File processing - is Python suitable?

Jorgen Grahn grahn+nntp at
Tue Jun 19 21:37:32 CEST 2007

On Tue, 19 Jun 2007 05:15:17 -0700, ferrad <acfer at> wrote:
> I have not used Python before, but believe it may be what I need.
> I have large text files containing text, numbers, and junk.  I want to
> delete large chunks process other bits, etc, much like I'd do in an
> editor, but want to do it automatically.  I have a set of generic
> rules that my fingers follow to process these files, which all follow
> a similar template.

Doesn't your text editor have recordable macros?

> Question: can I translate these types of rules into programmatical
> constructs that Python can use to process these files?  Can Python do
> the trick?

Impossible to tell, since we do not know these rules. If they need
your good judgement, intelligence, knowledge or taste, a good text
editor, with careful application of recorded macros, is the way to go.
Maybe in combination with a few Perl or Python scripts and special
features of the text editor. I often find myself doing that kind of
work, when the text I start with is too irregular to be easily machine

On the other hand, if the work is purely mechanical, tedious stuff,
there is a fair chance that it can be completely automated using
Python. (IMHO, Perl is often a better tool for this kind of
work, but few other languages beat Python in this area.)


  // Jorgen Grahn <grahn@        Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
\X/>  R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

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