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Re: Enhancement suggestion for "expand"

From: Anoop Sharma
Subject: Re: Enhancement suggestion for "expand"
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 15:28:32 +0530

On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 5:04 AM, Pádraig Brady <address@hidden> wrote:
On 09/18/2012 03:18 PM, CoreUtils subscribtion for PLC wrote:

This post is about a possible enhancement to the "expand" command included in coreutils.

I oten use expand to format scripts output by manually setting tabs stop. The idea would be to add an option to "expand" to be able to auto-set tabstops by analyzing first <n> lines of test (0 for analyzing whole stream) so that the TS would be set to the minimum number of spaces to obtains clean columns.

Best regards


So for input with just leading tabs, they would be expanded to a single space,
but in the presence of both leading tabs and spaces, the tab width would
be set to the minimum such that non blanks only start at a tab stop.

Interesting idea, though not very useful I would expect,
since you'd probably have to specify a minimum with the --tabs option,
at which stage you don't have much advantage over just setting --tabs directly.


This feature is already provided by a separate utility named column, dedicated to columnization, which is available under BSD license.

What is not provided there is ability to analyze only first <n> lines. 

So unless it is about licensing, it may be better to enhance column instead of expand. If licensing is an issue then it may be better to add a utility dedicated to columnization to Coreutils, instead of enhancing expand.


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