compressing consecutive spaces

Beliavsky beliavsky at
Mon Jul 9 16:38:14 CEST 2007

How can I replace multiple consecutive spaces in a file with a single
character (usually a space, but maybe a comma if converting to a CSV
file)? Ideally, the Python program would not compress consecutive
spaces inside single or double quotes. An inelegant method is to
repeatedly replace two consecutive spaces with one.

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