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regular expression to replace what's Inside a match

Posted on 2008-10-08
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Last Modified: 2008-10-13
Hello, I think the easiest is to show you what I get with my regex, and tell you what I'd like to achieve...

If I run the attached C# code snippet I get this result:

-- BEGIN

xmlString: DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC="2008-09-25T16:18:55" SOME_ATTRIBUTE="This T should Stay" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC="2009-01-01T00:00:00" ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE="Value For This Attribute"

fixedString: DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC="T" SOME_ATTRIBUTE="This T should Stay" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC="T" ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE="Value For This Attribute"

-- END

The regular expression matches the "T" inside a datetime of the following format: 2008-09-25T16:18:55.

What I want to achieve, is to get rid of the "T" inside the datetime. So I'd like to get this:

fixedString: DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC="2008-09-25 16:18:55" SOME_ATTRIBUTE="This T should Stay" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC="2009-01-01 00:00:00" ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE="Value For This Attribute"

Please give me the correct regular expression to use, or the corrections to my code to obtain it.

Thank you.
//Goal: get rid of the "T" inside the datetime
 
string xmlString = "DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC=\"2008-09-25T16:18:55\" SOME_ATTRIBUTE=\"This T should Stay\" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC=\"2009-01-01T00:00:00\" ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE=\"Value For This Attribute\"";
 
// Search for datetime values of the format 2004-08-22T00:00:00
string rp = @"\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}(.*?)\d{2}:\d{2}:\d{2}";
 
// TODO: replace just the "T" with a blank space.
// The following doesn't work as I want. It replaces what is OUTSIDE the T... I want to get rid of the T, not of the date.
string fixedString = Regex.Replace(xmlString, rp, "$1");
 
// I use it from an aspx page, thus I use Response.Write
Response.Write("<pre>" + xmlString + "\r\n\r\n" + fixedString + "</pre>");

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Question by:firepol
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6 Comments
 
LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 22667488
string rp = @"\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}(.*?)\d{2}:\d{2}:\d{2}";
string fixedString = Regex.Replace(xmlString, rp, "$` $'");
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Anurag Thakur
ID: 22667685
if possible i will fix the source of the problem and not go for a regular expression fix
the source of the data is DateTime.ToString() function
just use DateTime.Now.ToString("yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm:ss");
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Author Comment

by:firepol
ID: 22668320
I copied exactly your code:

string rp = @"\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}(.*?)\d{2}:\d{2}:\d{2}";
string fixedString = Regex.Replace(xmlString, rp, "$` $'");

and I obtain:

fixedString: DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC="DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC=" " SOME_ATTRIBUTE="This T should Stay" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC="2009-01-01T00:00:00" ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE="Value For This Attribute"" SOME_ATTRIBUTE="This T should Stay" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC="DT_EFFECTIVE_FROM_UTC="2008-09-25T16:18:55" SOME_ATTRIBUTE="This T should Stay" DT_EFFECTIVE_UNTIL_UTC=" " ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE="Value For This Attribute"" ANOTHER_ATTRIBUTE="Value For This Attribute"

It doesn't work. The fixedString seems to double length and the T is still there...

Maybe I should do a foreach and for every matched occurrence, I need to do a simple replace of the "T" with " "... ?

I can't eliminate the problem from the source (I've already tried it) because the DateTime object, when SERIALIZED into XML becomes by default a string with this format: 2009-01-01T00:00:00. A manual replace is needed as I'm sending the XML to a third party application that does not support the "T" in the dateTimeFormat...
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Anurag Thakur
ID: 22668637
Actually I am also using serialized objects to be passed as XML to my SQL Stored Procedures
Actually what happens that the datetime serialization is what we are trying to fix
but if i create a public property which returns that date as a string it will solve the problem

public stirng DateString
{
   get { return date.ToString("yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm:ss"); }
   set { throw new InvalidOperationException (); }
}

-- something like this and it will return the datetime without the "T" in it
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

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firepol earned 0 total points
ID: 22670187
ragi0017: I need to keep the DateTime type, I can't and don't want to use strings... else I would have used a string from the beginning to make my life easier...

The regex was already ok. Just the way to replace the T was not ok. Here the working code I wrote myself:

        // Search for datetime values of the format 2004-08-22T00:00:00
        Regex rx = new Regex(@"(?<DATE>\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2})(?<TIME>T\d{2}:\d{2}:\d{2})");

        MatchCollection matches = rx.Matches(xmlString);

        string fixedString = xmlString;

        foreach (Match match in matches)
        {
            // Matched date with "T"
            string oldDate = match.Value;

            // Get rid of the T inside the matched Date
            string newDate = Regex.Replace(oldDate, @"T", " ");

            // Search the string for the oldDate and replace it with newDate
            fixedString = Regex.Replace(fixedString, oldDate, newDate);
        }
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Anurag Thakur
ID: 22670267
totally understood
even i could have done that but i took the call of doing the string because first its being serialized to an XML which is already a string so didnt see much harm

Also after looking at your code and the amount of extra code and processing i think that using a string was a better option for me - lower code to maintain

Thanks anyways for giving me the regex approach - who knows might come handy later
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