Explode with asterisk doesn't work?

(Cristiano Richers) #1

I have some texts which I want to import into Tinderbox and separate into parts with the explode tool, but it isn’t working. When I try to do it the spinning wheel comes up and I have to force quit Tbx.

In the texts that I have the blocks are already separated by 3 asterisks *** , so I tried to use them in the explode tool. Maybe Tbx doesn’t like the asterisks being used in this way? Should I first substitute them with something else that explode likes better?

(Mark Anderson) #2

This sounds like user error. Explode works on regular expressions (regex) and asterisks are regex special characters. TLDR; Try:


as your explode string.

(Cristiano Richers) #3

Thank you for the fast answer Mark. It worked :slight_smile:

Can you add this information to aTbRef? Maybe other users will also not know anything about regex and regex special :slight_smile:

(Paul Walters) #4

It’s there


And elsewhere in aTbRef

“Regex special” is not a term. He was referring to regular expression special characters.

(Cristiano Richers) #5

Thank you for your answer Paul.

My suggestion for addition is for this page in aTbRef, which deals specifically with Exploding Notes:


Under the topic “Delimiters you can use include:” it says (also)

“Otherwise use a custom string of your choice, e.g. a sequence of characters unlikely to occur in normal copy, e.g. ‘####’ or ‘XYXYXY’, etc. The text is case-sensitive. Use of regular expressions is not supported for this option.”

I wasn’t (and still am not completely) aware what “regular expressions” are. To me, according to this text, *** would be a possible “custom string of your choice”. It’s not that much different from #### , at least not to me (and maybe other users).

I think it would be useful to list (also here) all the characters (or regular expression special characters) that should not / cannot be used to explode notes.

Or maybe even add some code to the program to interpret these input errors and give a detailed warning to the user.

(Paul Walters) #6

Fair enough. Personally, when I see a term I don’t understand, I try to look it up** – but I can see it could be missed. Since “regular expressions” is a broad category, not exactly in aTbRef’s wheelhouse to explain, I’d suggest to @mwra something like

Use of regular expressions is not supported for this option.

This points to the external explanation of regular expressions linked-to elsewhere in aTbRef.

** Tinderbox makes clever use of regular expressions (aka Regex in some contexts) and time spent with regular expression tutorials such as this one is time well spent, IMO.

(Mark Anderson) #7

Yes, mea culpa. This used to be true in v5 and has since changed. I’ve put this in my to-do list for aTbRef.

The Christmas kitchen now begs my attention now but Seasons Greetings / Happy Holidays to all my fellow Tinderbox & Storyspace users.

(Mark Anderson) #8

I’ve updated this and this page of aTbRef to give - I hope! - a better general explanation of the process.

Regular Expressions (‘regex’)are subject in themselves and their detailed function is beyond aTbRef’s purview. In essence, Tinderbox’s built-in regex parsing follows the Perl flavour of regex**. Google is probably the best approach to finding a range of tutorials reflecting an individual starting knowledge.

** There are a number of subtly different implementations of regex, mostly deriving from their implementation in different computer languages.