Find-and-Replace double-quotes in a 3000 line C# verbatim string literal is very slow

edited September 2022

Repro steps:

  1. Running LinqPad 7 Premium, v7.4.9 x64.
  2. Create a new query, "C# Statement(s)" mode.
  3. Declare an empty const string verbatim literal on line 1: const String TEST_STRING = @"";

  4. Put the caret between the two double-quotes in @"" and press [Return] twice.

  5. Paste a large string which already contains its own (single) double-quote characters, such as a JSON object.

    • In my case, see the attached computedStyleObject.txt file (a Firefox console dump of window.getComputedStyle(). Copy and paste the contents of the file into the empty line inside the @"" string literal.
  6. After pasting (which should be instantaneous) then select the text you just pasted (i.e. select from column 0 on line 2 (from "-moz-animation...") through to the end " in zIndex: "auto" on line 2838.

  7. Press Ctrl+H to open Find-and-Replace.

    • Find What: " (i.e. find single double-quote characters)
    • Replace with: "" (i.e. replace with double-double-quote characters)
    • [x] Search in selection
  8. Click "Replace All"

  9. Observe that Linqpad freezes and locks-up for a good while...

The circled CPU usage chart in Task Manager corresponds to Linqpad being frozen and eventually un-freezing. Interesting shape... also interesting that a good chunk is spent in kernel mode too.


  • I would be tempted to say that using a 3000 line string in code is asking for trouble, but I still would not have expected it to be that bad. I have no idea why this would take so long but perhaps it is trying to re-parse the string after every replacement, rather than once at the end.

    Coding editors, parsers and compilers are not usually optimised to handle such long strings. I read recently that the Go language have added an embed statement which I think is to avoid issues like this.

    There are a few things you can do to minimise the problem.

    It would probably be much much faster if the file was opened in Linqpad as a Text file and the replacements were done there.

    It should be even faster to do this in code i.e. System.IO.File.ReadAllText("...\\computedStyleObject.txt").Replace("\"", "\"\"").Dump();

    And yes, I know this is not as convenient if the text is already in the clipboard.

    Also, do you know about Alt-Shift-V , 'Paste as Escaped string' option?

  • I'll improve this in the next build - it should get down to a few seconds for that many replacements. Also note the suggestion of @sgmoore regarding Paste as Escaped string.

    Also note that should the file be larger - 30,000 lines, for instance - you'll run into other editor limitations and will need to read the JSON directly from the filesystem.

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