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The Art of Unix Programming
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Unix Programming - Data File Metaformats - Cookie-Jar Format

Cookie-Jar Format

Cookie-jar format is used by the fortune(1) program for its database of random quotes. It is appropriate for records that are just bags of unstructured text. It simply uses newline followed by %% (or sometimes newline followed by %) as a record separator. Example5.3 is an example section from a file of email signature quotes:

It is good practice to accept whitespace after % when looking for record delimiters. This helps cope with human editing mistakes. It's even better practice to use %%, and ignore all text from %% to end-of-line.

The cookie-jar separator was originally %%\n. I wanted something a bit more visible than % would have been. In fact, any stuff after the %% is treated as a comment (or at least that's how I wrote it).

-- Ken Arnold

Simple cookie-jar format is appropriate for pieces of text that have no natural ordering, distinguishable structure above word level, or search keys other than their text context.


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The Art of Unix Programming
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