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Author Topic: Best search and replace software discussion  (Read 17787 times)
justice
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« on: July 30, 2007, 04:42:11 AM »

I call onto you developers! What is the best textual search and replace around? I'm working with Topstyle at the moment for my web development, and the program is fantastic but the search / replace functionality is lacking (no replace in multiple files for example). I'm not switching editors though.

So I've been using various programs such as VGrep (result window is not clear enough for me), Windows Grep (crashes on my system - not freeware), ReplaceEm(unweildy interface and by default makes backups of files even if they're not changed) etc. Textcrawler is the best I found so far.

Textcrawler is freeware, has a usable but powerful interface, the results window shows the line and highlighted query inside the file as well as the filelist itself, and allows you to select which files to replace (so you could find all .htm files but only replace the term in certain files). It can also make backups of changed files. It has a few tools for Regexes too.

But it has a splash dialogue on load (guess that's fair).



There is similar functionality in programs like Notepad++ but that requires more clicks, plus even notepad's search and replace dialog is not the most usable either. (and not as good as TextCrawler).

BUT perhaps you use a better program. So I'd be interested to hear what you use and what feature you need that the program provides. Thanks.
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2007, 05:06:22 AM »

This is a great question, and i'm looking forward to hearing about other similar programs.
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AbteriX
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2007, 06:19:09 AM »

Wow, fine thread.

I have the need to use such soft every few months only.
So i have to decide every time again what's best for me because i have forgotten my last experiences.

I know and use also
Vgrep http://www.english.aionel.net/
and
ReplaceEm http://www.orbit.org/replace/

Then i have used
InfoRapid Search & Replace http://www.inforapid.de/html/searchreplace.htm
and
Agent Ransack http://www.mythicsoft.com/agentransack/

But i have not really *that* experiences.
But  your
Textcrawler http://www.digitalvolcano.co.uk/textcrawler.html
looks very promising, thank you for sharing  Thmbsup





I will test the regex option.

OK, Tested a lill bit:
TextCrawler use Microsoft VBScript Regular Expressions library 5.5
- this will usually already be available if you have IE5.5 or above installed.


I was able to search an RegEx over multible line with <script(.|\n)+?</script>


4bit (16 colors) PNG =>22kB only.


-----------

I think there is room to improve the GUI? What do you think about my study? I will contact the author about this:
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 02:15:00 AM by AbteriX » Logged

Greetings, Stefan.
justice
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 09:24:04 AM »

I've send my feedback on the program to the developer and pointed them to this thread,  thumbs up.
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 12:41:57 PM »

Hi justice.  I have been lurking around several posts like this as I am not a developer (though I am trying to learn to be one Wink ).  However, I do my fair share of (X)HTML and CSS and am learning others.  I have found time and again, for a multitude of these types of issues, a good text editor such as TextPad, NotePad++, et. al. are perfect.  They have keyword highlighting, code block insertions and are easy to do search and replace.  If you are trying to do so over several different files, I find a full blown IDE works better.  Refactoring in Eclipse or NetBeans is pretty trivial when working in Java, and Visual Studio can't be beat using any .Net language.  Others I don't know about, but I would guess they would have similar capabilities.
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 12:58:23 PM »

PowerGrep is powerful beyond belief--but you pay for it accordingly.  The power and control available when using it is unmatched--and boasts a comprehensive system of backing up/rolling back changes.  I doubt there's anything out there that can do more or as well so intuitively.  Like I said, though--doesn't come cheap. (149 USD)

PowerGrep (Or if you want to pat me on the back, there's a link in my signature with my referrel code).  But, of course, I praise because I love not because there is a referrel program cheesy

My favorite feature(s) would have to be its ability to perform additional regex on matches (regex within a match) -- use it all the time, first capturing a block of [something], performing actions within that, then moving onto the next, repeat. Prior to PowerGrep, I spent a lot of time writing scripts to perform that kind of functionality. 

Copied from features page:

Quote
Apply any number of search terms of regular expressions sequentially or concurrently. Complex search and replace operations often require multiple steps. Use PowerGREP to execute as many steps as you want in a single operation. Run the steps concurrently (search matches won't overlap), or sequentially (replacements cascade onto the following steps). Save all steps into a single PowerGREP Action for instant reuse.

Similarly, while searching or collecting data, use a list of search terms or regular expressions to find files matching different criteria, or to extract disparate information from each file.

Edit: attached a couple images--the first is a search library that emulates syntax markup from a wiki script.  The second are the results displayed.



« Last Edit: July 30, 2007, 01:05:21 PM by allen » Logged
tinjaw
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2007, 09:04:25 AM »

I suffer from PowerGrep envy as I cannot justify such a purchase. So I use Funduc's Search & Replace. I find it easy to use and powerful.
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justice
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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2007, 09:27:08 AM »

Wow that PowerGrep looks like a serious search and replace machine. I don't think I'm ready to take it on haha.
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Renegade
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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2007, 09:27:42 AM »

I used to use Agent Ransack years ago - maybe I need to check it out again.

Lately I've just been creating one-off custom programs to fit what I need though. Often my requirements I can meet quickly with some simple RegEx and it takes about the same time to program as to figure out the RegEx expression.

As for PowerGrep... It's a mean beast with power out the wahoo. Jan is a really smart guy and has done a fantastic job there (but who wouldn't when they live in beautiful Thailand?). Though like others, I find it hard to justify the cost.

I'll be interested to hear how people evaluate different programs.
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2007, 09:28:59 AM »

I too have tried
InfoRapid Search & Replace http://www.inforapid.de/html/searchreplace.htm
and
Agent Ransack http://www.mythicsoft.com/agentransack/

And thought they both worked well enough...

But have unInstalled them a long time ago (probably through lack of use), now I use PSPad which definitely isn't the best, but it satisfies my needs (which I think are pretty simple): Though Alan's post turned me green  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2007, 09:30:42 AM »

Take a look at Eric Pement's Web site.  Click on the SED link, then keep paging down until you come to the "Console/command line apps" and "Windows apps" sections on search and replace utilities.  His link for the old freeware version of HFFR is broken, but you can find it around the Web if you look.  Otherwise, the address for the current payware versions is http://www.silveragesoftware.com/ 

[Edit]
Silver Age Software offer this freeware:

Quote

Regular Expression Laboratory is an assistant simple to use tool to help you learn and prepare regular expressions.

If you are a developer or just concerned with text processing tasks, the Regular Expression Laboratory is a tool that you need. In fact, you felt that you need a program like this but could not formalize your needs. We have done this job for you. Now you can construct your regular expressions with much ease and test them by applying to an arbitrary text.

[/Edit]
« Last Edit: August 01, 2007, 09:39:44 AM by rjbull » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2007, 10:39:27 AM »

Like Tinjaw i have used Funduc's Search and Replace for a while, it's reliably good (not saying it's the best, but it's good):

http://www.funduc.com/search_replace.htm

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Armando
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2007, 10:50:26 AM »

What About Avanced Find and Replace. I trialed it at some point... Seemed really competent.
$29.99.

(But, hey, I'm not a developer... yet  smiley )
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2007, 12:25:55 PM »

What About Avanced Find and Replace. I trialed it at some point... Seemed really competent.
$29.99.

(But, hey, I'm not a developer... yet  smiley )

I like it and the developer is active on his own support forum, which helps! I also have a licence for PowerGrep (I used my PhD research as a justification for the the cost) and it is amazing. For searches I use FileLocator Pro or Archivarius, for simple and quick replacements AFR and for complex stuff PowerGrep. I know I could do it all with a combo of PowerGrep and Archivarius, but variety is, as they say, the spice of life. Life is spicy...
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2007, 05:06:55 AM »

Hi there

Nice forum - looks like a friendly bunch so I thought I'd join.

I'm the developer of TextCrawler. Thanks for the suggestions AbteriX - window resizing is a must for for the next minor update.  Going forward I also hope to put in more power features - batch processing for one.  If anyone has a suggestions for the best features to implement/rip off from the shareware programs I'm all ears!

Do people post betas for testing round here? I will have a little something soon that poker fans might like.
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AbteriX
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« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2007, 05:15:24 AM »

Hi DigitalVolcano welcome, great to have you here  Thmbsup
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Greetings, Stefan.
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« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2007, 07:02:56 AM »

welcome DV  thumbs up

Quote
Do people post betas for testing round here? I will have a little something soon that poker fans might like.

certainly.  the best section is probably here: http://www.donationcoder....rum/index.php?board=172.0
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« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2007, 04:51:58 AM »

I've used ReplaceEm a number of times and found it fast and reliable (backup is good default considering the mess a "misreplacement" can do.) 
But I think I'll download TextCrawler and give it a spin next time i need that.
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DigitalVolcano
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2007, 02:39:51 AM »

TextCrawler 1.0.3 is now available for download.  I've taken on board suggestions from here  Thmbsup

Changelog:
Removed max size limitation in combo boxes,
Optimised form layout,
Resizable File and preview windows,
Store Replace texts in RegEx library,
Store window settings,
Right-click Context menu in file window.
Multi-select in file window

You might want to back up your regex.txt file before installing just in case it get overwritten (hopefully it shouldn't)


Thanks all!
Download it here: http://www.digitalvolcano.co.uk/textcrawler.html
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justice
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2007, 02:59:57 AM »

Great, got to try it out. It's now several weeks after and I have to say i'm still completely happy with TextCrawler as my search / replace tool. Topstyle is now adding a search / replace but even though it's one of the better implementations I still find TextCrawler better for the job.

One thing I'd like to see is a "select all" and "inverse selection" (alredy in 1.03) toggle.
When wanting to make a change in 20 files out of 25, it's easier to select all of them and remove the checks from 5 of them. Or select 5 and then do "inverse selection". At the moment i have to place 20 checkboxes.

Maybe even selecting multiple lines with the SHIFT / CTRL functionality from explorer and then press space to place the selection toggle. Although i've not checked 1.03 so that might be improved already.

edit: indeed 1.03 implements invert selection. Great! that's part of it done smiley
« Last Edit: August 31, 2007, 03:02:38 AM by justice » Logged

Darwin
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2007, 03:02:02 AM »

DigitalVolcano - sorry I missed this thread earlier - welcome to DC! And thank you for alerting us to TextCrawler, I'm installing the latest version now.
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« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2007, 04:45:27 AM »

Hey all,
Just found a showstopper bug - if the columns are sorted in any way the system may perform operations on the wrong checkmarked files (marked files mode only).  I'll fix and upload this tonight.

The bug is in all versions... it's due to using an API column sort which scrambles the index. Argh!
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AbteriX
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2007, 03:58:30 PM »

[silly]
Arrgh, i am looking every day at DV.uk what's new.... then i missed the release day yesterday....
... and now i didn't see that's the release already announced here  grrmml  mad  how could i overlooked this thread update?
Any way, here's my post, i don't wanna delete it   undecided
[/silly]

TextCrawler 1.0.4 is now available for download -> http://www.digitalvolcano.co.uk/

Changelog:
Removed max size limitation in combo boxes, (was 255 chars before)
Optimised form layout,
Resizable File and preview windows, (see what you prefer, more of the file list or  more of the search result )
Store Replace texts in RegEx library, (now you are able to store search AND replace strings as pair)
Store window settings,
Right-click Context menu in file window. (Mark all selected files, invert,...)
Multi-select in file window (as in explorer: Shift+Click, Strg+Click, range by holding left button and slide the mouse)
Sort columns/marked files bugfix.
No splash after first run.

You might want to back up your regex.txt file before installing just in case it get overwritten (hopefully it shouldn't)




At least go to   http://www.digitalvolcano.co.uk/  and press the google ad`s to support DV  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: August 31, 2007, 04:06:44 PM by AbteriX » Logged

Greetings, Stefan.
AbteriX
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« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2007, 04:18:41 PM »

One thing I'd like to see is a "select all" and "inverse selection" (alredy in 1.03) toggle.
When wanting to make a change in 20 files out of 25, it's easier to select all of them and remove the checks from 5 of them.
Or select 5 and then do "inverse selection". At the moment i have to place 20 checkboxes.

You may know this already (i saw your edit), but just for the record:
"Select All"  is there too:  cheesy

1) select one (the first file e.g.)
2) invert selection
3) select the first one again

Or
1) click on first file
2) hold SHIFT-key down
3) press the END -key

Then use the context menu to mark all selected.
.
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Greetings, Stefan.
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« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2007, 05:34:39 PM »

I have been using Wildreplace for a while and found its feature set really nice:

WildReplace is a search & replace tool that lets you search for files on your disks and presents the results in a folder tree highlighting the folders and files that have been found. Most programs of its kind display a plain list of results; WildReplace presents the information by maintaining the folder structure of your disk, and highlighting the folders that contain files that have matched your search criteria.

You can search for files with special attributes (Read-Only, System, Archive, etc.), files that contain a matching phrase (works with both Text and Binary files). WildReplace can also replace text on files. WildReplace can create backups of modified files, delete files that match your search criteria or move all matching files to a new location while preserving the same folder structure.

Wildreplace also supports RegExpr and is freeware.

If one likes a really simple and functional program TexRep would be worth considering:

Replace text in multiple files in a single operation. Make backup copies of your original files, select case sensitive or insensitive searches, or choose between replacing whole or partial text strings. New features in version 2.0 includes improved user interface (Win XP compatible), a new scan folder(s) option, etc. Freeware.

Regards,

Brahman
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Regards, Brahman
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