· r-2

R: Regex - capturing multiple matches of the same group

I've been playing around with some web logs using R and I wanted to extract everything that existed in double quotes within a logged entry.

This is an example of a log entry that I want to parse:


log = '2015-06-18-22:277:548311224723746831\t2015-06-18T22:00:11\t2015-06-18T22:00:05Z\t93317114\tip-127-0-0-1\t127.0.0.5\tUser\tNotice\tneo4j.com.access.log\t127.0.0.3 - - [18/Jun/2015:22:00:11 +0000] "GET /docs/stable/query-updating.html HTTP/1.1" 304 0 "http://neo4j.com/docs/stable/cypher-introduction.html" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_2) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/43.0.2357.124 Safari/537.36"'

And I want to extract these 3 things:

i.e. the URI, the referrer and browser details.

I'll be using the stringr library which seems to work quite well for this type of work.

To extract these values we need to find all the occurrences of double quotes and get the text inside those quotes. We might start by using the str_match function:


> library(stringr)
> str_match(log, "\"[^\"]*\"")
     [,1]                                               
[1,] "\"GET /docs/stable/query-updating.html HTTP/1.1\""

Unfortunately that only picked up the first occurrence of the pattern so we've got the URI but not the referrer or browser details. I tried str_extract with similar results before I found str_extract_all which does the job:


> str_extract_all(log, "\"[^\"]*\"")
[[1]]
[1] "\"GET /docs/stable/query-updating.html HTTP/1.1\""                                                                            
[2] "\"http://neo4j.com/docs/stable/cypher-introduction.html\""                                                                    
[3] "\"Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_2) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/43.0.2357.124 Safari/537.36\""

We still need to do a bit of cleanup to get rid of the 'GET' and 'HTTP/1.1' in the URI and the quotes in all of them:


parts = str_extract_all(log, "\"[^\"]*\"")[[1]]
uri = str_match(parts[1], "GET (.*) HTTP")[2]
referer = str_match(parts[2], "\"(.*)\"")[2]
browser = str_match(parts[3], "\"(.*)\"")[2]

> uri
[1] "/docs/stable/query-updating.html"

> referer
[1] "https://www.google.com/"

> browser
[1] "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10_2) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/43.0.2357.124 Safari/537.36"

We could then go on to split out the browser string into its sub components but that'll do for now!

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