Wildcard in replace field



  • Hi all!

    I need to convert punctuation in lines like below from:

    ,Stop and sleep.,04:00:08
    ,Grab a cab.,05:21:12

    to

    ,Stop and sleep.,04:00.08
    ,Grab a cab.,05:21.12

    It’s simply changing the second last character of the line from : to .

    I got a RegEx search to work (:.*:), but RegEx replace was beyond me and I haven’t been able to find anything on a forum that matched my need.

    I tried replace :.: with :.. (plus a few variants with quotation marks), but nothing worked for me.
    What is the correct syntax for this, please?

    Thank you in advance!
    Dax.



  • @daxliniere

    there are a few characters which do have special meaning in regex.
    If you need to search or replace them literally you need to escape them by using a leading \ in front of the “special char”.
    Means, \. would use the dot instead of any char.



  • Hmm, I might go a bit beyond what the OP did and search for (\d\d:\d\d):(?=\d\d) and replace with ${1}.



  • @Alan-Kilborn said in Wildcard in replace field:

    and replace with ${1}.

    Note that my “period” at the end is actually part of the replace expression, and isn’t a “sentence ender”.

    Maybe I should have said it this way:

    …and replace with ${1}..

    :-)



  • aside to @Ekopalypse :

    remember we’re on boost 1.70 now, not 1.55. The updated boost docs are here. (edit: they don’t change the list of which characters are special, but providing the modern link is probably better in the long run)

    aside to @Alan-Kilborn ,

    Note that my “period” at the end is actually part of the replace expression, and isn’t a “sentence ender”.

    in such circumstances, the notation of

    • FIND = (\d\d:\d\d):(?=\d\d)
    • REPLACE = ${1}.
    • SEARCH MODE = regular expression

    is less likely to confuse or cause ambiguity. Or you could use an optional output group or escape-sequence, such as

    • REPLACE = ${1}(.)
      or
    • REPLACE = ${1}\x2E

    both of which are less ambiguous as to the what goes in the replacement field, at the expense of being less understandable about what will actually output. :-)



  • aside to all :-D

    ignore the groups and do :(?=\d\d$)
    and replace with \.



  • @Ekopalypse said in Wildcard in replace field:

    ignore the groups and do :(?=\d\d$)

    Well, it depends upon what you want to “grab onto” mentally and decide what is really important. Your expression chose to grab onto the end-of-line as important.
    Mine tried to grab onto the more general concept of a 00:00:00 timestamp occurring in data somewhere as being important.
    Which is better? Dunno.
    Perhaps whatever gives the OP the best “walk away” feeling; sadly we’ll never know the answer to that. :-)



  • @PeterJones

    Wow, Peter picks on my notation. :-(
    Just kidding, I know you’re really not picking on it. :-)

    But… sometimes I present like this:

    Open the Replace dialog by pressing Ctrl+h and then set up the following search parameters:
    Find what box: (\d\d:\d\d):(?=\d\d)
    Replace with box: ${1}.
    Search mode radiobutton: Regular expression
    Wrap around checkbox: ticked
    Option checkboxes not mentioned are typically not important to the operation, but should in general be unticked.
    Then press the Replace All button.

    And nobody has ever said “Hey, that style looks nice.” :-(
    No no no no no, not looking for any misplaced praise. :-)
    But, the time I don’t present like that, I get told a method for “better presenting”. :-(
    JUST KIDDING!



  • Hello @peterjones, @ekopalypse, @alan-kilborn, @daxliniere, and All,

    @peterjones, you said :

    remember we’re on boost 1.70 now, not 1.55. The updated boost docs are here.

    Where did you see that the N++ regex engine migrates from Boost v1.55.0 to Boost v1.70.0 ?!

    I’ve tried to see any mention of this, in change.log files of recent N++ versions, without any result !


    Anyway, I compared the HTML contents of :

    http://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_55_0/libs/regex/doc/html/boost_regex/syntax/perl_syntax.html

    and

    http://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_73_0/libs/regex/doc/html/boost_regex/syntax/perl_syntax.html

    The main difference concerns the addition of the Backtracking Control Verbs functionality which, due to lack of testing, does not seem to be of prime importance, but I’m probably wrong !

    Here are the list of changes / additions between our Boost version v1.55.0 and the last version v1.7.3 of the regex library :

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Right BEFORE "Wilcard" paragraph, ADDITION of the line :
    
    
    Other characters are special only in certain situations - for example ] is special only after an opening [.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Right BEFORE the sentence "It is an error to use a repeat operator....", ADDITION of the line : 
    
    
    Note that the "{" and "}" characters will treated as ordinary literals when used in a context that is not a repeat: this matches Perl 5.x behavior. For example in the expressions "ab{1", "ab1}" and "a{b}c" the curly brackets are all treated as literals and no error will be raised.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Right AFTER the FIRST sentence, in "Backreferences" paragraph, CHANGE of the REGEX :
    
    
    ^(a*)[^a]*\1$    ( instead of ^(a*).*\1$ )
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Right BEFORE the "Operator precedence" paragraph, ADDITION of the "Backtracking Control Verbs" paragraph :
    
    
    Backtracking Control Verbs
    
    This library has partial support for Perl's backtracking control verbs, in particular (*MARK) is not supported. There may also be detail differences in behaviour between this library and Perl, not least because Perl's behaviour is rather under-documented and often somewhat random in how it behaves in practice. The verbs supported are:
    
        (*PRUNE) Has no effect unless backtracked onto, in which case all the backtracking information prior to this point is discarded.
        (*SKIP) Behaves the same as (*PRUNE) except that it is assumed that no match can possibly occur prior to the current point in the string being searched. This can be used to optimize searches by skipping over chunks of text that have already been determined can not form a match.
        (*THEN) Has no effect unless backtracked onto, in which case all subsequent alternatives in a group of alternations are discarded.
        (*COMMIT) Has no effect unless backtracked onto, in which case all subsequent matching/searching attempts are abandoned.
        (*FAIL) Causes the match to fail unconditionally at this point, can be used to force the engine to backtrack.
        (*ACCEPT) Causes the pattern to be considered matched at the current point. Any half-open sub-expressions are closed at the current point.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Inside the "Operator precedence" paragraph, CHANGE of the REGEX :
    
    
    2. Escaped characters \    ( instead of [^] )
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Best Regards,

    guy038



  • @guy038 said in Wildcard in replace field:

    Where did you see that the N++ regex engine migrates from Boost v1.55.0 to Boost v1.70.0 ?!

    Well, the build instructions for Notepad++ mention Boost 1.70…

    But I suppose that isn’t definitive.

    It would be nice if maybe the Debug Info for Notepad++ included both the Scintilla and Boost version numbers it uses?



  • @Alan-Kilborn said in Wildcard in replace field:

    @guy038 said in Wildcard in replace field:

    Where did you see that the N++ regex engine migrates from Boost v1.55.0 to Boost v1.70.0 ?!

    Well, the build instructions for Notepad++ mention Boost 1.70…

    It’s also mentioned in here:
    https://github.com/notepad-plus-plus/notepad-plus-plus/blob/master/scintilla/boostregex/BoostRegExSearch.cxx#L1-L10

    Ah, okay, @xylographe made https://github.com/notepad-plus-plus/npp-usermanual/issues/47, which came as a result of BUILD.md.

    It would be nice if maybe the Debug Info for Notepad++ included both the Scintilla and Boost version numbers it uses?

    That would be nice. But unfortunately, none of us can be the one to put in the issue, otherwise it is likely to be ignored.



  • @PeterJones said in Wildcard in replace field:

    That would be nice.

    It would probably also be something a dev would have to remember to do by hand when it changes, instead of being automated, so it might be a poor idea anyway (I don’t trust the hoomans to remember to update these types of things).



  • Hi, @alan-kilborn, @peterjones, @ekopalypse, and All,

    Alan and Peter, thank you so much for these clarifications ;-)

    Although the last Boost regex 1.7.3 version is not used and that Notepad++ is build with Boost v1.7.0 since N++ v7.8.0, the differences between the search regex documentation of Boost versions v1.5.5 and v1.7.0, mentioned in my previous post, are identical and are still valid ;-))


    So, the good news is that our new regex library does support the Perl's backtracking control verbs. Woooow !! I’m quite eager to investigate this new side of regular expressions:-)) I will keep you informed of the interest of these new functions and will try to provide you with relevant examples for a better understanding

    As a result, I have also updated the FAQ contents !


    Now, while browsing the Boost C++ libraries website, I came across a thorny problem : when we speak of Boost v1.70.0, I think that it’s an abuse of language ! Because the strings 1.55.0 and 1.70.0 refer to a documentation version and NOT to a library version :-( Indeed :

    • Formerly, we were using the Boost-Regex library from the Boost-1.54.0 version of the Boost C++ libraries and we referred to its Boost 1.55.0 library documentation

    • Since Notepad v7.7, we’re using the Boost-Regex-5.1.3 library from the Boost-1.64.0 version of the Boost C++ libraries and we refer to its Boost 1.70.0 library documentation

    Refer to all these links, below. It’s a bit tricky !? Compare the different links, two by two

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_55_0/

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_70_0/

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_55_0/libs/regex/doc/html/index.html

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_70_0/libs/regex/doc/html/index.html

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_55_0/libs/regex/doc/html/boost_regex/background_information/history.html

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_70_0/libs/regex/doc/html/boost_regex/background/history.html


    Could you confirm my guesses ? TIA !

    Cheers,

    guy038

    P.S :

    The last version uses the Boost-Regex-5.1.4 library from the Boost-1.72.0 version of the Boost C++ libraries and refers to the Boost 1.73.0 library documentation

    See :

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_73_0/

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_73_0/libs/regex/doc/html/index.html

    https://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_73_0/libs/regex/doc/html/boost_regex/background/history.html



  • A big thank you to everyone who replied to my question offering help. @Alan-Kilborn’s suggestion seems to work perfectly.

    All the best to this great community!
    -Dax.


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