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Regular Express Primer

Over the years I've been teaching people about Regular Expressions, I've learnt what does and doesn't work in such tuition. A casual question I saw yesterday got me writing, and I've just posted up a new technical article to the solution centre - see here (it will open in a separate window).

It's amazing - truly amazing - how often there's a code requirement to say "does this look like that" and that's exactly what regular expressions do. In fact, I added an extra markup facility to the solution centre as I was writing the article as I wanted an extra way to emphasise and - guess what - the methodolgy I used was a regular expression!

There are full tables of Regular Expression elements on our web site too - see here as a starter, and we even offer regular expression mousemats for sale at, of course, a very reasonable cost!
(written 2007-05-20, updated 2007-05-21)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
H107 - String Handling in PHP
  [4072] Splitting the difference with PHP - (2013-04-27)
  [4071] Setting up strings in PHP - (2013-04-27)
  [3790] Solution looking for a problem? Lookahead and Lookbehind - (2012-06-30)
  [3789] More than just matching with a regular expression in PHP - (2012-06-30)
  [3788] Getting more than a yes / no answer from a regular expression pattern match - (2012-06-30)
  [3534] Learning to program in PHP - Regular Expression and Associative Array examples - (2011-12-01)
  [3516] Regular Expression modifiers in PHP - summary table - (2011-11-12)
  [3515] PHP - moving from ereg to preg for regular expressions - (2011-11-11)
  [3424] Divide 10000 by 17. Do you get 588.235294117647, 588.24 or 588? - Ruby and PHP - (2011-09-08)
  [3020] Handling (expanding) tabs in PHP - (2010-10-29)
  [2629] Curly braces within double quoted strings in PHP - (2010-02-09)
  [2238] Handling nasty characters - Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, Lua - (2009-06-14)
  [2165] Making Regular Expressions easy to read and maintain - (2009-05-10)
  [2046] Finding variations on a surname - (2009-02-17)
  [1799] Regular Expressions in PHP - (2008-09-16)
  [1613] Regular expression for 6 digits OR 25 digits - (2008-04-16)
  [1603] Do not SHOUT and do not whisper - (2008-04-06)
  [1533] Short and sweet and sticky - PHP form input - (2008-02-06)
  [1372] A taster PHP expression ... - (2007-09-30)
  [1336] Ignore case in Regular Expression - (2007-09-08)
  [1058] PHP Regular expression to extrtact link and text - (2007-01-31)
  [1008] Date conversion - PHP - (2006-12-26)
  [728] Looking ahead and behind in a Regular Expression - (2006-05-22)
  [716] Evaluating arithmetic expressions in configuration files - (2006-05-10)
  [642] How similar are two words - (2006-03-11)
  [608] Don't expose your regular expressions - (2006-02-15)
  [589] Robust PHP user inputs - (2006-02-03)
  [574] PHP - dividing a string up into pieces - (2006-01-23)
  [560] The fencepost problem - (2006-01-10)
  [558] Converting between acres and hectares - (2006-01-08)
  [493] Running a Perl script within a PHP page - (2005-11-12)
  [463] Splitting the difference - (2005-10-13)
  [422] PHP Magic Quotes - (2005-08-22)
  [337] the array returned by preg_match_all - (2005-06-06)
  [54] PHP and natural sorting - (2004-09-19)
  [31] Here documents - (2004-08-28)

J816 - Regular Expressions in Java
P205 - Perl - Initial String Handling
  [3770] Sample answers to training course exercises - available on our web site - (2012-06-21)
  [3548] Dark mornings, dog update, and Python and Lua courses before Christmas - (2011-12-10)
  [3547] Using Perl to generate multiple reports from a HUGE file, efficiently - (2011-12-09)
  [3411] Single and double quotes strings in Perl - what is the difference? - (2011-08-30)
  [3005] Lots of ways of doing it in Perl - printing out answers - (2010-10-19)
  [2963] Removing the new line with chop or chomp in Perl - what is the difference? - (2010-09-21)
  [2832] Are you learning Perl? Some more examples for you! - (2010-06-27)
  [2816] Intelligent Matching in Perl - (2010-06-18)
  [2798] Perl - skip the classics and use regular expressions - (2010-06-08)
  [1860] Seven new intermediate Perl examples - (2008-10-30)
  [1849] String matching in Perl with Regular Expressions - (2008-10-20)
  [1608] Underlining in Perl and Python - the x and * operator in use - (2008-04-12)
  [987] Ruby v Perl - interpollating variables - (2006-12-15)
  [970] String duplication - x in Perl, * in Python and Ruby - (2006-12-07)
  [324] The backtick operator in Python and Perl - (2005-05-25)
  [254] x operator in Perl - (2005-03-22)

Q801 - Object Orientation and General technical topics - What are Regular Expressions?
  [4763] Regex Reference sheet - (2017-10-10)
  [4505] Regular Expressions for the petrified - in Ruby - (2015-06-03)
  [2844] Learning about Regular Expressions in C through examples - (2010-06-30)
  [2563] Efficient debugging of regular expressions - (2010-01-04)

R109 - Ruby - Strings and Regular Expressions
  [4549] Clarrissa-Marybelle - too long to really fit? - (2015-10-23)
  [4388] Global Regular Expression matching in Ruby (using scan) - (2015-01-08)
  [3758] Ruby - standard operators are overloaded. Perl - they are not - (2012-06-09)
  [3757] Ruby - a teaching example showing many of the language features in short but useful program - (2012-06-09)
  [3621] Matching regular expressions, and substitutions, in Ruby - (2012-02-23)
  [2980] Ruby - examples of regular expressions, inheritance and polymorphism - (2010-10-02)
  [2623] Object Oriented Ruby - new examples - (2010-02-03)
  [2621] Ruby collections and strings - some new examples - (2010-02-03)
  [2614] Neatly formatting results into a table - (2010-02-01)
  [2608] Search and replace in Ruby - Ruby Regular Expressions - (2010-01-31)
  [2295] The dog is not in trouble - (2009-07-17)
  [2293] Regular Expressions in Ruby - (2009-07-16)
  [1891] Ruby to access web services - (2008-11-16)
  [1887] Ruby Programming Course - Saturday and Sunday - (2008-11-16)
  [1875] What are exceptions - Python based answer - (2008-11-08)
  [1588] String interpretation in Ruby - (2008-03-21)
  [1305] Regular expressions made easy - building from components - (2007-08-16)
  [986] puts - opposite of chomp in Ruby - (2006-12-15)

T247 - Tcl/Tk - Advanced Regular Expressions
  [4205] Regular Expression Substitution - Tcl - (2013-11-12)
  [1412] Sparse and Greedy matching - Tcl 8.4 - (2007-10-27)
  [1410] Tcl / regsub - changing a string and using interesting bits - (2007-10-27)
  [943] Matching within multiline strings, and ignoring case in regular expressions - (2006-11-25)

Y108 - Python - String Handling
  [4659] Prining a pound sign from Python AND running from the command line at the same time - (2016-03-03)
  [4595] Python formatting update - including named completions - (2015-12-10)
  [4593] Command line parameter handling in Python via the argparse module - (2015-12-08)
  [4360] Python - comparison of old and new string formatters - (2014-12-22)
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4213] Formatting options in Python - (2013-11-16)
  [4152] Why are bus fares so high? - (2013-08-18)
  [4027] Collections in Python - list tuple dict and string. - (2013-03-04)
  [3886] Formatting output - why we need to, and first Python example - (2012-10-09)
  [3796] Backquote, backtic, str and repr in Python - conversion object to string - (2012-07-05)
  [3469] Teaching dilemma - old tricks and techniques, or recent enhancements? - (2011-10-08)
  [3468] Python string formatting - the move from % to str.format - (2011-10-08)
  [3349] Formatting output in Python through str.format - (2011-07-07)
  [3218] Matching a license plate or product code - Regular Expressions - (2011-03-28)
  [3090] Matching to a string - what if it matches in many possible ways? - (2010-12-17)
  [2814] Python - splitting and joining strings - (2010-06-16)
  [2780] Formatted Printing in Python - (2010-05-25)
  [2765] Running operating system commands from your Python program - (2010-05-14)
  [2721] Regular Expressions in Python - (2010-04-14)
  [2692] Flexible search and replace in Python - (2010-03-25)
  [2406] Pound Sign in Python Program - (2009-09-15)
  [2284] Strings as collections in Python - (2009-07-12)
  [1876] Python Regular Expressions - (2008-11-08)
  [1517] Python - formatting objects - (2008-01-24)
  [1110] Python - two different splits - (2007-03-15)
  [954] Splitting Pythons in Bradford - (2006-11-29)
  [903] Pieces of Python - (2006-10-23)
  [773] Breaking bread - (2006-06-22)
  [496] Python printf - (2005-11-15)


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