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I have this tricky text block where some ending quotes appear on the next line. I want to replace every comma appearing between quotes with @ symbol.

"----, ----",, ----, ----,,"",start quote," starting
 next line with end quote, ",---,, "--- ,", "begin quote ,,
,,nxt line end quote ",----, ----",, ----, "----,,"---","",
---- ,","----, ----",,"", --",--,----,,,

I can do it with sed if it wasn't for that tricky end quote on next line but having trouble doing it with perl.

  • 1
    Can the quotes be escaped? Can you include the expected output for the input so we can test our solutions? – choroba Apr 4 '18 at 11:37
  • Interesting. Even though this is essentially a CSV file, csvformat from CSVkit gets it wrong and does not properly quote the second line-spanning quote. – Kusalananda Apr 4 '18 at 12:06
  • Ah, I see why csvformat gets it wrong. One of the quoted fields on the second line starts with a space before the quote. The field is therefore not strictly quoted, but contains a quote character. – Kusalananda Apr 4 '18 at 12:13
  • in worst case, i could replace all new line characters with a temporary character so the whole thing becomes one line and then use the sed script i have to replace the commas, and then replace the temporary chars with \n again. but im not sure if that is efficient if i have a 100k rows file with 20 columns. What you recon? – Harry McKenzie Apr 4 '18 at 12:45
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If the quotes can't be nested nor escaped, just split the input on quotes, modify each odd element, and join back with quotes:

#!/usr/bin/perl
use warnings;
use strict;

my $input = '"----, ----",, ----, ----,,"",start quote," starting
 next line with end quote, ",---,, "--- ,", "begin quote ,,
,,nxt line end quote ",----, ----",, ----, "----,,"---","",
---- ,","----, ----",,"", --",--,----,,,';

my @segments = split /"/, $input;  # fix SO syntax highlighting: "
s/,/@/g for @segments[ grep $_ % 2, 0 .. $#segments ];
print join '"', @segments;
  • hi choroba! thank you very much for your input ! really appreciate it ! – Harry McKenzie Apr 4 '18 at 13:01

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