Best Practices from Oracle Development's A‑Team

What do you mean you don't read HDA?


For any WebCenter Content or Records administrator who's done any customizing or troubleshooting of the server has undoubtedly run across an .hda (HDA) file.  A HDA file is proprietary data structure in ASCII text files used by WebCenter Content.  Why HDA and not some other format such as XML? Well, I'll have to leave that argument for the developers as to the benefits of one over the other.  But one thing is clear...while it may be very fast and easy for a computer to parse and read HDA, it's not so easy for humans. Sure, the LocalData section is easy with its name-value pairs, but try reading a result set with 75 attributes and it becomes a bit more difficult. Thanks to the advent of the IsPageDebug=1 option, handling HDA from the server is now easier to read.  But for those files directly on the server, they are still a challenge.

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To make it easier to read (and edit) HDA files, Lee Klement, one of our illustrious Senior Principal Instructors in Oracle University, wrote an Excel spreadsheet macro to do just that.  He created it over 10 years ago, but the format has stayed the same so it works just as well as it did the day it came out (for all the old timers out there, you'll see references to Xpedio in there).

HDA Utility

I was recently working with an Oracle consultant on a project when he mentioned the frustration of reading the HDA files coming out of the Archiver and thinking about writing an Excel Macro for reading them. That's when I handed him a copy of Lee's wonderful spreadsheet and made his day. Figuring others out there could benefit from this tool, Lee gave me the OK to share it here.

After opening the spreadsheet, the primary worksheet has instructions on how to open and save the HDA files.   And as with other sample components offered here, it's available as-is.

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