freeware search and replace utility for URLs
November 8, 2007 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Is there a freeware program that can do batch search and replace operations on text strings inside of url files? TexRep almost fills the bill with a nice interface, but, like so many S&R programs, doesn't support .url files, nor does it work if I change the url's' extension to a supported file type like .txt.
posted by bbranden1 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Is the .url file basically just text? Seems like any of the Unix text manipulation tools (sed, perl, etc) would fit the bill.
posted by jquinby at 11:23 AM on November 8, 2007

This seems to indicate that the .url is definitely just really simple text inside, and therefore anything that can work with ANSI text should work fine. If I get a minute before some else verifies that, I'll try making one and doing a simple sed on it.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:27 AM on November 8, 2007

I think .url files are just text files containing the literal URL string. However, I noticed that on my Mac, dragging the little icon next to a page's URL to the desktop doesn't produce a .url, it produces a ".webloc" file, which is actually XML.

This surprised me because I'd been using these things for a while (without looking too closely at the file extension) and thinking they were .url files, when actually they weren't.

Moral of the story, just make sure the files are actually what you think they are, I guess.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2007

Not to be redundant, but yes it's just a plain text file that Windows recognizes as a special file type. When I drag the link of this page to my desktop and open it in UltraEdit, this is what I see:

posted by phrayzee at 12:37 PM on November 8, 2007

I should have specified that I am looking for a simple program with a GUI to run on XP . While the URL files do seem to just be text files of a different name, the S&R programs I've tried so far don't seem to deal with them.
posted by bbranden1 at 12:57 PM on November 8, 2007

Textpad is a handy little text editor that can search and replace across multiple files at the same time. It'll open anything you tell it to, and if the file contains text you can work with it. It's nagware not freeware, but it's not very annoying. I've been using it for years, might be time for me to cut the developer a check :)
posted by waxboy at 1:06 PM on November 8, 2007

It lacks a GUI, but sed is available for windows and will probably do what you want the simple search-and-replace you're looking for. You can do some pretty hairy things with it, but I find myself cribbing from this file pretty frequently.
posted by jquinby at 1:08 PM on November 8, 2007

I'm quite fond of UltraEdit, which will search and replace in files. It'll down-select by extension (or other wild cards) or only the open files, and it'll use regular expressions if you take the time to learn them, allowing you a crazy amount of flexibility.
posted by phearlez at 2:01 PM on November 8, 2007

........annnnnnddd you said freeware, dammit. Sorry.

JEdit is cross-platform and free and will also do what you want.
posted by phearlez at 2:02 PM on November 8, 2007

So, .url files are just .ini files. They cannot (currently) be Unicode, so they're just plain ASCII. There may be some values that are serialized binary data, but you can ignore them.

Depending on what you are doing there might be a better way. If you want to write your own program, you can CoCreate(CLSID_InternetShortcut) and use the IPropertySetStorage interfaces to manipulate the values.

Have you tried using Visual Studio's Replace in Files feature? It's burried on the Edit menu.
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:05 PM on November 8, 2007

I haven't tried Visual Studios, will look into it.
posted by bbranden1 at 4:14 PM on November 8, 2007

Here are a number of freeware search and replace utilities.
posted by shinybeast at 8:46 PM on November 8, 2007

ReplaceEm will do this. You might have to tell it to search *.url files and to treat them as text.
posted by hootch at 1:16 AM on November 11, 2007

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