDir")
infile <- file.path(readPath, "hyphens.txt")
hyphensTxt <- RxTextData(infile, delimiter="-")
hyphensDF <- rxImport(hyphensTxt)
hyphensDF

      Name Rank SerialNumber
1    Smith  Sgt         2912
2  Johnson  Cpl        90210
3 Michaels  Pvt         2931
4    Brown  Pvt        11311

In normal usage, the delimiter argument is a single character, such as delimiter="\t" for tab-delimited data or delimiter="," for comma-delimited data. However, each column may be delimited by a different character; all the delimiters must be concatenated together into a single character string. For example, if you have one column delimited by a comma, a second by a plus sign, and a third by a tab, you would use the argument *delimiter=",+\t". *

Examples

This section provides example script demonstrating additional import tasks.

Import multiple files

This example demonstrates an approach for importing multiple text files at once. You can use sample data for this exercise. It includes mortgage default data for consecutive years, with each year's data in a separate file. In this exercise, you will import all of them to a single XDF by appending one after another, using a combination of base R commands and RevoScaleR functions.

Create a source object for a list of files, obtained using the R list.files function with a pattern for selecting specific file names:

mySourceFiles <- list.files(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), pattern = "mortDefaultSmall\\d*.csv", full.names=TRUE)

Create an object for the XDF file at a writable location:

myLargeXdf <- file.path("C:/users/temp/mortgagelarge.xdf")

To iterate over multiple files, use the R lapply function and create a function to call rxImport with the append argument. Importing multiple files requires the append argument on rxImport to avoid overwriting existing content from the first iteration. Each new chunk of data is imported as a block.

lapply(mySourceFiles, FUN = function(csv_file) {
    rxImport(inData = csv_file, outFile=myLargeXdf, append = file.exists(myLargeXdf)) } )

Partial output from this operation reports out the processing details.

Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.025 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.022 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.019 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 
Rows Read: 10000, Total Rows Processed: 10000, Total Chunk Time: 0.020 seconds 

Use rxGetInfo to view precomputed metadata. As you would expect, the block count reflects the presence of multiple concatenated data sets.

    rxGetInfo(myLargeXdf)

Results from this command confirm that you have 10 blocks, one for each .csv file. On a distributed file system, you could place these blocks on separate nodes. You could also retrieve or overwrite individual blocks. For more information, see Import and consume data on HDFS and XDF files.

    File name: C:\Users\TEMP\mortgagelarge.xdf 
    Number of observations: 1e+05 
    Number of variables: 6 
    Number of blocks: 10 
    Compression type: zlib 

Import fixed-format data

Fixed-format data is text data in which each variable occupies a fixed-width column in the input data file. Column width, rather than a delimiter, gives the data its structure. You can import fixed-format data using the rxImport function.

Optionally, fixed-format data might be associated with a schema file having a .sts extension. The schema describes the width and type of each column. For complete details on creating a schema file, see page 93 of the Stat/Transfer PDF Manual (http://www.stattransfer.com/stman10.pdf). If you have a schema file, you can create the input data source simply by specifying the schema file name as the input data file.

The built-in samples include a fixed-format version of the claims data as the file claims.dat and a schema file named claims.sts. To import the data using this schema file, we use RxImport as follows:

# Verify the sample files exist
> list.files(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"))

# (Windows only) Set a working directory for which you have write access
> setwd("c:/users/temp")

# Specify the source schema file, load data, and save output as a new XDF
> inFile <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.sts")
> claimsFF <- rxImport(inData=inFile, outFile="claimsFF.xdf")

Return summary information using rxGetInfo:

rxGetInfo(claimsFF, getVarInfo=TRUE)

File name: C:\\YourOutputPath\\claims.xdf

	File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claims.xdf 
	Number of observations: 128 
	Number of variables: 6 
	Number of blocks: 1 
	Compression type: zlib
	Variable information: 
	Var 1: RowNum, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (1.0000, 128.0000)
	Var 2: age, Type: character
	Var 3: car.age, Type: character
	Var 4: type, Type: character
	Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
	Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Storage: float32, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)

To read all string data as factors, set the stringsAsFactors argument to TRUE in your call to rxImport

claimsFF2 <- rxImport(inFile, outFile = "claimsFF2.xdf", stringsAsFactors=TRUE)
rxGetInfo(claimsFF2, getVarInfo=TRUE)

If you have fixed-format data without a schema file, you can specify the start, width, and type information for each variable using the colInfo argument to the RxTextData data source constructor, and then read in the data using rxImport:

inFileNS <- file.path(readPath, "claims.dat")
outFileNS <- "claimsNS.xdf"	
colInfo=list("rownum" = list(start = 1, width = 3, type = "integer"),
             "age" = list(start = 4, width = 5, type = "factor"),
             "car.age" = list(start = 9, width = 3, type = "factor"),
             "type" = list(start = 12, width = 1, type = "factor"),
             "cost" = list(start = 13, width = 6, type = "numeric"),
             "number" = list(start = 19, width = 3, type = "numeric"))
claimsNS <- rxImport(inFileNS, outFile = outFileNS, colInfo = colInfo)
rxGetInfo(claimsNS, getVarInfo=TRUE)

If you have a schema file, you can still use the colInfo argument to specify type information or factor level information. However, in this case, all the variables are read according to the schema file, and then the colInfo data specifications are applied. This means that you cannot use your colInfo list to omit variables, as you can when there is no schema file.

Fixed-width character data is treated as a special type by RevoScaleR for efficiency purposes. You can use this same type for character data in delimited data by specifying a colInfo argument with a width argument for the character column. (Typically, you need to find the longest string in the column and specify a width sufficient to include it.)

Import SAS data

The rxImport function can also be used to read data from SAS files having a .sas7bdat or .sd7 extension. You do not need to have SAS installed on your computer; simple file access is used to read in the data.

The sample directory contains a SAS version of the claims data as claims.sas7bdat. We can read it into .xdf format most simply as follows:

inFileSAS <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.sas7bdat")
xdfFileSAS <- "claimsSAS.xdf"
claimsSAS <- rxImport(inData = inFileSAS, outFile = xdfFileSAS)
rxGetInfo(claimsSAS, getVarInfo=TRUE)

Gives the following output:

File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsSAS.xdf 
Number of observations: 128 
Number of variables: 6 
Number of blocks: 1 
Compression type: zlib
Variable information: 
Var 1: RowNum, Type: character
Var 2: age, Type: character
Var 3: car_age, Type: character
Var 4: type, Type: character
Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)

Sometimes, SAS data files on Windows come in two pieces, a .sas7bdat file containing the data and a .sas7bcat file containing value label information. You can read both the data and the value label information by specifying the .sas7bdat file with the inData argument and the .sas7bcat file with the formatFile argument. To do so, in the following code replace myfile with your SAS file name:

myData <- rxImport(inData = "myfile.sas7bdat",
     outFile ="myfile.xdf",
     formatFile = "myfile.sas7bcat")

Import SPSS data

The rxImport function can also be used to read data from SPSS files. The sample directory contains an SPSS version of the claims data as claims.sav. We can read it into .xdf format as follows:

inFileSpss <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"), "claims.sav")
xdfFileSpss <- "claimsSpss.xdf"
claimsSpss <- rxImport(inData = inFileSpss, outFile = xdfFileSpss)
rxGetInfo(claimsSpss, getVarInfo=TRUE)

Gives the following output:

File name: C:\YourOutputPath\claimsSpss.xdf 
Number of observations: 128 
Number of variables: 6 
Number of blocks: 1
Compression type: zlib 
Variable information: 
Var 1: RowNum, Type: character
Var 2: age, Type: character
Var 3: car_age, Type: character
Var 4: type, Type: character
Var 5: cost, Type: numeric, Low/High: (11.0000, 850.0000)
Var 6: number, Type: numeric, Low/High: (0.0000, 434.0000)

Variables in SPSS data sets often contain value labels with important information about the data. SPSS variables with value labels are typically most usefully imported into R as categorical “factor” data; that is, there is a one-to-one mapping between the values in the data set (such as 1, 2, 3) and the labels that apply to them (Gold, Silver, Bronze).

Interestingly, SPSS allows for value labels on a subset of existing values. For example, a variable with values from 1 to 99 might have value labels of “NOT HOME” for 97, “DIDN’T KNOW” for 98, and “NOT APPLICABLE” for 99. If this variable is converted to a factor in R using the value labels as the factor labels, all of the values from 1 to 96 would be set to missing because there would be no corresponding factor level. Essentially all of the actual data would be thrown away.

To avoid data loss when converting to factors, use the flag labelsAsLevels=FALSE. By default, the information from the value labels is retained even if the variables aren’t converted to factors. This information can be returned using rxGetVarInfo. If you don’t wish to retain the information from the value labels, you can specify labelsAsInfo=FALSE.

Importing wide data

Big data mainly comes in two forms, long or wide, each presenting unique challenges. The common case is long data, having many observations relative to the number of variables in the data set. With wide data, or data sets with a large number of variables, there are specific considerations to take into account during import.

First, we recommend importing wide data into the .xdf format using the rxImport function whenever you plan to do repeated analyses on your dat aset. Doing so allows you to read subsets of columns into a data frame in memory for specific analyses. For more information, see Transform and subset data.

Second, review the data set for categorical variables that can be marked as factors. If possible use the colInfo argument to define the levels rather than stringsAsFactors. Explicitly setting the levels results in faster processing speeds because you avoid recomputations of variable metadata whenever a new level is encountered. For wide data sets having a very large number of variables, the extra processing due to recomputation can be significant so its worth considering the colInfo argument as a way to speed up the import.

Third, if you are using colinfo, considering creating it as an object prior to using rxImport. The following is an example of defining the colInfo with factor levels for the claims data from earlier examples:

colInfoList <- list("age" = list(type = "factor",
      levels = c("17-20","21-24","25-29","30-34","35-39","40-49","50-59","60+")),
    "car.age" = list(type = "factor",
      levels = c("0-3","4-7","8-9","10+")),
    "type" = list(type = "factor",
      levels = c("A","B","C","D")))

The colInfo list can then be used as the colInfo argument in the rxImport function to get your data into .xdf format:

inFileClaims <- file.path(rxGetOption("sampleDataDir"),"claims.txt")
outFileClaims <- "claimsWithColInfo.xdf"
rxImport(inFile, outFile = outFileClaims, colInfo = colInfoList)

Next steps

Continue on to the following data import articles to learn more about XDF, data source objects, and other data formats:

See also

Tutorial: data import Tutorial: data manipulation