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Old 02-15-2011, 10:40 AM   #1
bfollowell
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Help with regular expression search/replace

When converting ebooks from any format for use on my Kindle, I always convert to epub first and do any editing or cleanup in Sigil before the final conversion to mobi. A common problem I run into when converting files from one format or another to epub is left or right quotes with no space between them and the preceding or following character. An extra space is easy to find but any other character is not so easy to find.

I'm thinking there should be a way to search for these occurrences with a regular expression but I'm not familiar enough with them to come up with one that works. I've tried and haven't had much luck so far.

Would anyone out there more familiar with regular expressions be able to assist me? Basically, I want to be able to find any string where anycharacterexceptspace/“ or ”/anycharacterexceptspace and be able to replace it with anycharacterexceptspace/ “ or ” /anycharacterexceptspace.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

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Old 02-15-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfollowell View Post

Would anyone out there more familiar with regular expressions be able to assist me? Basically, I want to be able to find any string where anycharacterexceptspace/“ or ”/anycharacterexceptspace and be able to replace it with anycharacterexceptspace/ “ or ” /anycharacterexceptspace.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

- Byron
My 'cheat sheet' says \S (capital S )
match any Except white space
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
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IINM, \S will match '<' from </p> at the end of each paragraph.

I think \w should work, it matches any alphanumeric character (plus _ ).

So:
Find: ”([\w.,?!])
Replace with: ” \1

i.e. find ” followed by a word character OR . OR , OR ? OR !


And:
Find: ([\w.,?!])“
Replace with: \1 “
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:47 AM   #4
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my fix - just looks for A-Z or for a-z as needed
no space following quotes
find "([A_Z])
replace " \1

vary the above as needed. To ensure I search for the right sort of quote I copy / paste a quote mark from the code view into the find box
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:10 AM   #5
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Just a question, why would you want a space between a quote mark and the text? You have to be careful that your xhtml tags are not changed as well.
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:17 AM   #6
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i think because "this" is "correct" grammar but"this"is"wrong".
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:59 AM   #7
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Ah, is see. But you have to be careful you don't get thing like:

Then he said: " What is this? "

or

<p class=" stylish " >

That is one reason why I use smart/curly quotes. Another is that I really like those quotes and feel that straight quotes have a different meaning.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:12 AM   #8
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Note that Ahmad Samir used curly quotes in his expressions.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Note that Ahmad Samir used curly quotes in his expressions.
yes, the solutions given only work if open quote looks different to / can be distinguished from closing quote

and quotes within quotes is a whole new ball game!
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
yes, the solutions given only work if open quote looks different to / can be distinguished from closing quote

and quotes within quotes is a whole new ball game!
This situation can be handled fairly easily using recursion to match opening and closing quotes.

I don't know if the regular expression engine in the text editor TextMate is the same as the one in Sigil. But the following regular expression will find a string consisting of an entire html element in TextMate.

<\?xml[^>]+>|<!DOCTYPE(?:[^\]]*]>|[^>]*>)|<[^/ >]+[^>]*/>|<(?<tagname>[^/ >]+)[^>]*>(?<!/>)(?<html>[^<]|<[^/ >]+[^>]*/>|<(?<tagname>[^/ >]+)[^>]*>(?<!/>)\g<html>*</\k<tagname+0>>)*</\k<tagname+0>>


example: take the following string of text.

<p>This is an <i>example</i> paragraph.</p><p>This is a second paragraph.</p>

If the cursor is at the beginning of the text, the regular expression will match <p>This is an <i>example</i> paragraph.</p>. If the cursor is after the first < and not after the second <, it will match <i>example</i>. If the cursor is after the second <, it will match <p>This is a second paragraph.</p>

In other words, it matches the first opening html tag encountered with its appropriate closing tag. But it will only work on properly formatted html. For example, in this improperly formatted html string

<p>This is the first paragraph<p>This is the second paragraph</p>

it will not match the first paragraph because the first closing tag </p> is missing.

The regular expression can handle tags that close themselves like <p/> or <div/> or <link href="my.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet"/> or <a name="chap4" id="chap4"/>.

Last edited by Funslinger; 06-20-2013 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:18 PM   #11
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This will do it:
[^ ]“
where the quote mark is a left curly quote. The key is that a leading caret inside square brackets means "anything but", so we have "match anything but a space, followed by a left curly quote", just as the OP asked.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:28 PM   #12
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Let's say the ePub has a line such as...

This will be a <span class="smallcaps">TEST</span>. This is a <span class="smallcaps">TEST</span>. This is no longer a <span class="smallcaps">TEST</span>.

Notice we have three spans. What I want to do is select each span individually. Can this be done? I want to take the contents of span #1 and span #3 and make them lowercase and leave span #2 alone.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:36 PM   #13
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if all the spans are on the same line you could use the one below. if there are more than 3 spans it captures the first 3, then the next 3. if there are 5 it captures only the first 3.

i think i'd recommend not doing this with regex though.

Code:
find:
(?<=<span class="smallcaps">)([^<\n]+)(</span>[^<\n]*)(<span class="smallcaps">)([^<\n]+)(</span>[^<\n]*)(<span class="smallcaps">)([^<]+)(?=</span>)

replace:
\1\2\3\4\5\6\7
where you'd perform operations on \1, \4 and \7. so given

Code:
This will be a <span class="smallcaps">TEST</span>. This is a <span class="smallcaps">TEST</span>. This is no longer a <span class="smallcaps">TEST</span>.

Code:
first\2\3second\5\6third

This will be a <span class="smallcaps">first</span>. This is a <span class="smallcaps">second</span>. This is no longer a <span class="smallcaps">third</span>.
i'd initially grouped the first <span class="smallcaps"> in the lookahead and then inserted it like \2\3\1\4\5\1\6 but apparently sigil didn't like reusing the backreference. possibly a bug?

--edit

also the ([^<\n]+) is strange to me in that i had to include the \n so that it didn't match across lines. not sure why this is, though.

Last edited by mzmm; 06-20-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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