Extension:StringFunctions

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StringFunctions

Release status: stable

Implementation Parser function
Description Enhances parser with string functions.
Author(s) Ross McClure and Juraj Simlovic
Latest version 2.0.3 (2008-11-30)
MediaWiki 1.7+
Database changes No
License MIT
Download Template:WikimediaDownload/svn
Parameters
  • $wgStringFunctionsLimitSearch
  • $wgStringFunctionsLimitReplace
  • $wgStringFunctionsLimitPad
Hooks used
ParserFirstCallInit

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The StringFunctions extensions defines an additional set of parser functions that operate on strings. Version 2.0 resolves inconsistencies with <nowiki> and eliminates the need for PHP's mbstring extension on the installed server.

Note: Wikimedia users
This extension is presently not enabled on Wikimedia wikis. (As at August 18, 2011.)
Buggie new.png
Work-around String Templates See bugzilla:6455.
Note: Most of these functions have been integrated into the ParserFunctions extension as of r50997 (ref). This revision is designed for MediaWiki 1.16, but updating to the trunk version may work on previous versions. All of the other remaining functions except #urldecode and #replace have been integrated into MediaWiki's core magic words. #urldecode is the only function this extension remains useful for. It is otherwise obsolete. However, the documentation here remains useful until the Parser Functions documentation is updated.
Note: To use these functions in the ParserFunctions extension (as of r50997) you need to set $wgPFEnableStringFunctions = true; in LocalSettings.php.

Functions[edit | edit source]

This module defines these functions: len, pos, rpos, sub, pad, replace, explode, urlencode, and urldecode.

All of these functions operate in O(n) time complexity, making them safe against DoS attacks.

Notes:

  1. Some parameters of these functions are limited through global settings to prevent abuse. See section Limits hereafter.
  2. For functions that are case sensitive, you may use the magic word {{lc:your_string_here}} as a workaround in some cases.
  3. The support of these functions is not necessarily enabled on all MediaWiki servers. Check the list of supported Extended parser functions in Special:Version.

#len:[edit | edit source]

The #len function returns the length of the given string. The syntax is:

{{#len:string}}

The return value is always a number of characters in the source string (after expansions of template invokations, but before conversion to HTML). If no string is specified, the return value is zero.

Notes:

  • This function is safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. Example:
    • {{#len:Žmržlina}}
      
      returns 8.
  • Leading and trailing spaces or newlines are not counted, but intermediate spaces and newlines are taken into account. Examples:
    • {{#len:Icecream     }}
      
      returns 8.
    • {{#len: a   b }}
      
      returns 5.
  • Characters given by reference are not converted, but counted according to their source form.
    • {{#len:&nbsp;}}
      
      returns 6 (named characters references).
    • {{#len:&#32;}}
      
      returns 5 (numeric characters references, not ignored despite it designates a space here).
  • Tags such as <nowiki> and other tag extensions will always have a length of zero, since their content is hidden from the parser. Example:
    • {{#len:<nowiki>This is a </nowiki>test}}
      
      returns 4.

#pos:[edit | edit source]

The #pos function returns the position of a given search term within the string. The syntax is:

{{#pos:string|search term|offset}}

The offset parameter, if specified, tells a starting position where this function should begin searching.

If the search term is found, the return value is a zero-based integer of the first position within the string.

If the search term is not found, the function returns an empty string.

Notes:

  • This function is case sensitive.
  • The maximum allowed length of the search term is limited through the $wgStringFunctionsLimitSearch global setting.
  • This function is safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. Example: {{#pos:Žmržlina|lina}} returns 4.
  • As with #len, <nowiki> and other tag extensions are treated as having a length of 1 for the purposes of character position. Example: {{#pos:<nowiki>This is a </nowiki>test|test}} returns 1.

#rpos:[edit | edit source]

The #rpos function returns the last position of a given search term within the string. The syntax is:

 {{#rpos:string|search term}}

If the search term is found, the return value is a zero-based integer of its last position within the string.

If the search term is not found, the function returns -1.

Tip: When using this to search for the last delimiter, add +1 to the result to retrieve position after the last delimiter. This also works when the delimiter is not found, because "-1 + 1" is zero, which is the beginning of the given value.

Notes:

  • This function is case sensitive.
  • The maximum allowed length of the search term is limited through the $wgStringFunctionsLimitSearch global setting.
  • This function is safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. Example: {{#rpos:Žmržlina|lina}} returns 4.
  • As with #len, <nowiki> and other tag extensions are treated as having a length of 1 for the purposes of character position. Example: {{#rpos:<nowiki>This is a </nowiki>test|test}} returns 1.

#sub:[edit | edit source]

The #sub function returns a substring from the given string. The syntax is:

{{#sub:string|start|length}}

The start parameter, if positive (or zero), specifies a zero-based index of the first character to be returned.

Example: {{#sub:Icecream|3}} returns cream.

{{#sub:Icecream|0|3}} returns Ice.

If the start parameter is negative, it specifies how many characters from the end should be returned.

Example: {{#sub:Icecream|-3}} returns eam.

The length parameter, if present and positive, specifies the maximum length of the returned string.

Example: {{#sub:Icecream|3|3}} returns cre.

If the length parameter is negative, it specifies how many characters will be omitted from the end of the string.

Example: {{#sub:Icecream|3|-3}} returns cr.

Notes:

  • If the length parameter is zero, it is not used for truncation at all.
    • Example: {{#sub:Icecream|3|0}} returns cream, {{#sub:Icecream|0|3}} returns Ice.
  • If start denotes a position beyond the truncation from the end by negative length parameter, an empty string will be returned.
    • Example: {{#sub:Icecream|3|-6}} returns an empty string.
  • This function is safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. Example: {{#sub:Žmržlina|3}} returns žlina.
  • As with #len, <nowiki> and other tag extensions are treated as having a length of 1 for the purposes of character position. Example: {{#sub:<nowiki>This is a </nowiki>test|1}} returns test.

#pad:[edit | edit source]

The #pad function returns the given string extended to a given width. The syntax is:

{{#pad:string|length|padstring|direction}}

The length parameter specifies the desired length of the returned string.

The padstring parameter, if specified, is used to fill the missing space. It may be a single character, which will be used as many times as necessary, or a string, which will be concatenated as many times as necessary and then trimmed to the required length. Example: {{#pad:Ice|10|xX}} returns xXxXxXxIce.

If the padstring is not specified, spaces are used for padding.

The direction parameter, if specified, can be one of these values:

  • left - the padding will be on the left side of the string. Example: {{#pad:Ice|5|x|left}} returns xxIce.
  • right - the padding will be on the right side of the string. Example: {{#pad:Ice|5|x|right}} returns Icexx.
  • center - the string will be centered in the returned string. Example: {{#pad:Ice|5|x|center}} returns xIcex.

If the direction is not specified, the padding will be on the left side of the string.

The return value is the given string extended to length characters, using the padstring to fill the missing part(s). If the given string is already longer than length, it is neither extended nor truncated.

Notes:

  • The maximum allowed value for the length is limited through the $wgStringFunctionsLimitPad global setting.
  • This function is only partially safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. These characters will be treated appropriately if they appear in the original string, but will not be respected if they appear in the padding. Examples:
    • {{#pad:Zmrzlina|12|z}} returns zzzzZmrzlina
    • {{#pad:Žmržlina|12|z}} returns zzzzŽmržlina
    • {{#pad:Žmržlina|12|ž}} returns žžŽmržlina (padded to less than the specified length, since only half the required padding characters are being used)
  • Tags such as <nowiki> and other tag extensions are not permitted in the padding. If the padstring contains such a tag, it will be truncated.

#replace:[edit | edit source]

The #replace function returns the given string with all occurrences of a search term replaced with a replacement term.

{{#replace:string|search term|replacement term}}

If the search term is unspecified or empty, a single space will be searched for.

If the replacement term is unspecified or empty, all occurrences of the search term will be removed from the string.

Notes:

  • This function is case sensitive.
  • The maximum allowed length of the search term is limited through the $wgStringFunctionsLimitSearch global setting.
  • The maximum allowed length of the replacement term is limited through the $wgStringFunctionsLimitReplace global setting.
  • Even if the replacement term is a space, an empty string is used. This is a side-effect of the MediaWiki parser. To use a space as the replacement term, put it in nowiki tags.
    • Example: {{#replace:My_little_home_page|_|<nowiki> </nowiki>}} returns My little home page.
    • Note that this is the only acceptable use of nowiki in the replacement term, as otherwise nowiki could be used to bypass $wgStringFunctionsLimitReplace, injecting an arbitrarily large number of characters into the output. For this reason, all occurrences of <nowiki> or any other tag extension within the replacement term are replaced with spaces.
  • This function is safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. Example: {{#replace:Žmržlina|ž|z}} returns Žmrzlina.
  • If multiple items in a single text string need to be replaced, one could also consider Extension:ReplaceSet. It adds a parser function for a sequence of replacements.
Case insensitive replace

Currently the syntax doesn't provide a switch to toggle case sensitivity setting. But you may make use of magic words of formatting (e.g. {{lc:your_string_here}} ) as a workaround. For example if you want to remove the word "Category:" from the string regardless of its case, you may type:

{{#replace:{{lc:{{{1}}}}}|category:|}}

But the disadvantage is the output will become all lower cases. If you want to keep the casing after replacement, you have to use multiple nesting level (i.e. multiple replace calls) to achieve the same thing.

#explode:[edit | edit source]

The #explode function splits the given string into pieces and then returns one of the pieces. The syntax is:

{{#explode:string|delimiter|position}}

The delimiter parameter specifies a string to be used to divide the string into pieces. This delimiter string is then not part of any piece, and when two delimiter strings are next to each other, they create an empty piece between them. If this parameter is not specified, a single space is used.

The position parameter specifies which piece is to be returned. Pieces are counted from 0. If this parameter is not specified, the first piece is used (piece with number 0). When a negative value is used as position, the pieces are counted from the end. In this case, piece number -1 means the last piece. Examples:

  • {{#explode:And if you tolerate this| |2}} returns you.
  • {{#explode:String/Functions/Code|/|-1}} returns Code.
  • {{#explode:Split%By%Percentage%Signs|%|2}} returns Percentage.

The return value is the position-th piece. If there are fewer pieces than the position specifies, an empty string is returned.

Notes:

  • This function is case sensitive.
  • The maximum allowed length of the delimiter is limited through $wgStringFunctionsLimitSearch global setting.
  • This function is safe with UTF-8 multibyte characters. Example: {{#explode:Žmržlina|ž|1}} returns lina.

#urlencode: and #urldecode:[edit | edit source]

These two functions operate in tandem: #urlencode converts a string into a URL-safe syntax, and #urldecode converts such a string back. The syntax is:

{{#urlencode:value}}
{{#urldecode:value}}

Notes:

  • These functions work by directly exposing PHP's urlencode() and urldecode() functions.
  • For anchors within a page use {{anchorencode}} instead of {{#urlencode}}. The results of a call to {{anchorencode}} are compatible with intra-page references generated with [[#link]] syntax, while {{#urlencode}}-generated values are not necessarily so.
  • urlencode has been integrated into Extension:ParserFunctions. Note that within the ParserFunction extension the function is called with {{urlencode:value}} instead of {{#urlencode:value}}. The ParserFunctions extension has been integrated into MediaWiki as of version 1.18; for examples see Help:Magic Words.
  • urldecode works the other way round and turns URL encoded strings into readable strings. A character-code-reference can be found at www.w3schools.com.

Limits[edit | edit source]

This module defines three global settings:

These are used to limit some parameters of some functions to ensure the functions operate in O(n) time complexity, and are therefore safe against DoS attacks.

$wgStringFunctionsLimitSearch[edit | edit source]

This setting is used by #pos, #rpos, #replace, and #explode. All these functions search for a substring in a larger string while they operate, which can run in O(n*m) and therefore make the software more vulnerable to DoS attacks. By setting this value to a specific small number, the time complexity is decreased to O(n).

This setting limits the maximum allowed length of the string being searched for.

The default value is 30 multibyte characters.

$wgStringFunctionsLimitReplace[edit | edit source]

This setting is used by #replace. This function replaces all occurrences of one string for another, which can be used to quickly generate very large amounts of data, and therefore makes the software more vulnerable to DoS attacks. This setting limits the maximum allowed length of the replacing string.

The default value is 30 multibyte characters.

$wgStringFunctionsLimitPad[edit | edit source]

This setting is used by #pad. This function creates a string of the specified length, which can be used to quickly generate very large amounts of data, and therefore makes the software more vulnerable to DoS attacks. This setting limits the maximum allowed length of the resulting padded string.

The default value is 100 multibyte characters.

Installation[edit | edit source]

This extension requires MediaWiki 1.7+ and PHP 5.

Instructions[edit | edit source]

Do the following to install these functions as an extension to MediaWiki.

  1. Copy the source code from SVN
    …or if you have shell access copy directly with:
    svn co http://svn.wikimedia.org/svnroot/mediawiki/trunk/extensions/StringFunctions/
  2. Add the following to LocalSettings.php (near the bottom) in the root of your MediaWiki installation:
require_once ("$IP/extensions/StringFunctions/StringFunctions.php");

Code[edit | edit source]

The extension StringFunctions 2.0 has been tested on MediaWiki versions 1.7 and above.

History:

  • 2008-11-30 -- v2.0.3 -- Fix for parser changes in MediaWiki 1.14
  • 2008-10-27 -- v2.0.2 -- Internationalization added for extension description
  • 2008-08-27 -- v2.0.1 -- Regexp handling added for #len
  • 2008-05-11 -- v2.0 -- StringFunctions now maintained in SVN
  • 2007-12-10 -- v2.0 -- Rewrote the functions to eliminate dependence on mbstring and to properly handle <nowiki> and other tags
  • 2007-08-28 -- v1.10 -- Added negative positions to #explode
  • 2007-01-30 -- v1.9 -- Added limits to #pos, #pad, #replace, #explode
  • 2006-10-30 -- v1.8 -- Fixed for MediaWiki 1.8
  • 2006-10-26 -- v1.6 -- Fixed spaces in #rpos and #replace
  • 2006-10-01 -- v1.5 -- Added #rpos, #pad, #replace, #explode
  • 2006-05-18 -- v1.2 -- Renamed #toURL and #fromURL to match MediaWiki's {{urlencode:}} function
  • 2006-05-18 -- v1.1 -- Added #pos
  • 2006-05-15 -- v1.0 -- First stable release

See also[edit | edit source]

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