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Extends visual-regexp to support other regexp engines
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benma Merge pull request #22 from benma/plain
Add new engine: emacs-plain.
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screenshots docs Apr 7, 2013 Readme wording. Aug 28, 2014 Use base64 instead of a manual encoding to escape newlines. Apr 11, 2015
visual-regexp-steroids.el Add new engine: emacs-plain. Feb 21, 2017


visual-regexp-steroids is an extension to visual-regexp which enables the use of modern regexp engines (no more escaped group parentheses, and other goodies!). In addition to that, you can optionally use the better regexp syntax to power isearch-forward-regexp and isearch-backward-regexp.

For now, Python and pcre2el is supported out of the box (tested on Linux and Windows). If you want to add custom scripts to enable your favorite language, please get in touch.



If you are using Emacs 24, you can get visual-regexp-steroids from melpa with the package manager.

Add the following code to your init file. Of course you can select your own key bindings. Note: vr/mc-mark is an interface to multiple-cursors.

The functions are the same as in visual-regexp, but powered by Python (or another custom engine). You can choose the engine (e.g. to fall back to the Emacs regexp engine) with vr/select-replace, vr/select-query-replace and vr/select-mc-mark.

;; if the files are not already in the load path
(add-to-list 'load-path "folder-to/visual-regexp/")
(add-to-list 'load-path "folder-to/visual-regexp-steroids/")
(require 'visual-regexp-steroids)
(define-key global-map (kbd "C-c r") 'vr/replace)
(define-key global-map (kbd "C-c q") 'vr/query-replace)
;; if you use multiple-cursors, this is for you:
(define-key global-map (kbd "C-c m") 'vr/mc-mark)
;; to use visual-regexp-steroids's isearch instead of the built-in regexp isearch, also include the following lines:
(define-key esc-map (kbd "C-r") 'vr/isearch-backward) ;; C-M-r
(define-key esc-map (kbd "C-s") 'vr/isearch-forward) ;; C-M-s

To customize, use M-x customize-group [RET] visual-regexp. You can specify which engine to use by modifying vr/engine (defaults to Python), and how the Python interpreter is invoked by modifying the vr/command-python variable. The default is python /path/to/visual-regexp-steroids/


Same example as in visual-regexp, but this time using Python's regular expressions (note the absence of escape characters):


visual-regexp-steroids also features expressions as replacements (toggle with C-c C-c). Example

Expressions have a predefined variables. i, the match counter, is one of them: Example

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