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Re: [xsl] Escaping special characters for *nix file path

Subject: Re: [xsl] Escaping special characters for *nix file path
From: Wolfgang Laun <wolfgang.laun@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2012 15:58:11 +0200

Hmm, I'm not sure you are done yet. If you are passing the escaped
pathname to a shell you might have to guard against more magic
characters. Try these:

touch a.txt b.txt
ls x[12].txt
ls x{1,2}.txt
ls x?.txt
ls x*.txt

A relatively safe way would be to enclose the path name in apostrophes
(') and escape all contained apostrophes and backslashes with a


On 29/07/2012, Lighton Phiri <lighton.phiri@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Great! Thank you.I guess all I needed to do was revise my regular
> expression skills. I eventually settled for the expression below. I
> couldn't quite figure out how to put the single quote with the second
> group and so I just use an extra replace function.
> replace(replace($filename,&quot;'&quot;,&quot;\\'&quot;),
> '(&quot;|\(|\)|\[|\]|\s+)', '\\$1')
> Lighton Phiri
> http://lightonphiri.org
> On 29 July 2012 14:53, Liam R E Quin <liam@xxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Sun, 2012-07-29 at 06:30 +0200, Lighton Phiri wrote:
>>> Yes they are allowed, but special characters need to be escaped for
>>> one to access a file path.
>> [..]
>>> phiri@PHRLIG001:~$ touch ../data/Sites/3218AD Eland\'s
>>> Bay/Bobbejaansberg/BB15/testFile.txt
>>> touch: cannot touch `Bay/Bobbejaansberg/BB15/testFile.txt': No such
>>> file or directory
>> This is because the shell splits arguments at spaces, so you actually
>> gave the touch command two filenames. If you used quotes
>> $ touch "../data/Sites/3218AD Eland's
>> Bay/Bobbejaansberg/BB15/testFile.txt"
>> then it would work fine.
>> It is not necessary to escape characters from the shell inside an XSLT
>> stylsheet, because the shell isn't involved.
>> [...]
>>> >replace($filename, "[ '\\`&;]", "\\&")
>>> >will probably do what you want.
>>> >Or use \s instead of space if there might be newlines.
>>> >You might also need to replace " with \"
>>> I am getting an error when I try what you suggested.
>>> <xsl:value-of select="{replace($filename, "[ '\\`&;]", "\\&")}" />
>> You don't want the curly braces there - value-of is expecting an
>> expression, not a string.
>> [...]
>>> My file paths have special characters in them and those characters
>>> include 'square brackets', 'parentheses', 'ampersands', etc. all of
>>> which are interpreted differently by the regular expression given by
>>> second argument of replace function.
>> That doesn't matter.
>> Actually what I tend to do myself is something like
>>    replace($filename, "[^a-zA-Z0-9]+", "-")
>> to turn any sequence of characters other than letters or digits into a
>> hyphen. If it's a path rather than a filename, include / after the 9
>> there. But if the data is untrusted you should not normally allow /
>> inside it.
>> Finally, as Mike Kay implied in a separate message, you probably want
>> \$0 as the replacement, not \& (I use too many regular expression
>> libraries, sorry)
>> Liam
>> --
>> Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
>> Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
>> Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org freenode/#xml

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