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Invention's Mum

Talk about improving workflow.

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Up until yesterday there was no way anywhere to manage bulk 'search and replace' operations on files. Save one.

Today there's another.

Up until yesterday if you didn't have this tool and you wanted to apply changes to lots of - hundreds or thousands of - files all at once you were shit out of luck.

You might power up your powerful - and heavy and bulky - 'IDE' and then load all your hundreds or thousands of files individually. And watch your CPU meter report on the VM drain. And then input some 'search and replace' criteria and then gaze at a spinning beach ball for an hour or two.

Lots of fun. So Xsed was a definite improvement. And has been used to transform HTML files from entire websites - with thousands of files each - in a single drag of the mouse.

But what to do if those thousands of files need more than one transformation? And what if the transformations you apply need to be used in the future as well?

Are you going to input your 'search and replace' criteria time and again? One by one and for each batch of files you want to process?

Yes it's faster and more efficient than anything else you can find but it's still incredibly primitive.

So postulate if you will there's an application that can collect and assemble lists of search and replace transformations, order them as you wish, save them to disk where they can be recalled at a mere double click of the mouse - and all you have to do is drop your files on the app window?

Are you getting the idea?

XX is like most good ideas something that's a bit before its time. The idea you can have a collection of transformation 'recipes' readily accessible on disk; that you can collect and list all the files you want to transform; and that you then just dig down into your bag of tricks, open the right transformation document window, and then just drop all your files on said window.

Repetition & Succession

As you can set the order of the transformations you can pretty much get anything to work the way you want. You can successively remove (replace) illegal HTML values; you can change capitalised words to UPPER CASE or lower case; you can switch numerical escapes for their UCS equivalents; you can rid documents from a lot of crappy Microsoft 'pseudo HTM'; and so forth. A single drag of your mouse.

Again and as always with powerful tools: it's what you make of them. The tool itself does one thing and does it right - all you do is figure out how to take advantage of it. And there are thousands of ways to do that.

Necessity, meet your newborn.

Enhanced Entertainment Value

XX actually knows a few sophisticated dance steps but you have to be quick with the eye to see them. They show up significantly better with a long list of extremely large files (megabyte or more). It namely shows you exactly the transformation being applied on what file at any one time.

But that's all icing on the tart - what you want from this application is an improvement in workflow. And once you get used to the idea you'll have it.

See Also
ACP Gallery: XX
ACP Gallery: Xsed
ACP Gallery: Xfile System

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