Working with HTML markup

This happened to me recently. I needed a way of highlighting keywords in a chunk of HTML for when users visited the site through Google. In this way, you can help your users locate the information they’ve searched for in Google quickly.

However, a simple string.Replace function wouldn’t cut the mustard. Obviously, it would also replace any mention of a keyword in the HTML markup too, and so would kill links or images.

For example, take the keyword “sitepoint” and I wish to replace it with some HTML “sitepoint“. If my image name had “sitepoint” in it, I’d end up with sitepoint.jpg”>. Not what I want.

So, I hacked together a little function to first remove all the HTML tags in a string, and then replace them once the replacement has been made. I hope it is of some use, fellow readers:

private string highlightText(string text, string keyword, string highlightColour) {
//ok strip the tags, but keep them safe
System.Collections.ArrayList a = new
string temp = text;
//ok, find an while (temp.IndexOf(" {
int start = temp.IndexOf(" int end = temp.IndexOf(">");
//ok. remove
temp = temp.Substring(0,start)+"

Working with HTML markup
Philip Miseldine

Philip is a Computer Science PhD student at Liverpool John Moores University. He's still not mastered guitar tabs, never finished Mario, and needs a haircut. He discusses life at

  • Skunk

    A shorter way of doing this is with a regular expression replacement tool that supports callbacks – i.e one that lets you find a certain pattern and replace it with the return value of a function that takes the matched pattern. You can see an example of the technique using PHP here:

    The same technique can also be used in Python and Javascript. I’ve never used .NET but from glancing over the docs it looks like the Regex.Replace(String, MatchEvaluator) method would do the job.

  • miseldine

    Ah yes. You’d need to use the MatchCollection I believe from a regular expression and process it accordingly.

    Regular expressions have always confused me to be honest…they’re so pretty yet ugly at the same time :)

  • AlexW

    I reckon Harry Potter would be into regular expressions. Concoct some obscure incantation, unleash it, and it does something very cool but slightly scary. Definitely a dark art.

  • Manjesh

    THank You, We Got the Solution with your Article what we were searching thanks a lot.

  • Mike G.

    using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

    public static string RemoveHTML(string in_HTML)
    return Server.HtmlDecode(Regex.Replace(in_HTML, "", ""));

    if not in HTTP Context page, then use the fully qualified reference System.Web.HttpContext.Current.Server.HtmlDecode if this function is in a class file rather than a page, usercontrol etc.


Category: Time: 2004-03-23 Views: 6

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