Shallow Thoughts : tags : regexp

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 20 Aug 2013

Using Google Maps with Python to turn a list of addresses into waypoints

A few days ago I tlaked about how I use making waypoint files for a list of house addresses is OsmAnd. For waypoint files, you need latitude/longitude coordinates, and I was getting those from a web page that used the online Google Maps API to convert an address into latitude and longitude coordinates.

It was pretty cool at first, but pasting every address into the latitude/longitude web page and then pasting the resulting coordinates into the address file, got old, fast. That's exactly the sort of repetitive task that computers are supposed to handle for us.

The lat/lon page used Javascript and the Google Maps API. and I already had a Google Maps API key (they have all sorts of fun APIs for map geeks) ... but I really wanted something that could run locally, reading and converting a local file.

And then I discovered the Python googlemaps package. Exactly what I needed! It's in the Python Package Index, so I installed it with pip install googlemaps. That enabled me to change my waymaker Python script: if the first line of a description wasn't a latitude and longitude, instead it looked for something that might be an address.

Addresses in my data files might be one line or might be two, but since they're all US addresses, I know they'll end with a two-capital-letter state abbreviation and a 5-digit zip code: 2948 W Main St. Anytown, NM 12345. You can find that with a regular expression:

    match = re.search('.*[A-Z]{2}\s+\d{5}$', line)

But first I needed to check whether the first line of the entry was already latitude/longitude coordinates, since I'd already converted some of my files. That uses another regular expression. Python doesn't seem to have a built-in way to search for generic numeric expressions (containing digits, decimal points or +/- symbols) so I made one, since I had to use it twice if I was searching for two numbers with whitespace between them.

    numeric = '[\+\-\d\.]'
    match = re.search('^(%s+)\s+(%s+)$' % (numeric, numeric),
                      line)
(For anyone who wants to quibble, I know the regular expression isn't perfect. For instance, it would match expressions like 23+48..6.1-64.5. Not likely to be a problem in these files, so I didn't tune it further.)

If the script doesn't find coordinates but does find something that looks like an address, it feeds the address into Google Maps and gets the resulting coordinates. That code looks like this:

from googlemaps import GoogleMaps

gmaps = GoogleMaps('YOUR GOOGLE MAPS API KEY HERE')
try:
    lat, lon = gmaps.address_to_latlng(addr)
except googlemaps.GoogleMapsError, e:
    print "Oh, no! Couldn't geocode", addr
    print e

Overall, a nice simple solution made possible with python-googlemaps. The full script is on github: waymaker.

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[ 11:24 Aug 20, 2013    More mapping | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Wed, 24 Jul 2013

Yet more on that comma-inserting regexp, plus a pattern to filter unprintable characters

One more brief followup on that comma inserting sed pattern and its followup:

$ echo 20130607215015 | sed ':a;s/\b\([0-9]\+\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)\b/\1,\2/;ta'
20,130,607,215,015

In the second article, I'd mentioned that the hardest part of the exercise was figuring out where we needed backslashes. Devdas (f3ew) asked on Twitter whether I would still need all the backslash escapes even if I put the pattern in a file -- in other worse, are the backslashes merely to get the shell to pass special characters unchanged?

A good question, and I suspected the need for some of the backslashes would disappear. So I tried this:

$ echo ':a;s/\b\([0-9]\+\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)\b/\1,\2/;ta' >/tmp/commas   
$ echo 20130607215015 | sed -f /tmp/commas

And it didn't work. No commas were inserted.

The problem, it turns out, is that my shell, zsh, changed both instances of \b to an ASCII backspace, ^H. Editing the file fixes that, and so does

$ echo -E ':a;s/\b\([0-9]\+\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)\b/\1,\2/;ta' >/tmp/commas   

But that only applies to echo: zsh doesn't do the \b -> ^H substitution in the original command, where you pass the string directly as a sed argument.

Okay, with that straightened out, what about Devdas' question?

Surprisingly, it turns out that all the backslashes are still needed. None of them go away when you echo > file, so they weren't there just to get special characters past the shell; and if you edit the file and try removing some of the backslashes, you'll see that the pattern no longer works. I had thought at least some of them, like the ones before the \{ \}, were extraneous, but even those are still needed.

Filtering unprintable characters

As long as I'm writing about regular expressions, I learned a nice little tidbit last week. I'm getting an increasing flood of Asian-language spams which my mail ISP doesn't filter out (they use spamassassin, which is pretty useless for this sort of filtering). I wanted a simple pattern I could pass to egrep (via procmail) that would filter out anything with a run of more than 4 unprintable characters in a row. [^[:print:]]{4,} should do it, but it wasn't working.

The problem, it turns out, is the definition of what's printable. Apparently when the default system character set is UTF-8, just about everything is considered printable! So the trick is that you need to set LC_ALL to something more restrictive, like C (which basically means ASCII) to before :print: becomes useful for language-based filtering. (Thanks to Mikachu for spotting the problem).

So in a terminal, you can do something like

LC_ALL=C egrep -v '[^[:print:]]' filename

In procmail it was a little harder; I couldn't figure out any way to change LC_ALL from a procmail recipe; the only solution I came up with was to add this to ~/.procmailrc:

export LC_ALL=C

It does work, though, and has cut the spam load by quite a bit.

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[ 18:35 Jul 24, 2013    More linux/cmdline | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Tue, 09 Jul 2013

Sed: insert commas into numbers, but in a smarter way

A few days ago I wrote about a nifty sed script to insert commas into numbers that I dissected with the help of Dana Jansens.

Once we'd figured it out, though, Dana thought this wasn't really the best solution. For instance, what if you have a file that has some numbers in it, but also has some digits mixed up with letters? Do you really want to insert commas into every string of digits? What if you have some license plates, like abc1234? Maybe it would be better to restrict the change to digits that stand by themselves and are obviously meant to be numbers. How much harder would that be?

More regexp fun! We kicked it around a bit, and came up with a solution:

$ echo abc20130607215015 | sed ':a;s/\B[0-9]\{3\}\>/,&/;ta'
abc20,130,607,215,015
$ echo abc20130607215015 | sed ':a;s/\b\([0-9]\+\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)\b/\1,\2/;ta'
abc20130607215015
$ echo 20130607215015 | sed ':a;s/\b\([0-9]\+\)\([0-9]\{3\}\)\b/\1,\2/;ta'   
20,130,607,215,015

Breaking that down: \b is any word boundary -- you could also use \< to indicate that it's the start of a word, much like \> was the end of a word.

\([0-9]\+\) is any string of one or more digits, taken as a group. The \( \) part marks it as a group so we'll be able to use it later.

\([0-9]\{3\}\) is a string of exactly three digits: again, we're using \( \) to mark it as our second numbered group.

\b is another word boundary (we could use \>), to indicate that the group of three digits must come at the end of a word, with only whitespace or punctuation following it.

/\1,\2/: once we've matched the pattern -- a word break, one or more digits, three digits and another word break -- we'll replace it with this. \1 matches the first group we found -- that was the string of one or more digits. \2 matches the second group, the final trio of digits. And there's a comma in between. We use the same :a; ;ta trick as in the first example to loop around until there are no more triplets to match.

The hardest part of this was figuring out what needed to be escaped with backslashes. The one that really surprised me was the \+. Although * works in sed the same way it does in other programs, matching zero or more repetitions of the preceding pattern, sed uses \+ rather than + for one or more repetitions. It took us some fiddling to find all the places we needed backslashes.

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[ 20:16 Jul 09, 2013    More linux/cmdline | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sun, 07 Jul 2013

Inserting commas into numbers with sed

Carla Schroder's recent article, More Great Linux Awk, Sed, and Bash Tips and Tricks , had a nifty sed command I hadn't seen before to take a long number and insert commas appropriately:

sed -i ':a;s/\B[0-9]\{3\}\gt;/,&/;ta' numbers.txt
. Or, if you don't have a numbers.txt file, you can do something like
echo 20130607215015 | sed ':a;s/\B[0-9]\{3\}\>/,&/;ta'
(I dropped the -i since that's for doing in-place edits of a file).

Nice! But why does it work? It would be easy enough to insert commas after every third number, but that doesn't work unless the number of digits is a multiple of three. In other words, you don't want 20130607215015 to become 201,306,072,150,15 (note how the last group only has two digits); it has to count in threes from the right if you want to end up with 20,130,607,215,015.

Carla's article didn't explain it, and neither did any of the other sites I found that mentioned this trick.

So, with some help from regexp wizard Dana Jansens (of OpenBox fame), I've broken it down into more easily understood bits.

Labels and loops

The first thing to understand is that this is actually several sed commands. I was familiar with sed's basic substitute command, s/from/to/. But what's the rest of it? The semicolons separate the commands, so the whole sed script is:

:a
s/\B[0-9]\{3\}\>/,&/
ta

What this does is set up a label called a. It tries to do the substitute command, and if the substitute succeeds (if something was changed), then ta tells it to loop back around to label a, the beginning of the script.

So let's look at that substitute command.

The substitute

Sed's s/from/to/ (like the equivalent command in vim and many other programs) looks for the first instance of the from pattern and replaces it with the to pattern. So we're searching for \B[0-9]\{3\}\> and replacing it with ,&/

Clear as mud, right? Well, the to pattern is easy: & matches whatever we just substituted (from), so this just sticks a comma in front of ... something.

The from pattern, \B[0-9]\{3\}\>, is a bit more challenging. Let's break down the various groups:

\B
Matches anything that is not a word boundary.
[0-9]
Matches any digit.
\{3\}
Matches three repetitions of whatever precedes it (in this case, a digit).
\>
Matches a word boundary at the end of a word. This was the hardest part to figure out, because no sed documentation anywhere bothers to mention this pattern. But Dana knew it as a vim pattern, and it turns out it does the same thing in sed even though the docs don't say so.

Okay, put them together, and the whole pattern matches any three digits that are not preceded by a word boundary but which are at the end of a word (i.e. they're followed by a word boundary).

Cool! So in our test number, 20130607215015, this matches the last three digits, 015. It doesn't match any of the other digits because they're not followed by a word end boundary.

So the substitute will insert a comma before the last three numbers. Let's test that:

$ echo 20130607215015 | sed 's/\B[0-9]\{3\}\>/,&/'
20130607215,015

Sure enough!

How the loop works

So the substitution pattern just adds the last comma. Once the comma is inserted, the ta tells sed to go back to the beginning (label :a) and do it again.

The second time, the comma that was just inserted is now a word boundary, so the pattern matches the three digits before the comma, 215, and inserts another comma before them. Let's make sure:

$ echo 20130607215,015 | sed 's/\B[0-9]\{3\}\>/,&/'
20130607,215,015

So that's how the pattern manages to match triplets from right to left.

Dana later commented that this wasn't really the best solution -- what if the string of digits is attached to other characters and isn't really a number? I'll cover that in a separate article in a few days. Update: Here's the smarter pattern, Sed: insert commas into numbers, but in a smarter way.

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[ 13:14 Jul 07, 2013    More linux/cmdline | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sat, 19 Jan 2013

Converting C to Python with a vi regexp

I'm fiddling with a serial motor controller board, trying to get it working with a Raspberry Pi. (It works nicely with an Arduino, but one thing I'm learning is that everything hardware-related is far easier with Arduino than with RPi.)

The excellent Arduino library helpfully provided by Pololu has a list of all the commands the board understands. Since it's Arduino, they're in C++, and look something like this:

#define QIK_GET_FIRMWARE_VERSION         0x81
#define QIK_GET_ERROR_BYTE               0x82
#define QIK_GET_CONFIGURATION_PARAMETER  0x83
[ ... ]
#define QIK_CONFIG_DEVICE_ID                        0
#define QIK_CONFIG_PWM_PARAMETER                    1
and so on.

On the Arduino side, I'd prefer to use Python, so I need to get them to look more like:

    QIK_GET_FIRMWARE_VERSION = 0x81
    QIK_GET_ERROR_BYTE = 0x82
    QIK_GET_CONFIGURATION_PARAMETER = 0x83
[ ... ]
    QIK_CONFIG_DEVICE_ID = 0
    QIK_CONFIG_PWM_PARAMETER = 1
... and so on ... with an indent at the beginning of each line since I want this to be part of a class.

There are 32 #defines, so of course, I didn't want to make all those changes by hand. So I used vim. It took a little fiddling -- mostly because I'd forgotten that vim doesn't offer + to mean "one or more repetitions", so I had to use * instead. Here's the expression I ended up with:

.,$s/\#define *\([A-Z0-9_]*\) *\(.*\)/ \1 = \2/

In English, you can read this as:

From the current line to the end of the file (,.$/), look for a pattern consisting of only capital letters, digits and underscores ([A-Z0-9_]). Save that as expression #1 (\( \)). Skip over any spaces, then take the rest of the line (.*), and call it expression #2 (\( \)).

Then replace all that with a new line consisting of 4 spaces, expression 1, a spaced-out equals sign, and expression 2 ( \1 = \2).

Who knew that all you needed was a one-line regular expression to translate C into Python?

(Okay, so maybe it's not quite that simple. Too bad a regexp won't handle the logic inside the library as well, and the pin assignments.)

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[ 20:38 Jan 19, 2013    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sun, 18 Dec 2011

Convert patterns in only some lines to title case

A friend had a fun problem: she had some XML files she needed to import into GNUcash, but the program that produced them left names in all-caps and she wanted them more readable. So she'd have a file like this:

<STMTTRN>
   <TRNTYPE>DEBIT
   <DTPOSTED>20111125000000[-5:EST]
   <TRNAMT>-22.71
   <FITID>****

   <NAME>SOME    COMPANY
   <MEMO>SOME COMPANY    ANY TOWN   CA 11-25-11 330346
</STMTTRN>
and wanted to change the NAME and MEMO lines to read Some Company and Any Town. However, the tags, like <NAME>, all had to remain upper case, and presumably so did strings like DEBIT. How do you change just the NAME and MEMO lines from upper case to title case?

The obvious candidate to do string substitutes is sed. But there are several components to the problem.

Addresses

First, how do you ensure the replacement only happens on lines with NAME and MEMO?

sed lets you specify address ranges for just that purpose. If you say sed 's/xxx/yyy/' sed will change all xxx's to yyy; but if you say sed '/NAME/s/xxx/yyy/' then sed will only do that substitution on lines containing NAME.

But we need this to happen on lines that contain either NAME or MEMO. How do you do that? With \|, like this: sed '/\(NAME\|MEMO\)/s/xxx/yyy/'

Converting to title case

Next, how do you convert upper case to lower case? There's a sed command for that: \L. Run sed 's/.*/\L&/' and type some upper and lower case characters, and they'll all be converted to lower-case.

But here we want title case -- we want most of each word converted to lowercase, but the first letter should stay uppercase. That means we need to detect a word and figure out which is the first letter.

In the strings we're considering, a word is a set of letters A through Z with one of the following characteristics:

  1. It's preceded by a space
  2. It's preceded by a close-angle-bracket, >

So the pattern /[ >][A-Z]*/ will match anything we consider a word that might need conversion.

But we need to separate the first letter and the rest of the word, so we can treat them separately. sed's \( \) operators will let us do that. The pattern \([ >][A-Z]\) finds the first letter of a word (including the space or > preceding it), and saves that as its first matched pattern, \1. Then \([A-Z]*\) right after it will save the rest of the word as \2.

So, taking our \L case converter, we can convert to title case like this: sed 's/\([ >][A-Z]\)\([A-Z]*\)/\1\L\2/g

Starting to look long and scary, right? But it's not so bad if you build it up gradually from components. I added a g on the end to tell sed this is a global replace: do the operation on every word it finds in the line, otherwise it will only make the substitution once, on the first word it sees, then quit.

Putting it together

So we know how to seek out specific lines, and how to convert to title case. Put the two together, and you get the final command:

sed '/\(NAME\|MEMO\)/s/\([ >][A-Z]\)\([A-Z]*\)/\1\L\2/g'

I ran it on the test input, and it worked just fine.

For more information on sed, a good place to start is the sed regular expressions manual.

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[ 13:13 Dec 18, 2011    More linux/cmdline | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Tue, 15 Mar 2011

Using grep to solve another Cartalk puzzler

It's another episode of "How to use Linux to figure out CarTalk puzzlers"! This time you don't even need any programming.

Last week's puzzler was A Seven-Letter Vacation Curiosity. Basically, one couple hiking in Northern California and another couple carousing in Florida both see something described by a seven-letter word containing all five vowels -- but the two things they saw were very different. What's the word?

That's an easy one to solve using basic Linux command-line skills -- assuming the word is in the standard dictionary. If it's some esoteric word, all bets are off. But let's try it and see. It's a good beginning exercise in regular expressions and how to use the command line.

There's a handy word list in /usr/share/dict/words, one word per line. Depending on what packages you have installed, you may have bigger dictionaries handy, but you can usually count on /usr/share/dict/words being there on any Linux system. Some older Unix systems may have it in /usr/dict/words instead.

We need a way to choose all seven letter words. That's easy. In a regular expression, . (a dot) matches one letter. So ....... (seven dots) matches any seven letters.

(There's a more direct way to do that: the expression .\{7\} will also match 7 letters, and is really a better way. But personally, I find it harder both to remember and to type than the seven dots. Still, if you ever need to match 43 characters, or 114, it's good to know the "right" syntax.)

Fine, but if you grep ....... /usr/share/dict/words you get a list of words with seven or more letters. See why? It's because grep prints any line where it finds a match -- and a word with nine letters certainly contains seven letters within it.

The pattern you need to search for is '^.......$' -- the up-caret ^ matches the beginning of a line, and the dollar sign $ matches the end. Put single quotes around the pattern so the shell won't try to interpret the caret or dollar sign as special characters. (When in doubt, it's always safest to put single quotes around grep patterns.)

So now we can view all seven-letter words: grep '^.......$' /usr/share/dict/words
How do we choose only the ones that contain all the letters a e i o and u?

That's easy enough to build up using pipelines, using the pipe character | to pipe the output of one grep into a different grep. grep '^.......$' /usr/share/dict/words | grep a sends that list of 7-letter words through another grep command to make sure you only see words containing an a.

Now tack a grep for each of the other letters on the end, the same way:
grep '^.......$' /usr/share/dict/words | grep a | grep e | grep i | grep o | grep u

Voilà! I won't spoil the puzzler, but there are two words that match, and one of them is obviously the answer.

The power of the Unix command line to the rescue!

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[ 10:00 Mar 15, 2011    More linux/cmdline | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Mon, 29 Mar 2010

Non-greedy regular expressions to clean up crappy autogenerated HTML

I maintain the websites for several clubs. No surprise there -- anyone with even a moderate knowledge of HTML, or just a lack of fear of it, invariably gets drafted into that job in any non-computer club.

In one club, the person in charge of scheduling sends out an elaborate document every three months in various formats -- Word, RTF, Excel, it's different each time. The only regularity is that it's always full of crap that makes it hard to turn it into a nice simple HTML table.

This quarter, the formats were Word and RTF. I used unrtf to turn the RTF version into HTML -- and found a horrifying page full of lines like this:

<body><font size=3></font><font size=3><br>
</font><font size=3></font><b><font size=4></font></b><b><font size=4><table border=2>
</font></b><b><font size=4><tr><td><b><font size=4><font face="Arial">Club Schedule</font></font></b><b><font size=4></font></b><b><font size=4></font></b></td>
<font size=3></font><font size=3><td><font size=3><b><font face="Arial">April 13</font></b></font><font size=3></font><font size=3><br>
</font><font size=3></font><font size=3><b></b></font></td>
I've put the actual page content in bold; the rest is just junk, mostly doing nothing, mostly not even legal HTML, that needs to be eliminated if I want the page to load and display reasonably.

I didn't want to clean up that mess by hand! So I needed some regular expressions to clean it up in an editor. I tried emacs first, but emacs makes it hard to try an expression then modify it a little when the first try doesn't work, so I switched to vim.

The key to this sort of cleanup is non-greedy regular expressions. When you have a bad tag sandwiched in the middle of a line containing other tags, you want to remove everything from the <font through the next > -- but no farther, or else you'll delete real content. If you have a line like

<td><font size=3>Hello<font> world</td>
you only want to delete through the <font>, not through the </td>.

In general, you make a regular expression non-greedy by adding a ? after the wildcard -- e.g. <font.*?>. But that doesn't work in vim. In vim, you have to use \{M,N} which matches from M to N repetitions of whatever immediately precedes it. You can also use the shortcut \{-} to mean the same thing as *? (0 or more matches) in other programs.

Using that, I built up a series of regexp substitutes to clean up that unrtf mess in vim:

:%s/<\/\{0,1}font.\{-}>//g
:%s/<b><\/b>//g
:%s/<\/b><b>//g
:%s/<\/i><i>//g
:%s/<td><\/td>/<td><br><\/td>/g
:%s/<\/\{0,1}span.\{-}>//g
:%s/<\/\{0,1}center>//g

That took care of 90% of the work, leaving me with hardly any cleanup I needed to do by hand. I'll definitely keep that list around for the next time I need to do this.

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[ 22:02 Mar 29, 2010    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sun, 12 Oct 2008

More fun with regexps: Adding "[no output]" in shell logs

Someone on LinuxChix' techtalk list asked whether she could get tcsh to print "[no output]" after any command that doesn't produce output, so that when she makes logs to help her co-workers, they will seem clearer.

I don't know of a way to do that in any shell (the shell would have to capture the output of every command; emacs' shell-mode does that but I don't think any real shells do) but it seemed like it ought to be straightforward enough to do as a regular expression substitute in vi. You're looking for lines where a line beginning with a prompt is followed immediately by another line beginning with a prompt; the goal is to insert a new line consisting only of "[no output]" between the two lines.

It turned out to be pretty easy in vim. Here it is:

:%s/\(^% .*$\n\)\(% \)/\1[no results]\r\2/

Explanation:

:
starts a command
%
do the following command on every line of this file
s/
start a global substitute command
\(
start a "capture group" -- you'll see what it does soon
^
match only patterns starting at the beginning of a line
%
look for a % followed by a space (your prompt)
.*
after the prompt, match any other characters until...
$
the end of the line, after which...
\n
there should be a newline character
\)
end the capture group after the newline character
\(
start a second capture group
%
look for another prompt. In other words, this whole
expression will only match when a line starting with a prompt
is followed immediately by another line starting with a prompt.
\)
end the second capture group
/
We're finally done with the mattern to match!
Now we'll start the replacement pattern.
\1
Insert the full content of the first capture group
(this is also called a "backreference" if you want
to google for a more detailed explanation).
So insert the whole first command up to the newline
after it.
[no results]
After the newline, insert your desired string.
\r
insert a carriage return here (I thought this should be
\n for a newline, but that made vim insert a null instead)
\2
insert the second capture group (that's just the second prompt)
/
end of the substitute pattern

Of course, if you have a different prompt, substitute it for "% ". If you have a complicated prompt that includes time of day or something, you'll have to use a slightly more complicated match pattern to match it.

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[ 13:34 Oct 12, 2008    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sun, 31 Aug 2008

Useful shell pipeline: Who checks in how much?

I wanted to get a list of who'd been contributing the most in a particular open source project. Most projects of any size have a ChangeLog file, in which check-ins have entries like this:
2008-08-26  Jane Hacker  <hacker@domain.org>

        * src/app/print.c: make sure the Portrait and Landscape
        * buttons update according to the current setting.

I wanted to take each entry, save the name of the developer checking in, then eventually count the number of times each name occurs (the number of times that developer checked in) and print them in order from most check-ins to least.

Getting the names is easy: for check-ins in the last 9 years, I just want the lines that start with "200". (Of course, if I wanted earlier check-ins I could make the match more general.)

grep "^200" ChangeLog

But now I want to trim the line so it includes only the contributor's name. A bit of sed geekery can do that: the date is a fixed format (four characters, a dash, two, dash, two, then two spaces, so "^....-..-.. " matches that pattern.

But I want to remove the email address part too (sometimes people use different email addresses when they check in). So I want a sed pattern that will match something at the front (to discard), something in the middle (keep that part) and something at the end (discard).

Here's how to do that in sed:

grep "^200" ChangeLog | sed 's/^....-..-..  \(.*\)<.*$/\1/'
In English, that says: "For each line in the ChangeLog that starts with 200, find a pattern at the beginning consisting of any four characters, a dash, two characters, dash, two characters, dash, and two spaces; then immediately after that, save all characters up to a < symbol; then throw away the < and any characters that follow until the end of the line."

That works pretty well! But it's not quite right: it includes the two spaces after the name as part of the name. In sed, \s matches any space character (like space or tab). So you'd think this should work:

grep "^200" ChangeLog | sed 's/^....-..-..  \(.*\)\s+<.*$/\1/'
\s+ means it will require that at least one and maybe more space characters immediately before the < are also discarded. But it doesn't work. It turns out the reason is that the \(.*\) expression is "greedier" than the \s+: so the saved name expression grabs the first space, leaving only the second to the \s+.

The way around that is to make the name expression specify that it can't end with a space. \S is the term for "anything that's not a space character"; so the expression becomes

grep "^200" ChangeLog | sed 's/^....-..-..  \(.*\S\)\s\+<.*$/\1/'
(the + turned out to need a backslash before it).

We have the list of names! Add a | sort on the end to sort them alphabetically -- that will make sure you get all the "Jane Hacker" lines listed together. But how to count them? The Unix program most frequently invoked after sort is uniq, which gets rid of all the repeated lines. On a hunch, I checked out the man page, man uniq, and found the -c option: "prefix lines by the number of occurrences". Perfect! Then just sort them by the number, from largest to smallest:

grep "^200" ChangeLog | sed 's/^....-..-..  \(.*\S\)\s+<.*$/\1/' | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn
And we're done!

Now, this isn't perfect since it doesn't catch "Checking in patch contributed by susan@otherhost.com" attributions -- but those aren't in a standard format in most projects, so they have to be handled by hand.

Disclaimer: Of course, number of check-ins is not a good measure of how important or productive someone is. You can check in a lot of one-line fixes, or you can write an important new module and submit it for someone else to merge in. The point here wasn't to rank developers, but just to get an idea who was checking into the tree and how often.

Well, that ... and an excuse to play with nifty Linux shell pipelines.

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[ 11:12 Aug 31, 2008    More linux | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Thu, 20 Dec 2007

Smart Wrapping with Greedy and Non-Greedy Regular Expressions

I had a chance to spend a day at the AGU conference last week. The American Geophysical Union is a fabulous conference -- something like 14,000 different talks over the course of the week, on anything related to earth or planetary sciences -- geology, solar system astronomy, atmospheric science, geophysics, geochemistry, you name it.

I have no idea how regular attendees manage the information overload of deciding which talks to attend. I wasn't sure how I would, either, but I started by going through the schedule for the day I'd be there, picking out a (way too long) list of potentially interesting talks, and saving them as lines in a file.

Now I had a file full of lines like:

1020      U22A    MS 303  Terrestrial Impact Cratering: New Insights Into the Cratering Process From Geophysics and Geochemistry II
Fine, except that I couldn't print out something like that -- printers stop at 80 columns. I could pass it through a program like "fold" to wrap the long lines, but then it would be hard to scan through quickly to find the talk titles and room numbers. What I really wanted was to wrap it so that the above line turned into something like:
1020      U22A    MS 303  Terrestrial Impact Cratering: New Insights
                          Into the Cratering Process From Geophysics
                          and Geochemistry II
But how to do that? I stared at it for a while, trying to figure out whether there was a clever vim substitute that could handle it. I asked on a couple of IRC channels, just in case there was some amazing Linux smart-wrap utility I'd never heard of. I was on the verge of concluding that the answer was no, and that I'd have to write a python script to do the wrapping I wanted, when Mikael emitted a burst of line noise:
%s/\(.\{72\}\)\(.*\)/\1^M^I^I^I\2/

Only it wasn't line noise. Seems Mikael just happened to have been reading about some of the finer points of vim regular expressions earlier that day, and he knew exactly the trick I needed -- that .\{72\}, which matches lines that are at least 72 characters long. And amazingly, that expression did something very close to what I wanted.

Or at least the first step of it. It inserts the first line break, turning my line into

1020      U22A    MS 303  Terrestrial Impact Cratering: New Insights
                          Into the Cratering Process From Geophysics and Geochemistry II
but I still needed to wrap the second and subsequent lines.

But that was an easier problem -- just do essentially the same thing again, but limit it to only lines starting with a tab. After some tweaking, I arrived at exactly what I wanted:

%s/^\(.\{,65\}\) \(.*\)/\1^M^I^I^I\2/

%g/^^I^I^I.\{58\}/s/^\(.\{,55\}\) \(.*\)/\1^M^I^I^I\2/
I had to run the second line two or three times to wrap the very long lines.

Devdas helpfully translated the second one into English: "You have 3 tabs, followed by 58 characters, out of which you match the first 55 and put that bit in $1, and the capture the remaining in $2, and rewrite to $1 newline tab tab tab $2."

Here's a more detailed breakdown:

Line one:
% Do this over the whole file
s/ Begin global substitute
^ Start at the beginning of the line
\( Remember the result of the next match
.\{,65\}_ Look for up to 65 characters with a space at the end
\) \( End of remembered pattern #1, skip a space, and start remembered pattern #2
.*\) Pattern #2 includes everything to the end of the line
/ End of matched pattern; begin replacement pattern
\1^M Insert saved pattern #1 (the first 65 lines ending with a space) followed by a newline
^I^I^I\2 On the second line, insert three tabs then saved pattern #2
/ End replacement pattern

Line two:
%g/ Over the whole file, only operate on lines with this pattern
^^I^I^I Lines starting with three tabs
.\{58\}/ After the tabs, only match lines that still have at least 58 characters (this guards against wrapping already wrapped lines when it's run repeatedly)
s/ Begin global substitute
^ Start at the beginning of the line
\( Remember the result of the next match
.\{,55\} Up to 55 characters
\) \( End of remembered pattern #1, skip a space, and start remembered pattern #2
.*\) Pattern #2 includes everything to the end of the line
/ End of matched pattern; begin replacement pattern
\1^M The first pattern (up to 55 chars) is one line
^I^I^I\2 Three tabs then the second pattern
/ End replacement pattern

Greedy and non-greedy brace matches

The real key is those curly-brace expressions, \{,65\} and \{58\} -- that's how you control how many characters vim will match and whether or not the match is "greedy". Here's how they work (thanks to Mikael for explaining).

The basic expression is {M,N} -- it means between M and N matches of whatever precedes it. (Vim requires that the first brace be escaped -- \{}. Escaping the second brace is optional.) So .{M,N} can match anything between M and N characters but "prefer" N, i.e. try to match as many as possible up to N. To make it "non-greedy" (match as few as possible, "preferring" M), use .{-M,N}

You can leave out M, N, or both; M defaults to 0 while N defaults to infinity. So {} is short for {0,∞} and is equivalent to *, while {-} means {-0,∞}, like a non-greedy version of *.

Given the string: one, two, three, four, five
,.\{}, matches , two, three, four,
,.\{-}, matches , two,
,.\{5,}, matches , two, three, four,
,.\{-5,}, matches , two, three,
,.\{,2}, matches nothing
,.\{,7}, matches , two,
,.\{5,7}, matches , three,

Of course, this syntax is purely for vim; regular expressions are unfortunately different in sed, perl and every other program. Here's a fun table of regexp terms in various programs.

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[ 11:44 Dec 20, 2007    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sun, 14 May 2006

Linkifying with Regular Expressions

I had a page of plaintext which included some URLs in it, like this:
Tour of the Hayward Fault
http://www.mcs.csuhayward.edu/~shirschf/tour-1.html

Technical Reports on Hayward Fault
http://quake.usgs.gov/research/geology/docs/lienkaemper_docs06.htm

I wanted to add links around each of the urls, so that I could make it part of a web page, more like this:

Tour of the Hayward Fault
http://www.mcs.csu hayward.edu/~shirschf/tour-1.html

Technical Reports on Hayward Fault
htt p://quake.usgs.gov/research/geology/docs/lienkaemper_docs06.htm

Surely there must be a program to do this, I thought. But I couldn't find one that was part of a standard Linux distribution.

But you can do a fair job of linkifying just using a regular expression in an editor like vim or emacs, or by using sed or perl from the commandline. You just need to specify the input pattern you want to change, then how you want to change it.

Here's a recipe for linkifying with regular expressions.

Within vim:

:%s_\(https\=\|ftp\)://\S\+_<a href="&">&</a>_

If you're new to regular expressions, it might be helpful to see a detailed breakdown of why this works:

:
Tell vim you're about to type a command.
%
The following command should be applied everywhere in the file.
s_
Do a global substitute, and everything up to the next underscore will represent the pattern to match.
\(
This will be a list of several alternate patterns.
http
If you see an "http", that counts as a match.
s\=
Zero or one esses after the http will match: so http and https are okay, but httpsssss isn't.
\|
Here comes another alternate pattern that you might see instead of http or https.
ftp
URLs starting with ftp are okay too.
\)
We're done with the list of alternate patterns.
://
After the http, https or ftp there should always be a colon-slash-slash.
\S
After the ://, there must be a character which is not whitespace.
\+
There can be any number of these non-whitespace characters as long as there's at least one. Keep matching until you see a space.
_
Finally, the underscore that says this is the end of the pattern to match. Next (until the final underscore) will be the expression which will replace the pattern.
<a href="&">
An ampersand, &, in a substitute expression means "insert everything that was in the original pattern". So the whole url will be inserted between the quotation marks.
&</a>
Now, outside the <a href="..."> tag, insert the matched url again, and follow it with a </a> to close the tag.
_
The final underscore which says "this is the end of the replacement pattern". We're done!

Linkifying from the commandline using sed

Sed is a bit trickier: it doesn't understand \S for non-whitespace, nor = for "zero or one occurrence". But this expression does the trick:
sed -e 's_\(http\|https\|ftp\)://[^ \t]\+_<a href="&">&</a>_' <infile.txt >outfile.html

Addendum: George Riley tells me about VST for Vim 7, which looks like a nice package to linkify, htmlify, and various other useful things such as creating HTML presentations. I don't have Vim 7 yet, but once I do I'll definitely check out VST.

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[ 12:40 May 14, 2006    More linux/editors | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Mon, 10 Oct 2005

How to Search Your Mozilla Cache

Ever want to look for something in your browser cache, but when you go there, it's just a mass of oddly named files and you can't figure out how to find anything?

(Sure, for whole pages you can use the History window, but what if you just want to find an image you saw this morning that isn't there any more?)

Here's a handy trick.

First, change directory to your cache directory (e.g. $HOME/.mozilla/firefox/blahblah/Cache).

Next, list the files of the type you're looking for, in the order in which they were last modified, and save that list to a file. Like this:

% file `ls -1t` | grep JPEG | sed 's/: .*//' > /tmp/foo

In English: ls -t lists in order of modification date, and -1 ensures that the files will be listed one per line. Pass that through grep for the right pattern (do a file * to see what sorts of patterns get spit out), then pass that through sed to get rid of everything but the filename. Save the result to a temporary file.

The temp file now contains the list of cache files of the type you want, ordered with the most recent first. You can now search through them to find what you want. For example, I viewed them with Pho:

pho `cat /tmp/foo`
For images, use whatever image viewer you normally use; if you're looking for text, you can use grep or whatever search you lke. Alternately, you could ls -lt `cat foo` to see what was modified when and cut down your search a bit further, or any other additional paring you need.

Of course, you don't have to use the temp file at all. I could have said simply:

pho `ls -1t` | grep JPEG | sed 's/: .*//'`
Making the temp file is merely for your convenience if you think you might need to do several types of searches before you find what you're looking for.

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[ 21:40 Oct 10, 2005    More tech/web | permalink to this entry | comments ]

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