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Transformer

DiRT (Digital Research Tools) has a new home! Please visit Bamboo DiRT to explore this excellent collection of research tools.

Web site: http://www.tapor.uvic.ca/~mholmes/transformer/index.php

Date of first review/ name of reviewer: 6/19/08 [Erin Dorris Cassidy]

Additional reviewer(s):

Produced by: Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR), University of Victoria

Cost: Free

Description: "Transformer loads Unicode text files and performs sequences of transformation operations on them — search-and-replace, or JavaScript operations. It provides you with an interface to create and test these sequences of transformations before running them in batch mode on a set of files. Transformer was developed primarily for the job of rescuing old textual data stored in obsolete formats, but you can use it for any complex task in which you need to run a series of different search-and-replace or script operations on one or more text files, with the output in Unicode format."

Platform: Install and run in any Windows version which supports Unicode (Windows XP or 2000 recommended)

License: Mozilla Public Licence version 1.1

Maturity: v2.0

 

Features:

  • Loads Unicode, ANSI and ASCII file formats; also imports binary files displayed as text
  • Perform search and replace operations in any text files, as individual files or a batch, with the results in Unicode.
  • Performs search and replace operations in word processor files (e.g. from WordPerfect, etc.) and converts their unique formatting encoding to strings of 16-bit Unicode characters, thus "rescuing" data from obsolete file formats.
  • Also supports script transformations in Javascript; provides more flexibility for manipulating files, versus simple search/replace.
  • Test transformations, then apply to file batches.
  • Save your sequences of operations, then load a saved sequence to transform a file or batch in the future 

 

Advantages:

  • Use of Delphi provides speed advantages over other tools written in Java
  • Provides a built-in Javascript code checker to help prevent bugs
  • An Italian interface is provided

 

Disadvantages:

  • Designed more for advanced users; may be less accessible to novices
  • "If you want to work on ANSI files, and keep them in ANSI format, then Transformer is not the right tool for the job."
  • 32-bit Unicode is not supported at this time (only 16-bit)

 

Tips:

  • It is recommended that files contain byte-order marks (BOM) before transforming; fortunately the tool includes a built-in mechanism to add BOMs if they are not present. Files can be transformed without BOMs but incorrect readings may occur.

 

Tutorials:

 

More information:

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Developer Resources:

 

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