I'm trying to vimify a task of editing bulk file move commands.

I'm using Fossil-SCM to manage a bunch of files and have some changes in directory structure. To get SCM to grasp the move, I have to supply the command fossil mv oldname newname for each file.

Since it is some hundrets of files and different directories that changed, I have saved the output of fossil into a file showing on each line:

MISSING    /path/to/missing/file

And I want to change that to

fossil mv "/path/to/missing/file" "/path/to/missing/file"

From there on theres nothing left than walk manually through the lines and change directory names as needed.

However, this conversion could safe much time.

I tried using RegEx, but somehow seems VIM to not accept the grouping... I tried:

:1;$s/^MISSING (.*)$/^fossil mv \"\1\" \"\1\"$

But as soon as i try to use parentheses in the search definition, vim states the pattern could not be found. So what would be the most vimic way to solve this?

1 Answer 1


Usually, vim uses something akin to Basic Regular Expressions (BRE). You need to use \( and \) instead:

:%s/^MISSING *\(.*\)$/fossil mv "\1" "\1"/

Or prefix the pattern with \v. From :he regexp (more specifically, :he /magic):

after:    \v       \m       \M       \V         matches
                'magic' 'nomagic'    
          $        $        $        \$         matches end-of-line
          .        .        \.       \.         matches any character
          *        *        \*       \*         any number of the previous atom
          ()       \(\)     \(\)     \(\)       grouping into an atom
          |        \|       \|       \|         separating alternatives  

So the magical expression would look like:

:%s/\v^MISSING *(.*)$/fossil mv "\1" "\1"/

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