Another RegEx Question...

Roel Schroeven rschroev_nospam_ml at
Mon Dec 13 14:21:39 CET 2004

andrea.gavana at wrote:
> Hello NG,
>       I'm quite new to Python and I don't know if this is a FAQ (I can't
> find it) or an obvious question. I'm using the RE module in python, and I
> would like to be able to contruct something like the Window$ "Find Files Or
> Folders" engine. As the Window$ users know, you can filter the file names
> using the character "*", as:
> myfilen*                 (Will find a file named myfilenames)
> *yf*nam*                (Will find a file named myfilenames)
> I have tried something like:
> import re
> mystring = "*yf*nam*"
> mystring.replace("*","\w+")
> php = re.compile(mystring + "\w+")
> But it does not work...

replace doesn't change the string in place (it can't, since strings are 
immutable in Python); rather it returns a new string. You could, for 
example, do something like

mystring = mystring.replace("*","\w+")

Note 1: I'm not sure of the meaning of '*' in Windows file wildcards, 
but I think it would be more correct to translate it into '\w*' (i.e. 
zero or more instead of one or more) or even '.*' (any character, not 
only alphanumeric; will also match spaces etc. that might appear in 

Note 2: Instead of translating to regular expressions, it would probably 
be easier to use the fnmatch and/or glob module. They use Unix 
shell-style wildcards, which I believe are very similar to Windows style 
wildcards, if not identical.

"Codito ergo sum"
Roel Schroeven

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