The question was: Is there an easy way to do a delimited search and replace?
In other words, one would like to replace the prefix and suffix of a given pattern while leaving the middle bits alone.
For example, suppose one wanted to replace occurrences of
or vice versa?
Naively one would issue
M-% filbert[ RET george( RET
and then go back and change the appropriate
)'s by hand – very error prone and time consuming.
The answer is to use a RegexpGroup? to save the middle bits, viz,
C-M-% filbert\[\([^]]*\)\] RET george(\1) RET