Saari Development

Ali Rizvi's Technical Blog as a Professional Software Development Engineer

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Vim: Converting to JavaCase to ruby_case

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This morning I was in a mode to do a regex kata and thought it would be interesting to see if I can substitute CamelCase (I call it JavaCase for fun) to underscore_separated_words (I did a search and could not find a good word for this so) I will call it ruby_case.

Here is how I started (note in my setting of vim you have to escape parens \):


The above matches lowercase letter followed by uppercase letter and captures them then replaces them with underscore between them.


I found that Vim has metacharacters for upper (\u) and lowercase (\l). So above become cleaner version of the previous, call it refactoring. (JavaCase => Java_Case)


I found how to change an uppercase capture to lowercase. But this was leaving first character of the word still uppercase (JavaCase => Java_case)


In this attempt to capture the first letter and lower case it I lost the letters in between. (JavaCase => ja_case)


Finally, I got what I wanted. (JavaCase => java_case) Hurray!

But I notice the match is greedy, so if there are multiple CamelCase on the same line this would fail.

For now I will leave this as an exercise for the reader as I am out of time for now, when I have a solution I will add it here.

This was a fun little exercise and I enjoyed it very much. Now I can find and solve a problem like this every morning it will jump start the day.

Reference: Vim Regular Expression 101 (



Written by imsaar

September 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Posted in editor, regex, vim