Mathias Brandewinder on .NET, F#, VSTO and Excel development, and quantitative analysis / machine learning.
by Mathias 5. July 2010 16:16

In our last post, we saw how to use F# to read historical stock quotes from Yahoo. Today we’ll take the raw response, which is a big block of text, and break it up into a list of individual quotes.

Breaking up the response into lines

The function we wrote last time, GetResponse, receives one chunk of text from the web service, formatted like this:


Date,Open,High,Low,Close,Volume,Adj Close
2010-03-08,28.52,28.93,28.50,28.63,39414500,28.50
2010-03-05,28.66,28.68,28.42,28.59,56001800,28.46
2010-03-04,28.46,28.65,28.27,28.63,42890600,28.50

What we need to do now is break up this into individual lines of text, and parse them to read individual quotes. The first part is straightforward: the function BreakIntoLines calls String.Split(), using char(10), the code for line break, as a delimiter, and returns an Array of strings.

let BreakIntoLines (response:string) =
  response.Split((char)10)

Note the type annotation on the function argument: without context, F# cannot infer the type of “response”, and we need to specify that this function expects a string argument.

Parsing valid lines into Quote records

The second part is a bit more complex. We need to break each line into 7 components (date, open, etc…), deal with lines that are not valid, like the header, and store the result in an appropriate structure.

We will store individual quotes into records. A Record is a data type somewhat similar to the C# struct. It has named fields, which makes it more expressive than Tuples, and is less involved than a class. Here is the declaration for our Quote record – concise, and pretty self-explanatory:

type Quote={
  Symbol:string;
  Date:DateTime;
  Open:double;
  Close:double;
  Low:double;
  High:double;
  Volume:int64}

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