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Linux Search and Replace

Sed can be a pain in the butt, so thanks to Shooter.net I’ve recently been changing files with perl using the following code:

perl -pi -e 's/search/replace/g' *.text

-p Assumes an input loop around the script. It reads each line of the file
and outputs it after processing
-i Activates in place editing of files
-e Indicates a single lines script
's/search/replace/g' is the script or command. In this case it's a search and replace regex
*.text the filename(s) to operate on

Extending this via some digging around I did for searching and replacing recursively through subdirectories, I found this piece of code:

find . -print | egrep "*\.html" | xargs perl -pi -e 's/this/that/g'

This is far cleaner than the old:

for each file in *.text
sed 's/search/replace/g' < $file >$file.tempfile
mv $file.tempfile $file

(The main limitation with sed being that it is unable to output directly to the file you are working on!)

This entry was posted on Friday, December 16th, 2005 at 4:32 pm and is filed under Linux. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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