TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Tool for Search and Replace across multiple files.
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DigitalVolcano
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TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by DigitalVolcano »

TextCrawler 4 is in the works!

TC4 will have a re-written interface, and new features. It will also retain the old favorites and will make an effort not to be a radical change for long-time users.

Some aims-
-Multiple document (MDI) interface. Will allow for mulitple search and result tabs, along with scalable and snappable tool windows, etc.
-Save/load favorite searches
-Find/replace within file names
-Light/Dark theme

Please feel free to add any suggestions...
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DigitalVolcano
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by DigitalVolcano »

In addition, update 3.1.3 is out v.soon fixing a few issues.
d0vgan
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by d0vgan »

Great news, thank you in advance!
As for suggestions for TextCrawler 4, it would be very good to consider and maybe to redesign or alter the UI that Text Crawler proposes to the user. While the current UI is rich in options and very powerful, it contains too many elements which are not widely used. As an example of a simlpier UI, one may look at AstroGrep. That tool is concentrated on searching (not replacing) and provides minimalistic yet handy UI. So, maybe TextCrawler 4 could provide some kind of a simplified basic UI with easily accessible enhanced abilities? You know, maybe it will include foldable/expandable groups of UI elements, sliding (pull-out) panels, etc.? I realize it is easy to write about it (as I am currently doing) while it is much harder to imagine, design and implement all of this. And even this approach itself may overcomplicate everything because of the need to fold/unfold, slide/hide, etc. A lot of things to consider and keep in mind.
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DigitalVolcano
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by DigitalVolcano »

d0vgan wrote: Sun Apr 24, 2022 7:16 pm ...foldable/expandable groups of UI elements, sliding (pull-out) panels, etc.?
This is the kind of approach I am looking at. Similar to Visual Studio 2022, but with plenty of presents for simple/advanced layouts.
4EverMaAT
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by 4EverMaAT »

I made some of these suggestions already. I will re-summarize them here:


1) Need batch searches to be limited by relative dates. Like xx days from [date] and that [date] can be [current date] on the date modified on the file.
viewtopic.php?p=8095#p8095
It is extremely annoying and time consuming to have to search through several thousand files in a folder....when I could just need to change the last couple hundred.....and I can sort it based on date modified.

Other ways to sort might be useful to other users...like name ascending/descending.

2) tabbed interface to hold multiple searches in each tab.
viewtopic.php?p=7841#p7841

2b) taking this a step further, the ability to compare 2+ search results. It would be interesting to see which files contain certain matches from search1 vs search2

3) can have a history list of prior searches. So that I can re-search or pull results of previous search as needed. Or just check and see what I have searched already.

4) support for more RegEx flavors. Java8 (maybe other javas also), PCRE/PCRE2, Python, maybe JavaScript also
viewtopic.php?p=7453#p7453
4EverMaAT
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by 4EverMaAT »

5) Improve the regex reference guide in the help file with examples of using lookarounds and some other common searches. So that we can take better advantage of regex.

Example here:
viewtopic.php?p=8804#p8804

Try not to make it too complex. But show an example or two and also briefly explain the name of the technique and how to implement it.
d0vgan
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by d0vgan »

+1 for improving the RegEx guide.
There is an additional important thing regarding greedy and non-greedy searches using e.g.

Code: Select all

.+
.*
vs.

Code: Select all

.+?
.*?
4EverMaAT
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by 4EverMaAT »

I wanted to add some kind of "multi-pass" or "multi-find" mode. Or perhaps a better name is "sequential find"

A lot of people including myself find regex to be a little bit tricky. We see that it is powerful with lots of possibilities....but get frustrated when we are trying to narrow down exactly what results we want and cannot phrase it properly in a single string with 100% correct syntax. Rather than a user having to attempt to craft the perfect regex search string that will capture all of the results, the user could instead perform multiple sequential searches to get the result they want.

Regex Sequential Search1a
extract_1a
[extract_1a]Regex Sequential Search1b
extract_1b
[extract_1b]Regex Sequential Search1c
extract_1c
""
""
Regex Sequential Search1[final]
extract[final]

The final find would be shown, and the user would have opportunity to see what the previous find extractions were to double-check calculations.

This is different than batch mode in that you are doing find + replace + whatever operations one-by-one on a set of files. It's similar, but sequential search is like "batch" find-extract loop until the final find.

This approach to finding is more natural and consistent with how a human would "find" something after looking and digging.

and you can easily also expand this with sequential find/REPLACE. Same concept, but with each pass you are implementing some regex replacement.

Any questions?
4EverMaAT
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by 4EverMaAT »

Make sure you log any batch file attempts. Even if the filename is not found, you should still log that the batch call was attempted in the log.

Not sure if this is a bug or not. But if the txc file is not found, no log entry is made. So how would the user know if the job was successful or not. Even a fail with "error: script xxxxx.tsc not found".
4EverMaAT
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Re: TextCrawler Pro 4 - suggestions thread

Post by 4EverMaAT »

Separate different group match highlighting with different colors.

when highlighting in the regex tester and also in the preview, the groups should have alternating colors and/or separate colors with color coding. Because all matches / substitutions having the same color make it difficult to see which groups are matching where visually.

Also, would be good to mouseover the match and see the group number and other info about the match. helps with debugging, similar to how regex101.com does it.

Also, there should be a "cancel" button for regex calculations. Because someone might accidentally use a "catastrophic backtracking" or some other search that may be too inefficient. So there should be a way to break or implement a customizable timeout.

https://www.regular-expressions.info/catastrophic.html

Also it would be good to have some mini debugging stats. Like how many steps + milliseconds it takes to calculate a particular regex. So users can work to try and reduce steps needed (optimize the regex string).

edit: yes a debugger should definitely be there so that people can actually see how many steps it takes to arrive at a calculation and what is happening at each step. with a FF/RW, step, and play/pause buttons << < > >> . that would help with the visualization of functions.
Last edited by 4EverMaAT on Wed Nov 16, 2022 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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