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Lookarounds
114
Giventhislistofcitiesandpostalcodes: TODONewYork,NY10006
ConvertittothisCSVformat:
TODO
“Hey,”youmightsay,“there’salreadyacommainthatdata.”True,butit’sjusttypicalpunctuation.
IfweweretoopenthislistinExcel,wewouldendupwith:
TODO:
Soweneedtouseasimpleregextoatleastseparatethestatefromthezipcode.
Answer
Find (.+?),([A-Z]{2})(\d{5})
Replace \1,\2,\3
Exercise: Morecomplexaddresses
Believeitor not, theeasily-fixedscenario aboveis onethatI’veseen keeppeoplefrom making
perfectlyusable,explorabledataoutoftext.
However,formostkindsoftextlists,thecleanupisalittlemoresophisticatedthanoneextracomma.
Here’sanexampleinwhichwehavetodealwithstreetnamesandaddresses:
50 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10012
100 Ninth Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11416
Houston St. Juneau, AK 99999
2800 Springfield Rd. . Omaha, , NE 55555
Changeto:
50,Fifth Ave.,New York,NY,10012
100,Ninth Ave.,Brooklyn,NY,11416
9,Houston St.,Juneau,AK,99999
2800,Springfield Rd.,Omaha,NE,55555
Answer
Thisissimplybreakingeachpartofthelineintoitsownseparatepattern:
1. Streetnumber: consecutivedigitsatthebeginningoftheline
2. Streetname: Acombinationofwordcharactersandspacesuntilaliteralperiodisreached.
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Lookarounds
115
3. City: Acombination ofwordcharacters(actually, justletters)andspacesuntilacommais
reached.
4. State: Twouppercaseletters
5. Zip: Fiveconsecutivedigits
Find
ˆ(\d+) ([\w ]+\.) ([\w ]+), ([A-Z]{2}) (\d{5})
Replace
\1,\2,\3,\4,\5
Exercise: Complicatedstreetnames Streetaddresslistscangetwaymorecomplicatedthanthis,
ofcourse. Thefollowingexercisetestshowwellyouunderstandthedifferencesbetween[laziness
andgreediness]{#laziness}.
Note: Don’tfretifyoudon’tgetthis. Fullygrokkingthiskindofexerciserequiresbetter
understandingofwhat’sgoingonunderthehood,whichiswhatI’veavoidedpresentingso
far. Regular-expressions.infohasagreatlessonontheinternals.
TK
Whatifourlistofstreetnameshadperiodswithinthem?
100 J.D. Salinger Ave. City, ST 99999
42 J.F.K. Blvd. . New w York, , NY 10555
Thenthepatternforastreetnamewouldconsistmoreofjustwordcharactersandspacesuntil a
literalperiod.
Sothisisthepatternwehavetoalter:
([\w ]+\.)
Nowasimplesolutionmaybejusttoincludetheliteraldotinsidethecharacterset,likeso:
([\w .]+)
Find
ˆ(\d+) ([\w .]+) ([\w ]+), ([A-Z]{2}) (\d{5})
Replace
\1\2\3\4\5
Andthatkindofworks:
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Lookarounds
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100,J.D. Salinger Ave.,City,ST,99999
42,J.F.K. Blvd. . New,York,NY,10555
Butnoticetheimproper delimitationinthesecondline. Thestreetname–
J.F.K. Blvd. New
includespartofthecityname–the
New
from
New York
.
Thishappensinanycasewherethecitynameconsistsofmorethanoneword:
50 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10012
Becomes:
50,Fifth Ave. New,York,NY,10012
Insteadofwhatwehadbefore:
50,Fifth Ave.,New York,NY,10012
Whydidthishappen? Thesubpattern
[\w .]+
wasjustgreedy. Weneedtomakeitlaziersothat
thestreetnamefielddoesn’tunintentionallyswallowpartofthecityname.
TODOTK:(movetolazinesschapter?)
Answer Thepatternforthestreetnameisnow:
([\w .]+?)
Andthecompletepatternisotherwiseunchanged:
Find ˆ(\d+)([\w.]+?) ([\w]+),([A-Z]{2})(\d{5})
Howdidonequestionmarkmakeallthedifference?
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Lookarounds
117
Mixed commas and other delimiters
Again, justto hammerhomethepoint: dataisjusttext,withstructure. Whydoesthatstructure
havetobedefinedwithcommas?Itdoesn’t,sogoodforyouforrealizingthat.
Wecanbasicallyuseanysymboltostructureourdata.Tab-separatedvalues,a.k.a. TSV,isanother
popularformat.Infact,whenyoucopyandpastefromaHTMLtable,suchasthisWikipediaHTML
chart,you’llget:
TKTK
And mostmodern spreadsheetprogramswillautomaticallyparsepastedTSVtextinto columns.
Copy-and-pastingfromtheabovetextwillgetyouthisinGoogleDocs:
TKTK
Heck,youcanjustcopy-and-pastedirectlyfromthewebpageintothespreadsheet:
TKTK
Collisions
The reason why most data-providers don’t use just “any” symbol to delimit data, though, is a
practical one. Whathappensif you use theletter
a
as adelimiter – nutyour data includes lots
of
a
charactersnaturally?
Youcandoit,butit’snotpretty.
Butwedon’t have to dream of that scenario, we already havethatproblem with using comma
delimiters. Considerthisexamplelist:
6,300 Apples from New York, NY $15,230
4,200 Oranges from Miami, , FL $20,112
There’scommasin theactualdata, becausethey’reusedasa grammatical convention:
6000
,for
example,is
6,300
.
Inthiscase,wedon’twanttousecommasasadelimiter. Thepipecharacter,
|
,isagoodcandidate
becauseitdoesn’ttypicallyappearinthiskindoflist.
Wecandelimitthislistbyusingthispattern:
Find
ˆ([\d,]+) (\w+) from ([\w ]+), ([A-Z]{2}) (\$[\d,]+)
Replace
\1|\2|\3|\4|\5
Andweendupwith:
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Lookarounds
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6,300|Apples|New York|NY|$15,230
4,200|Oranges|Miami|FL|$20,112
Exercise: Someoneelse’scomma-mess
Let’spretendthatsomeonelessenlightenedthan ustriedto do theaboveexercisewithcomma-
delimiters. Theywouldendupwith:
6,300,Apples,New York,NY,$15,230
4,200,Oranges,Miami,FL,$20,112
Which,whenyouopeninExcelasCSV,lookspredictablylikenonsense:
TheresultoftoomanycommasinthisCSVfile
Soweneedtofixthismessbyconvertingonlythecommasmeantasdelimitersintopipesymbols
(oradelimitingcharacterofyourchoice*ndash;the
@
ortabcharacterwouldworkinthiscase).
Answer
Well,weobviouslycan’tjustdoasimpleFind-and-Replaceaffectingallcommas. Weneedtoaffect
onlysomeofthecommas.
Whichones? Inthisexercise,it’seasiertolookatthecommaswedon’twanttoreplace:
6,300
$15,230
4,200
$20,112
Soifthecommaisfollowedbyanumber,wedon’twanttoreplaceit.
There’s multiple ways to do this, here’s how to do it with capturing groups and a negative
characterset:
Find
,([\D])
Replace
|\1
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Lookarounds
119
InEnglish Replaceallinstancesofcommasfollowedbyanon-numbercharacter(andcapturethat
character)andreplacethemwithapipecharacterandthatnon-numberedcharacter.
(Note: Rememberthat
\D
isashorthandequivalenttoeither
[ˆ\d]
or
[ˆ0-9]
,thoughsomeflavors
ofregexmaynotsupportit.)
Answer: Usinglookarounds
The moreefficient way wouldbeto usea lookahead, though, to avoidneeding abackreference.
Here’showtodoitwithanegativelookahead:
Find
,(?!\d)
Replace
|
InEnglish Replaceallcommas–theonesnotfollowedbyanumber–withapipecharacter.
Butyoucanuseapositivelookaheadtoo–ifyoucombineitwithanegativecharacterset:
Find
,(?=\D)
Replace
|
InEnglish Replaceallcommas–theonesthatarefollowedbyanon-number character–witha
pipecharacter.
Whateversolutionyouuse,you’llendupwith:
6,300|Apples|New York|NY|$15,230
4,200|Oranges|Miami|FL|$20,112
Dealing with text charts (todo)
Completely unstructured text (todo)
http://www.springsgov.com/units/police/policeblotter.asp?offset=0
(ColoradoSpringspatrolreports)
Lookarounds
120
^(\d+) Record ID (\w\d{1,2}, \d{4}) Incident Date (\d{1,2}:\d{1,2}:\d{1,2\
*\wM) Time (.+? Shift [IV]+)Division (.+?)Title(.+?)Location((?:.|\s|\n)+\
?)Summary(.*?)Adults\s*Arrested ([\w .\-']*?)PD.+\n.+
\1\n\2\n\3\n\4\n\5\n\6\n\7\n\8\n\9
Exercise: Emailheaders
From: Sarah Palin mailto:spalin@alaska.gov To: John McCain mailto:jmccain@mccain08.com
Subject: BecomingVPDate: TK
Answer
Find From: (.+?) <(.+?)>
Find To:(.+?) <(.+?)>
Find Subject: (.+)
(fullanswerTK)
Moving in and out and into Excel
TODO
Exercise: WordinessofHamlet
1. Breakapart“Hamlet”bylineperspeaker
2. ImportintoExcel
3. TODO
Step1. Removeallnondialoguelines
Let’smanuallyremoveeverything,includingplayerlistings,fromthefirstlinetoline55:
SCENE.-Elsinore.
Lookarounds
121
a.Alllinesthatareflush(134lines) Examples:
<<THISELECTRONICVERSIONOFTHECOMPLETEWORKSOFWILLIAMSHAKE-
SPEAREISCOPYRIGHT1990-1993BYWORLDLIBRARY,INC.,ANDISACTIII.Scene
I.Elsinore. AroomintheCastle. EnterKing,Queen,Polonius,Ophelia, Rosencrantz,
Guildenstern,andLords. THEEND
Find
ˆ[ˆ\s].+$\n?
Replace withnothing
b.Replaceallstagedirections(98lines) Rightjustifiedtext
Examples:
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Exeunt [all but the Captain].
Enter Sailors.
Throws up [another skull].
Exeunt marching; after the which a peal of ordnance
are shot off.
Thisistricky. Wedonotwantthis:
Ham. Why,
'As by lot, God wot,'
and then, you know,
'It came to pass, as most like it was.'
Find
ˆ\s{15,}.+?\. *$\n
Replace withnothing
c.Removeallstageexitsindialogue(38examples)
Example Adieu,adieu,adieu! Rememberme. Exit.
Find
ˆ(.{10,}) {5,}.+
Replace
\1
Lookarounds
122
d. Removeallasides(inbrackets)(55occurences):
Example Ham. [aside]Alittlemorethankin,andlessthankind!
Find
\[.+?\]
Replace withnothing
Concatenatedialouge
1. Play. What speech, my good lord?
Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted;
or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleas'd
Find
ˆ {2}(\w{1,4}\.(?: \w{1,4}\.)?) +((?:.|\n)+?)(?=\nˆ {2}\w)
Replace:
Removeallnewlinesinsidespeech:
Find
\n(?!")
Collapseconsecutivewhitespace
Find
\s{2,}
Replace
\s
Exercise: Example FAAControltowers (TODO)
Step1.Cleanthedata Whenyouselect-all,copy,andpaste,yougetthisjumble:
FAA Contract Tower Closure List
(149 FCTs)
3￿22￿2013
LOC
ID Facility Name City State
DHN DOTHAN RGNL DOTHAN AL
TCL TUSCALOOSA RGNL TUSCALOOSA AL
FYV DRAKE FIELD FAYETTEVILLE AR
TXK TEXARKANA RGNL-WEBB FIELD TEXARKANA AR
GEU GLENDALE MUNI GLENDALE AZ
Lookarounds
123
...
Page 1 of 4FAA Contract Tower Closure List
(149 FCTs)
3￿22￿2013
LOC
ID Facility Name City State
PIH POCATELLO RGNL POCATELLO ID
SUN FRIEDMAN MEMORIAL HAILEY ID
Thefirststepistoremoveallthenon-datalines. Theeasiestwaytodothisistofirstconsider:what
arethedatalineshere?
Thedatalineswewanttokeephavefourfields: A3-letterairportcode,theairport’sname,thecity,
andthetwo-letterstatecode.
So,thenon-datalinesareanythingthat: 1. don’tbeginwiththreecapitalletters,and2. don’tend
withatwo-letterstatecode.
(TODO)
Find
ˆ[A-Z]
([A-Z]{3})+(.+?) {3,}(.+?) {3,}([A-Z]{2})
$1\t$2\t$3\t$4
http://www.faa.gov/news/media/fct_closed.pdf
Deleteuselesslines
ˆ(?:\s.+|\s*)\n
Changetolocation: (.+?)\t([A-Z]{2})$(city,state)
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