anyone familiar with "CDS" or "Borland Client Dataset data" ?

Hi folks,
I have a set of these files, certainly made with delphi ?
is there a way to convert them (on a mac ?) to something like sql or excel ?


the files ends with “.nov” I really can’t find any app that at least opens it, hoping then to export the datas !

I believe that this is an Embarcadero proprietary format. Not even all their products have access to it. Perhaps you would have better luck sifting through their documentation.

they are quite old files, I found dates inside around 2006. don’t think embarcadero existed by that time ?

Borland became Code Gear which became Embarcadero. Those files are either from Delphi or C++Builder, just the company being renamed/purchased over the years.

Have you examined the files with a hex editor to see if the structure is discernible? I’ve reverse engineered a number of proprietary format files over the years, and found that extracting the data is often not as difficult as it may first appear. If you can figure out the structure, then the first step would be to write an application to extract the data into a simple delimited text format. Once you have that, you can easily convert it to any other format.

Here’s the decription from the ClientDataSet SaveToFile function:

procedure SaveToFile(const FileName: string = ‘’; Format: TDataPacketFormat = dfBinary);

Call SaveToFile to write a client dataset’s data to an external file for later use by this or other client datasets.

FileName is the name of the external file to use. If the file already exists, its current contents are overwritten. If an empty string is passed for the FileName parameter (or, in Delphi, if this parameter is omitted), the data is saved to the file specified by the FileName property.

Format indicates what format to use when saving the data, binary (dfBinary) or XML (dfXML), or UTF8-based XML (dfXMLUTF8).

By default it would use a proprietary format.

I’ve found some clear text at the beginning of the file, ressembling to columns names, but then everything else seems hashed as I can’t see any string readable after that.

The data may be compressed then.

If you only need to convert this one set of files, then your best bet may be to download a trial version of Delphi, and use that to import and save in another format. I assume Delphi is Windows only. So, you’d need a Windows computer.