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I have some data like the following

"brand": "Some brand name  ", "otherbrand": "Something else ", 

"brand":"Some  third way"

although a little bit more unstructured like that, however one structure that is the same is that there are recurring instances of "brand": around, with the following value having inconvenient whitespace.

What I need to do is to normalize whitespace, and to trim it in the value so that

"brand": "Some brand name  "

gets turned in to

"brand": "Some brand name"

and

"brand":"Some  third way"

gets turned in to

"brand":"Some third way"

the size of the file is

I would like to know how to do this with Sed, because I think I am going to have to do this kind of minor fixing in the data here and there, and I would like a way to do it ad hoc with just a line in the terminal.

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  • Is this specific to the "brand" value? – glenn jackman Mar 18 '15 at 15:07
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This should work:

sed 's/ *"/"/g;s/  */ /g'

The first part removes any spaces that are trailing within quotes, and the second cuts down any multiple spaces to a single space:

 $ echo "Before:"; cat $TEMP/test.txt; echo "After:";sed 's/ *"/"/g;s/  */ /g' $TEMP/test.txt
Before:
"brand": "Some brand name  ", "otherbrand": "Something else ",
"brand":"Some  third way"
After:
"brand":"Some brand name","otherbrand":"Something else",
"brand":"Some third way"
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  • is it just my test, or does this result in an extra space after "some brand name " and the following comma? i get: 'brand: Some brand name , otherbrand: Something else' – Daniel Mar 18 '15 at 15:42
  • @Daniel i've added example output, I think it's ok – gogoud Mar 18 '15 at 15:54
  • it does look correct -- mine gives an extra space. version of sed is 4.2.1 – Daniel Mar 18 '15 at 16:21
  • @Daniel: I'm using sed (GNU sed) 4.2.2. – gogoud Mar 18 '15 at 17:21
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sed ':in
s/^\(\([^"]*"[^"]*"\)*[^"]*"[^"]*\) \{2,\}/\1 /
t in
:edge
s/^\(\([^"]*"[^"]*"\)*[^"]*"[^"]*\) \{1,\}"/\1"/
s/^\(\([^"]*"[^"]*"\)*[^"]*"\) \{1,\}/\1/
t edge
' YourFile
  • POSIX version so --posix -e for gnu sed
  • recursive remove multi space inside quote string (don't touch between, could be done with few modification)
  • recursive remove edge space inside quoted string (one for begin and one for ending)

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