Master Data Services Import File

I’ve been working with Microsoft Master Data Services lately and came across this quirky import file specification.

The quirky part is in the description section for replacing existing values with NULL. It’s not uncommon for an import file to use a special character string to indicate NULL, but these are especially (ahem) "special".

  • To change a string attribute value to NULL, set it ~NULL~.
  • To change a number attribute value to NULL, set it to -98765432101234567890.
  • To change a datetime attribute value to NULL, set it to 5555-11-22T12:34:56.

So, I can live with the ~NULL~ for the string attribute. But for the number attribute you use a value that is outside the range of BIGINT? And the number selection pattern is the programmer just counting down from 9 to 0 and back up again. Huh? And for the datetime attribute, maybe I’m not smart enough to recognize the significance of November 22, 5555 at 12:34 and 56 seconds, but to me it looks like the programmer just decided…"Hmmm, how about 5555 11 22 123456".

Is it functional? Yes. Does it look shoddy? Yes.

Master Data Services Import File