The text package

The text package

This package contains various helper classes to work with text and JSON.

Escape sequences

The module text/EscapeSequence contains a class EscapeSequence which defines some methods to work with backslash escape sequences. In the real world, you probably just need the two following methods:

escape takes a string and converts all special characters to escape sequences. In this context, special characters are:

  • non-printable characters
  • single and double quotes
  • backslashes

Use it like this:

escaped := EscapeSequence escape("This is\na 'String'")
// now, `escaped` looks like this:
escaped == "This is \\n a \\'String\\'"

But that is only one half of the truth: You can additionally pass a string of all characters that should not be escaped as the second argument:

escaped := EscapeSequence escape("This is\na 'String'", "'\n")
// The method did not escape anything now.
escaped == "This is\na 'String'"

unescape is useful if you have a string containing escape sequences and you need a string with these sequences converted to their real character counterparts. This method supports one-character escape sequences like “\n”, “\r” or “\t”, but also hexadecimal sequences like “\x34”. Usage is easy:

"\\x27\\163up\\t\\x62ro\\n\\x3f" println()

which will print

'sup  bro


Sometimes, one needs to split a string at a special character and turn it into an array. In ooc, the text/StringTokenizer module adds every desirable variation of the good old split method to Buffer and String, each returning an ArrayList:

import text/StringTokenizer
import structs/ArrayList

// split at a specific character
"A|simple and stupid|example" split('|')
// This creates an ArrayList:
//  ["A", "simple and stupid", "example"]

// split until a specific number of tokens is reached.
// This will produce an ArrayList like
//    ["A", "simple and stupid|example"]
"A|simple and stupid|example" split('|', 2)

// There is also a function to split at delimiters longer
// than one char:
":-)A case :-)of intimidating:-)smiley abuse :-)" split(":-")
// ... produces
//  ["", "A case ", "of intimidating", "smiley abuse ", ""]


The io/StringTemplate module adds a lightweight formatTemplate string interpolation function to strings, which can be used in cases where format is not enough. This function uses a hashmap to access items by value:

import text/StringTemplate
import structs/HashMap

values := HashMap<String, String> new()
values put("day", "Saturday") \
      .put("weather", "cloudy")

"Hi! Today's {{day}}, and it is a pretty {{  weather   }} {{ day }}!" formatTemplate(values) println()

This will print:

Hi! Today's Saturday, and it is a pretty cloudy Saturday!

As you can see, you can access the values by their keys, order isn’t important and you can interpolate one value multiple times.
However, this is still pretty basic, since it does not support filters or control structures, but this is often enough.

In case a key is referenced that does not exist in the hashmap, it will be replaced by an empty string.

Shell-like Lexer

The text/Shlex module implements a basic lexer for strings containing quoted strings and backslash escape sequences. Basically, it splits an input string into an Array, using whitespace characters as delimiters. Single and double quotes can be used to include whitespace in the string items.

The public API can be accessed like this:

import text/Shlex
import structs/ArrayList
Shlex split("'This is a \\'quoted\\' string'     and I \"like \\x69\\x74.\"")
// This produces the following ArrayList:
// ["This is a 'quoted' string", "and", "I", "like it."]

This can be useful to parse command-line arguments. However, be careful, since this module was not designed with security in mind.

Regular Expressions

The SDK provides a simple cover for the Perl Compatible Regular Expressions library. Its use is pretty straightforward. First, you need to compile a regular expression pattern, passing some options as a bitmask if you want to:

import text/Regexp

pattern := Regexp compile("on (?P<year>[0-9]{4})-?P<month>[0-9]{1,2})-(?P<day>[0-9]{1,2})", RegexpOption CASELESS)
pattern matches("foo") // this will return null, since the pattern could not be matched

someDate := pattern matches("On 2013-08-07")
// `someDate` is now a `Match` object. You can access groups by index or by name:
someDate group(1)
someDate group("year")
// ... both return "2013".
// Group zero is the whole matched string:
someDate group(0) // is "On 2013-08-07"

// You can also iterate over the matches. This will include
// group 0 (the whole string), though.
for(group in someDate) {
    // `group` is now a String.

For more information about the Perl regular expression syntax, take a look at the Perl documentation.


Basic reading and writing

The text/json/ package contains a JSON parser and generator, written in ooc without external dependencies, which is able to deal with basic JSON. However, if you care about speed or compliance (especially when dealing with numbers), you should check out ooc-yaml.

The JSON classes operate on nested HashBags and Bags, so if you parse JSON, you get some (Hash)Bags, and if you want to generate JSON, you need to pass the data as (Hash)Bags.

To parse or generate JSON, you can just use the convenience text/json module. Every function exists in two flavours: Normally, you need to pass the class of your expected base value. So, for example, if you want to parse JSON like that:

["Hi", "World"]

You need to pass Bag as the base value class. However, since most of the time you will parse JSON objects that will represented by a HashBag, HashBag is used by default if you do not pass a class explicitly.

Here are some examples:

import text/json
import structs/HashBag

// if you have a `Reader` (to read directly from a file, for example):
import io/FileReader
myObject := JSON parse(FileReader new("package.json"))

// ... and if your base value is not a JSON object:
import structs/Bag
myArray := JSON parse(FileReader new("myarray.json"), Bag)

// reading directly from strings is also supported:
JSON parse("{\"hello\": \"world\"}")
JSON parse("\"just a string\"", String)

// and to generate JSON, there is:
myBag := HashBag new()
myBag put("integer", 1234) \
     .put("string", "Yes")

import io/FileWriter
JSON generate(FileWriter new("output.json"), myBag)

myJSONString := JSON generateString(myBag)

When dealing with the HashBag class, you should take a look at its getPath function, which will save you a lot of typing.

A JSON generation DSL

If you find yourself generating a lot of JSON, you might find the HashBag/Bag objects create a lot of syntactic noise. For this reason, the SDK contains another convenience module implementing a small DSL for JSON generation.

// Let's import the module into a namespace, since `make`
// is a bit ambiguous.
import text/json/DSL into JSON

data := JSON make(|j|
    j object(
        "here comes a list",
            j array(
                1, 2, "three", 4
        "and a nested object",
            j object(
                "true", true
data println()

make creates a helper object with object and array functions and passes it to the function you provide; using a closure is the most convenient way here. You can use object to create JSON objects, passing as many key-value pairs as you want, and array for JSON arrays.

When it’s done, it returns the JSON data as a string.