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Re: syntactic question

Is this understandable for a mere mortal? Yes, but it requires a good grasp
for the rules of how a statement is parsed into tokens. Specifically, how
quotes are handled. It's a pretty good example for why any non-trivial
substitutions (i.e., those involving quotes) is probably better done in a
language which doesn't have such an intimate relationship between between
parsing and evaluating a statement.

What's going on might be a little clearer if you use "print -r" rather than


print -r  1 ${test//'\'/\\}
print -r "2 ${test//'\'/\\}"
print -r  3 ${test//\\/\\}
print -r "4 ${test//\\/\\}"
print -r  5 ${test//'\'/'\'}
print -r "6 ${test//'\'/'\'}"
print -r "7 ${test//'\'/'\\'}"
print -r "8 ${test//'\'/'\\\\'}"
print -r "9 ${test//'\\'/'\\'}"


print -r  1 ${test//'\'/X}
print -r "2 ${test//'\'/X}"
print -r  3 ${test//\\/X}
print -r "4 ${test//\\/X}"
print -r  5 ${test//'\'/'X'}
print -r "6 ${test//'\'/'X'}"
print -r "7 ${test//'\'/'X'}"
print -r "8 ${test//'\'/'X'}"
print -r "9 ${test//'\\'/'X'}"

On Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:23 PM, Ray Andrews <rayandrews@xxxxxxxxxxx>

> All,
> Running this script:
>    test="one\ttwo"
>    echo  1 ${test//'\'/\\}
>    echo "2 ${test//'\'/\\}"
>    echo  3 ${test//\\/\\}
>    echo "4 ${test//\\/\\}"
>    echo  5 ${test//'\'/'\'}
>    echo "6 ${test//'\'/'\'}"
>    echo "7 ${test//'\'/'\\'}"
>    echo "8 ${test//'\'/'\\\\'}"
>    echo "9 ${test//'\\'/'\\'}"
> ... I get this output:
>    1 one    two
>    2 one    two
>    3 one    two
>    4 one    two
>    5 one    two
>    6 one'\'ttwo
>    7 one'\'ttwo
>    8 one'\'ttwo
>    9 one    two
> Lines one thru five are no puzzle, they're just different ways
> of saying the same thing: we're replacing the backslash character
> with itself (as an exercise). But at line six the rules change.
> Now the outer quotes seem to be meddling inside the substitution,
> and the single-quoted backslash output becomes literal: '\'
> but the input syntax is unchanged.
> I've always thought that all parsing systems work from the 'inside out'
> which is to say that (as with math) you 'do' the deepest parenthesis
> first, and then work outward. In the same spirit, I'm expecting
> the substitution to do what it does following it's own rules and
> nevermind any quotations or anything else 'further out'. But if
> zsh does permit the outer quotes to change what happens inside
> the substitution, then why is it not equal in it's effect on the
> input string?
> I'm puzzled by the fact that lines six, seven and eight produce the
> same output, and there again there is no symmetry between the input
> and the output strings, since, in line nine, doubling the input
> backslash doesn't work, whereas it does work in the output string (seven).
> It seems 'obvious' to me that all of the above, except seven and eight,
> are saying 'replace a backslash with itself'. Six should work the same
> as one thru five, and if seven works, then so should nine. Why line
> eight works, I'm not sure I even want to know ;-)
> In practice there's no huge problem tho, since the 'all backslash'
> forms always work the same way. Is this understandable for a mere
> mortal?

Kurtis Rader
Caretaker of the exceptional canines Junior and Hank

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