Olivier Faucheux Olivier Faucheux - 8 days ago 5
Java Question

Expand the tabs in Java

Do you know a java method to expand the chars of a text into spaces?

My text:

1. <tab> firstpoint <tab> page 1
10. <tab> secondpoint <tab> page 10


If I directly replace the tab by, let say, 4 spaces, I will have

1. firstpoint page1
10. secondpoint page2


Instead of it, I need a method to replace each tab by the number of spaces it really corresponds to (as the command :retab of vim does). Any solution?

Answer

Although there's probably a library out there that does this, the manual solution is quite simple:

  1. Create an output buffer (StringBuilder).
  2. Iterate through the string's characters
  3. For each character check if it's a tab or not.
    a. If it's not a tab, add it to the output buffer.
    b. If it's a tab, add a space first, then as many spaces as it takes for the length of the output buffer to be divisible by 4. (Your tab length.)
  4. Return the output buffer.
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