pypyr.steps.filereplace permalink

find & replace arbitrary strings in a file permalink

Parses input text file and replaces any given search strings.

The other fileformat steps, by way of contradistinction, uses string formatting expressions inside {braces} to format values against the pypyr context.

This step, however, lets you find any arbitrary search string and replace it with any replacement string. This is especially handy if you are working with a file where curly braces aren’t helpful for a formatting expression - e.g inside a .js or a terraform .ts file. filereplace is more useful than fileformat when you do not control the input file format and you have to replace strings as they are in the given file.

Example input context:

  in: ./infile.txt
  out: ./outfile.txt
    findmestring: replacewithme
    findanotherstring: replacewithanotherstring
    alaststring: alastreplacement

See a worked example of filereplace.

multiple files & globs permalink

fileReplace expects the following context keys:

  • fileReplace
    • in
      • Mandatory path(s) to source file on disk.
      • This can be a string path to a single file, or a glob, or a list of paths and/or globs.
      • Each path can be a glob, a relative or absolute path.
    • out (optional)
      • Write output file to here. Will create directories in path if these do not exist already.
    • replacePairs
      • dictionary where format is:
        • 'find string': 'replace string'

See file format settings for more examples on in/out path handling - the same processing rules apply.

Here is an example with globs in a list. You can also pass a single glob as in directly as a string, not in a list.

    # ** recurses sub-dirs per usual globbing
    - ./testfiles/replace/sub/**
    - ./testfiles/replace/*.ext
  # note the dir separator at the end.
  # since >1 in files, out can only be a dir.
  out: ./out/replace/
      findmestring: replacewithme

If you do not specify out, it will over-write (i.e edit) all the files specified by in.

  # in-place edit/overwrite all the files in
  in: ./infile.txt
    findmestring: replacewithme

The file in and out paths support substitutions.

replace with substitution expressions permalink

fileReplace also does substitutions from context on the replacePairs for both the search string and the replacement string. pypyr does this before it search & replaces the in files. This allows you to specify dynamic search strings and dynamic replacement values.

Given an input file like this:

“the beginning thy REPEATING-WORD, thy happy REPEATING-WORD,
   Sing thy songs of happy cheer!”
So I LOOK FOR ME the same again,
   <<manywords>> to arbPyExpression.

And a pipeline like this:

  - name: pypyr.steps.filereplace
    comment: replace multiple string in a file.
      k1: LOOK FOR ME
      k2: wept with
        in: ./
        out: ./filereplace.out
          # replace many words with one word
          the beginning: Drop
          # replace the same term multiple times in same file
          REPEATING-WORD: pipe
          # dynamically set search term using formatting expression
          '{k1}': sang
          # dynamically set replacement term 
          # sometimes angled brackets make search terms easier for humans to read.
          <<manywords>>: While he {k2} joy
          # you can also use py strings - here we reverse a string with python.
          arbPyExpression: !py '"raeh"[::-1]'

The resulting output file is:

“Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe,
   Sing thy songs of happy cheer!”
So I sang the same again,
   While he wept with joy to hear.

replacement order permalink

Be careful of order. The last string replacement expression could well replace a replacement that an earlier replacement made in the sequence.

- name: pypyr.steps.filereplace
      in: ./in.txt
      out: ./out.txt
        replaceme: INTERMEDIATE
        # later replaces can affect earlier replaces
        INTERMEDIATE: final

Given the input file:

some text replaceme end.

The output is:

some text final end.

Although this example is a bit contrived, it is something to watch out for when you are using dynamic string expressions where it might not be immediately obvious that a later search string is finding an earlier replacement.

If replacePairs is not an ordered collection, replacements could evaluate in any given order. This is relevant if you are a coder.

If you are creating your in parameters in the pipeline yaml, don’t worry about it, it will be an ordered dictionary already, so life is good.

special characters permalink

If your search or replacement string has {curly braces}, pypyr will treat what is inside the curly brace as a normal pypyr formatting substitution expression.

If you want to search for and replace strings with literal {curlies}, you have to escape the literals by {{doubling}} the braces.

Given an input file like this:

Piping down the {arb braces} wild
Piping manywords

And a pipeline like this:

  - name: pypyr.steps.filereplace
    comment: escape literal curly braces by doubling
      arb_key: of pleasant
          - ./in/*.txt
          - ./in/sub/*
        out: ./out/replace/
            # notice escaping literal curlies by doubling
            '{{arb braces}}': valleys
            # {arb_key} will replace from content
            manywords: songs {arb_key} glee

The output is:

Piping down the valleys wild
Piping songs of pleasant glee

see also

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