CSV Generator

What is this?

CSV Generator is a tool written in PHP, useful in the scenario when you need a test CSV file with dummy data. It's capable to generate huge files, so a three millions lines is just a matter of personal choice :)


Unpack/copy the package at a convenient location and run it as: <br />

php csv_generator.php -c <path_to_configuration_file> -o <output_file.csv>

or if you made it executable:

chmod +x csv_generator.php
./csv_generator.php -c <path_to_configuration_file> -o <output_file.csv>

Make sure you supply both parameters, as they are mandatory.

Configuration files

General structure

Generating CSV is based on some kind of template, where you specify how the columns should look like, how big will be the file, etc. This is done into configuration files, following a certain structure.

If you're eager to jump into it, just check the configuration files under data directory, as example.ini and example.json. For now, these are the accepted input formats.

Mandatory elements for the configuration files:


; this is a comment
header = 1;
enclosure = '"';
delimiter = "|";
lines = 123;

; the list with the fields names separated by |
fields = "id|name"



The same example, translated to json format:


    "header": 1,
    "enclosure": "\"",
    "delimiter": "|",
    "lines": 123,
    "fields": {
        "id" : {
        "name": {

Configuration structure explained

Decides if the first line of the file will contain the field names or not.

header = 1|0

Field enclosure for generated CSV.

enclosure = <char>

Separator for fields.

delimiter = <char>

How many lines will be generated (plus the header if any).

lines = <integer>

Check next the accepted fields configurations. fields = these are with different configuration based on their type.

Fields configuration


    type - numeric
    strategy - autoincrement | random
    start_at - initial value, default 0  
    min - (only for random)
    max - (only for random)

Alphanumeric / Alpha only

    type - alphanumeric
    length - fixed size OR
    min-length / max-length - boundaries for variable length
    only-alpha: true|false 
    extra-chars: <string with extra special chars>


I'll be back...


Author: Cristan Năvălici <br /> Timestamp: march 2013 Updated: may 2014