Regular expressions for beginners

There’s been a number of questions about regular expressions in recent

The Ruby U.'s Guide has a small script to highlight regular
expression patterns. I found it quite helpful for visualizing regex’s,
especially while learning them.

Jim [email protected] wrote:
i don’ get colors even with the ansi termianl over MacOS X…

Works here[1]. What is your $TERM set at?

[1] After changing:
str.gsub! re, “#{st}\&#{en}” to
str.gsub!(/#{re}/, “#{st}\&#{en}”) # gsub takes a string /or/

Daniel H. [email protected] wrote:

str.gsub!(/#{re}/, “#{st}\&#{en}”)

thanks, right now i get reverse video for match.

i’m sure my Terminal works with ansi colors because recently i’ve tried
xml-smart “xpath_visual.rb” with term-ansicolor-0.0.4.

see for example

Jim wrote:

The Ruby U.'s Guide has a small script to highlight regular
expression patterns. I found it quite helpful for visualizing regex’s,
especially while learning them.

There’s also a small tool (GUI) bundled with Ruby Development Tools for
Eclipse that does just that. Quite useful.

On Mon, Jan 09, 2006 at 06:08:11PM +0900, Gene T. wrote:

The clearest explanation I recall seeing was . . . I think it was
chapter seven in Learning Perl (I have 2nd Ed.: later editions might
have it in a different chapter for all I know). Yes, I know, it’s Perl
and not Ruby – but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful knowledge.

Chad P. [ CCD CopyWrite | ]

print substr(“Just another Perl hacker”, 0, -2);

There is an excellent book from O’Reilly -
I’ve read it and it is by far and large the best regex tutorial

“Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition”

By Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
Second Edition July 2002
ISBN: 0-596-00289-0

Full Description

Regular expressions are an extremely powerful tool for manipulating text
data. They have spread like wildfire in recent years, now offered as
standard features in Perl, Java, VB.NET and C# (and any language using
.NET Framework), PHP, Python, Ruby, Tcl, MySQL, awk, Emacs, and many
popular tools and languages.

If you don’t use regular expressions yet, you will discover in this book
whole new world of mastery over your data. If you already use them,
appreciate this book’s unprecedented detail and breadth of coverage. If
think you know all you need to know about regular expressions, this book
a stunning eye-opener.

In spite their wide availability, flexibility, and unparalleled power,
regular expressions are frequently underutilized. Regular expressions
you to code complex and subtle text processing that you never imagined
be automated. Regular expressions can save you time and aggravation.
can be used to craft elegant solutions to a wide range of problems.

A command of regular expressions is an invaluable skill. Yet what is
in the hands of an expert can be fraught with peril for the unwary.
Mastering Regular Expressions will help you navigate the minefield to
becoming an expert. Once you’ve mastered regular expressions, they’ll
an invaluable part of your toolkit. You will wonder how you ever got by
without them.

Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition has been thoroughly
updated to
include all the new features of Perl 5.8, as well as several other
languages, including Java, VB.NET, C#, Python, JavaScript, Tcl, and
Written in the lucid, entertaining tone that made a complex, dry topic
crystal-clear to thousands of programmers, and sprinkled with solutions
complex real-world problems, Mastering Regular Expressions offers a
information that you can put to immediate use.

Topics include:

A comparison of features among different versions of many languages and

How the regular expression engine works

Optimization (major savings available here!)

Matching just what you want, but not what you don’t want

Sections and chapters on individual languages

If you don’t have access to the O’Reilly book, here are some regex
found on

Vladimir A. wrote:

Eclipse that does just that. Quite useful.

Posted via

some other things that might help

but i think best is Friedl’s Oreilly regular expression book

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