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Retaining paragraph breaks from text

Ronwaldo Cruz
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 17, 2006
Posts: 69

I'm getting text from a database. It can range from simple sentences to several paragraphs. What I want to do is to retain the paragraph breaks and spaces when I display it in the JSP. Would anybody how to go about this?

Ankit Garg

Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9462

execute a regex on your text which replaces \n with <br/>

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Bauke Scholtz
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Joined: Oct 08, 2006
Posts: 2458
Indeed, line breaks in HTML are to be represented by the <br> element. You can use JSTL's fn:replace for this or write a simple EL function for this like nl2br().

Do not only replace \n, it is platform dependent. Windows for instance uses \r\n. You need to replace \r\n then. Call System.getProperty("line.separator") to find out which is correct. Doing so in an EL function makes it more robust.

By the way, you do not necessarily need regex for this. It's a simple character-by-character replace, not a pattern-by-character replace. The \r and \n itself already represents the desired characters. Save yourself from the backslash-escaping headache and minor performance drop when using regex for this.
Ronwaldo Cruz
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 17, 2006
Posts: 69

I tried this though and I got an empty String

public static void main(String[] args) {

String separator = System.getProperty("line.separator");
System.out.println("separator: " + separator);


And even though I use windows I tried replacing \n and it works ok
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Retaining paragraph breaks from text
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