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Re: Interpretation of a space in regexp isearch?

From: Juri Linkov
Subject: Re: Interpretation of a space in regexp isearch?
Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2012 14:50:45 +0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.2.50 (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)

> Right, but the phrase "ignore whitespace" seems to indicate completely
> ignoring whitespace differences *in the search string*, including empty
> whitespace differences.  So it is a poor name.

In Diff this option is called --ignore-space-change
that ignores changes in the amount of white space,
but this name is too long.

> How about -lazy-whitespace or -lax-whitespace?  Then the command would
> be isearch-toggle-lazy-whitespace or isearch-toggle-lax-whitespace.

Then the names of search functions would be:

lax-whitespace-search-forward    - for simple search, and
re-lax-whitespace-search-forward - for regexp search.

And "re-lax" is not a synonym for "lazy" :-)  In programming
"lazy" means delayed evaluation, so it's not applicable here
(but isearch-lazy-highlight fits this definition because
it delays the evaluation of highlighting for other matches).

Using the same naming convention as in word-search-forward-lax
like whitespace-search-forward-lax or whitespace-lax-search-forward
is also not possible because as you said the whitespace- prefix
is reserved for whitespace.el.

Thus the remaining possibility is to add -lax-whitespace
as the suffix like:


that is implemented in the patch below.

If it's basically OK then I'd like to install it,
so you could make more necessary changes.

>> So the question was rather do we need to support lax whitespace in
>> regexp mode at all?
> I don't think we should remove the feature outright, so there ought to
> be some way to enable it for regexp mode.  Adding some complication to
> the code for this purpose is fine.
> That is to say, even if we change things so that C-M-s does not do lax
> space matching by default, it should be easy to get the feature back (by
> customizing a variable), just in case some user somewhere depends on the
> feature.

With a separate variable for regexp lax matching like
`isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace' it will be easy to enable/disable it
and also easier to mark it obsolete later before removing the feature.

=== modified file 'lisp/isearch.el'
--- lisp/isearch.el     2012-08-27 04:08:32 +0000
+++ lisp/isearch.el     2012-09-01 11:47:01 +0000
@@ -120,20 +120,10 @@ (defcustom search-whitespace-regexp (pur
 incremental search.  If the value is nil, each space you type
 matches literally, against one space.
-The value can also be a cons cell (REGEXP-1 . REGEXP-2).  In that
-case, REGEXP-1 is used as the value for ordinary incremental
-search, and REGEXP-2 is used for regexp incremental search.
 You might want to use something like \"[ \\t\\r\\n]+\" instead.
 In the Customization buffer, that is `[' followed by a space,
 a tab, a carriage return (control-M), a newline, and `]+'."
   :type '(choice (const :tag "Treat Spaces Literally" nil)
-                (cons (choice :tag "For Ordinary Isearch"
-                              regexp
-                              (const :tag "Treat Spaces Literally" nil))
-                      (choice :tag "For Regexp Isearch"
-                              regexp
-                              (const :tag "Treat Spaces Literally" nil)))
   :group 'isearch
   :version "24.3")
@@ -510,6 +512,7 @@ (defvar isearch-mode-map
     (define-key map "\M-r" 'isearch-toggle-regexp)
     (define-key map "\M-e" 'isearch-edit-string)
+    (define-key map "\M-s " 'isearch-toggle-lax-whitespace)
     (define-key map "\M-sc" 'isearch-toggle-case-fold)
     (define-key map "\M-sr" 'isearch-toggle-regexp)
     (define-key map "\M-sw" 'isearch-toggle-word)
@@ -556,6 +564,17 @@ (defvar isearch-word nil
 The property `isearch-message-prefix' put on this function specifies the
 prefix string displayed in the search message.")
+(defvar isearch-lax-whitespace t
+  "If non-nil, a space will match a sequence of whitespace chars.
+When you enter a space or spaces in the incremental search, it
+will match any sequence matched by the regexp in the variable
+If the value is nil, each space you type matches literally,
+against one space.")
+(defvar isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace nil
+  "Like `isearch-lax-whitespace' but for regexp mode.")
 (defvar isearch-cmds nil
   "Stack of search status sets.
 Each set is a vector of the form:
@@ -1409,6 +1434,24 @@ (defun isearch-toggle-case-fold ()
   (sit-for 1)
+(defun isearch-toggle-lax-whitespace ()
+  "Toggle whitespace matching in searching on or off."
+  (interactive)
+  (if isearch-regexp
+      (setq isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace (not isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace))
+    (setq isearch-lax-whitespace (not isearch-lax-whitespace)))
+  (let ((message-log-max nil))
+    (message "%s%s [%s]"
+            (isearch-message-prefix nil isearch-nonincremental)
+            isearch-message
+            (if (if isearch-regexp
+                    isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace
+                  isearch-lax-whitespace)
+                "match spaces loosely"
+              "match spaces literally")))
+  (setq isearch-success t isearch-adjusted t)
+  (sit-for 1)
+  (isearch-update))
 ;; Word search
@@ -1506,6 +1560,24 @@ (defun isearch-symbol-regexp (string &op
 (put 'isearch-symbol-regexp 'isearch-message-prefix "symbol ")
+;; Search with lax whitespace
+(defun search-forward-lax-whitespace (string &optional bound noerror count)
+  (let ((search-spaces-regexp search-whitespace-regexp))
+    (re-search-forward (regexp-quote string) bound noerror count)))
+(defun search-backward-lax-whitespace (string &optional bound noerror count)
+  (let ((search-spaces-regexp search-whitespace-regexp))
+    (re-search-backward (regexp-quote string) bound noerror count)))
+(defun re-search-forward-lax-whitespace (string &optional bound noerror count)
+  (let ((search-spaces-regexp search-whitespace-regexp))
+    (re-search-forward string bound noerror count)))
+(defun re-search-backward-lax-whitespace (string &optional bound noerror count)
+  (let ((search-spaces-regexp search-whitespace-regexp))
+    (re-search-backward string bound noerror count)))
 (defun isearch-query-replace (&optional delimited regexp-flag)
   "Start `query-replace' with string to replace from last search string.
@@ -1522,6 +1594,14 @@ (defun isearch-query-replace (&optional
        ;; set `search-upper-case' to nil to not call
        ;; `isearch-no-upper-case-p' in `perform-replace'
        (search-upper-case nil)
+       (replace-search-function
+        (if (and isearch-lax-whitespace (not regexp-flag))
+            #'search-forward-lax-whitespace
+          replace-search-function))
+       (replace-re-search-function
+        (if (and isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace regexp-flag)
+            #'re-search-forward-lax-whitespace
+          replace-re-search-function))
        ;; Set `isearch-recursive-edit' to nil to prevent calling
        ;; `exit-recursive-edit' in `isearch-done' that terminates
        ;; the execution of this command when it is non-nil.
@@ -1558,15 +1638,6 @@ (defun isearch-query-replace-regexp (&op
    (list current-prefix-arg))
   (isearch-query-replace delimited t))
-(defun isearch-whitespace-regexp ()
-  "Return the value of `search-whitespace-regexp' for the current search."
-  (cond ((not (consp search-whitespace-regexp))
-        search-whitespace-regexp)
-       (isearch-regexp
-        (cdr search-whitespace-regexp))
-       (t
-        (car search-whitespace-regexp))))
 (defun isearch-occur (regexp &optional nlines)
   "Run `occur' using the last search string as the regexp.
 Interactively, REGEXP is constructed using the search string from the
@@ -1606,7 +1677,11 @@ (defun isearch-occur (regexp &optional n
        ;; Set `search-upper-case' to nil to not call
        ;; `isearch-no-upper-case-p' in `occur-1'.
        (search-upper-case nil)
-       (search-spaces-regexp (isearch-whitespace-regexp)))
+       (search-spaces-regexp
+        (if (if isearch-regexp
+                isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace
+              isearch-lax-whitespace)
+            search-whitespace-regexp)))
     (occur regexp nlines)))
 (declare-function hi-lock-read-face-name "hi-lock" ())
@@ -2203,7 +2285,7 @@ (defun isearch-quote-char ()
     ;; Assume character codes 0200 - 0377 stand for characters in some
     ;; single-byte character set, and convert them to Emacs
     ;; characters.
-    (if (and isearch-regexp (= char ?\s))
+    (if (and isearch-regexp isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace (= char ?\s))
        (if (subregexp-context-p isearch-string (length isearch-string))
            (isearch-process-search-string "[ ]" " ")
          (isearch-process-search-char char))
@@ -2443,16 +2533,19 @@ (defun isearch-search-fun-default ()
             (funcall isearch-word string lax)
           (word-search-regexp string lax))
         bound noerror count))))
+   ((and isearch-regexp isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace
+        search-whitespace-regexp)
+    (if isearch-forward
+       're-search-forward-lax-whitespace
+      're-search-backward-lax-whitespace))
     (if isearch-forward 're-search-forward 're-search-backward))
+   ((and isearch-lax-whitespace search-whitespace-regexp)
+    (if isearch-forward
+       'search-forward-lax-whitespace
+      'search-backward-lax-whitespace))
-    (if isearch-forward 'isearch-search-forward 'isearch-search-backward))))
-(defun isearch-search-forward (string &optional bound noerror count)
-  (re-search-forward (regexp-quote string) bound noerror count))
-(defun isearch-search-backward (string &optional bound noerror count)
-  (re-search-backward (regexp-quote string) bound noerror count))
+    (if isearch-forward 'search-forward 'search-backward))))
 (defun isearch-search-string (string bound noerror)
   "Search for the first occurrence of STRING or its translation.
@@ -2503,17 +2596,13 @@ (defun isearch-search ()
            (inhibit-quit nil)
            (case-fold-search isearch-case-fold-search)
-           (search-spaces-regexp (isearch-whitespace-regexp))
            (retry t))
        (setq isearch-error nil)
        (while retry
@@ -2805,7 +2941,8 @@ (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-window-st
 (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-window-end nil)
 (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-case-fold-search nil)
 (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-regexp nil)
-(defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-space-regexp nil)
+(defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-lax-whitespace nil)
+(defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-regexp-lax-whitespace nil)
 (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-word nil)
 (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-forward nil)
 (defvar isearch-lazy-highlight-error nil)
@@ -2847,6 +2984,10 @@ (defun isearch-lazy-highlight-new-loop (
                 (not (eq isearch-lazy-highlight-word
+                (not (eq isearch-lazy-highlight-lax-whitespace
+                         isearch-lax-whitespace))
+                (not (eq isearch-lazy-highlight-regexp-lax-whitespace
+                         isearch-regexp-lax-whitespace))
                  (not (= (window-start)
                  (not (= (window-end)   ; Window may have been split/joined.
@@ -2873,7 +3014,8 @@ (defun isearch-lazy-highlight-new-loop (
          isearch-lazy-highlight-last-string  isearch-string
          isearch-lazy-highlight-case-fold-search isearch-case-fold-search
          isearch-lazy-highlight-regexp       isearch-regexp
-         isearch-lazy-highlight-space-regexp (isearch-whitespace-regexp)
+         isearch-lazy-highlight-lax-whitespace   isearch-lax-whitespace
+         isearch-lazy-highlight-regexp-lax-whitespace 
          isearch-lazy-highlight-word         isearch-word
          isearch-lazy-highlight-forward      isearch-forward)
       (unless (equal isearch-string "")
@@ -2887,7 +3029,6 @@ (defun isearch-lazy-highlight-search ()
   (condition-case nil
       (let ((case-fold-search isearch-lazy-highlight-case-fold-search)
            (isearch-regexp isearch-lazy-highlight-regexp)
-           (search-spaces-regexp isearch-lazy-highlight-space-regexp)
            (isearch-word isearch-lazy-highlight-word)
            (search-invisible nil)      ; don't match invisible text
            (retry t)

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