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Beginning Regular Expressions Paperback – February 4, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0764574894 ISBN-10: 0764574892 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (February 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764574892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764574894
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Regular expressions help users and developers to find and manipulate text more effectively and efficiently. In addition, regular expressions are supported by many scripting languages, programming languages, and databases. This example-rich tutorial helps debunk the traditional reputation of regular expressions as being cryptic. It explains the various parts of a regular expression pattern, what those parts mean, how to use them, and common pitfalls to avoid when writing regular expressions.

With chapters on using regular expressions with popular Windows platform software including databases, cross platform scripting languages, and programming languages, you'll learn to make effective use of the power provided by regular expressions once you fully comprehend their strengths and potential.

What you will learn from this book

  • Fundamental concepts of regular expressions and how to write them
  • How to break down a text manipulation problem into component parts so you can then logically construct a regular expression pattern
  • How to use regular expressions in several scripting and programming languages and software packages
  • The variations that exist among regular expression dialects
  • Reusable, real-world working code that can be used to solve everyday regular expression problems

Who this book is for

This book is for developers who need to manipulate text but are new to regular expressions. Some basic programming or scripting experience is useful but not required.

About the Author

Andrew Watt is an independent consultant and experienced author with an interest and expertise in XML and Web technologies. He has written and coauthored more than 10 books on Web development and XML, including XPath Essentials and XML Schema Essentials. He has been programming since 1984, moving to Web development technologies in 1994. He’s a well-known voice in several influential online technical communities and is a frequent contributor to many Web development specifications.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Minatel VINE VOICE on February 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Great breadth of languages, tools, and examples

This is the most comprehensive regular expressions book I have seen. After steering you through some regular expressions essentials (about 250 pages or the first 1/3 of the book) it then gets into specifics and examples for all of the following languages and applications:

StarOffice/ Writer

Microsoft Word and VBA for Microsoft Word




SQL Server 2000


Microsoft Access

JavaScript and JScript





XML Schema



Most other books I've seen concentrate just on Perl. For anyone who uses 2, 3 or more of these languages or applications (and who doesn't use at least that many) this is much more useful than a Perl reg ex book.

Beyond the list of languages and applications covered, there are numerous examples in every chapter that can easily be used as is, or modified to fit your needs. A few of the examples are:

Converting dates to international format

Finding words in close proximity (in the same sentence)

Cleaning up an online chat transcript

Validating a social security number

Ignoring whitespace

Separating a delimited string into parts

Finding repeated words or characters

Adding links to URLs

Matching Canadian Postal codes

Verifying IP address format

Finding HTML/XHTML header elements

Matching telephone numbers
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
For years I have wanted to learn how to use Regular Expressions. But the short tutorials that I came across left me double cross eyed perplexed! I finally came across Beginning Regular Expressions. Now the whole process is a piece of cake. The author takes a very cryptic subject and makes it totally clear. Within two hours of reading this book while laying on the couch, I was able to hop up and write cryptic looking formulas as if it was my second nature. Regular expressions are so powerful and so helpful. I'm so glad I finally came across this book. Thanks to the author who painstakingly broke it down to the most basic levels and made everything crystal clear! If you have an interest in POWERFUL search and replace across a lot of files, this book is your ticket to search and replace paradise!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard York on April 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
As an introduction to regular expressions, this book does an excellent job of covering the many different ways in which regular expressions are used. Included are explanations of how to put regular expressions to use in client-side Javascript, Microsoft Word, Open Office, C#, PHP, Perl, ASP, etc (Just a few that I could think of off the top of my head). I especially like that the author didn't focus on only Microsoft products, or only on open source products. He gives an excellent introduction to how regular expressions fit in in both the world of programming, and simply using your computer from day to day. This is a huge book, and Mr. Watt does a fantastic job of covering both syntax (nuts and bolts) and real-world application. This is an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to more about Regular Expressions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By on June 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
^I really [enjoyed|liked] this book. Regular expressions like [any|every]thing takes practice to learn. The book provided real-world examples such as validating e-mail addresses. It is easy to get a regular expression wrong which could cost you $
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