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Mastering Regular Expressions [Paperback]

by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 15, 2006 0596528124 978-0596528126 Third Edition

Regular expressions are an extremely powerful tool for manipulating text and data. They are now standard features in a wide range of languages and popular tools, including Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB.NET and C# (and any language using the .NET Framework), PHP, and MySQL.

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

As this book shows, a command of regular expressions is an invaluable skill. Regular expressions allow you to code complex and subtle text processing that you never imagined could be automated. Regular expressions can save you time and aggravation. They can be used to craft elegant solutions to a wide range of problems. Once you've mastered regular expressions, they'll become an invaluable part of your toolkit. You will wonder how you ever got by without them.

Yet despite their wide availability, flexibility, and unparalleled power, regular expressions are frequently underutilized. Yet what is power 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 and help you optimize your use of regular expressions.

Mastering Regular Expressions, Third Edition, now includes a full chapter devoted to PHP and its powerful and expressive suite of regular expression functions, in addition to enhanced PHP coverage in the central "core" chapters. Furthermore, this edition has been updated throughout to reflect advances in other languages, including expanded in-depth coverage of Sun's java.util.regex package, which has emerged as the standard Java regex implementation.Topics include:

  • A comparison of features among different versions of many languages and tools
  • 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

Written in the lucid, entertaining tone that makes a complex, dry topic become crystal-clear to programmers, and sprinkled with solutions to complex real-world problems, Mastering Regular Expressions, Third Edition offers a wealth information that you can put to immediateuse.

Reviews of this new edition and the second edition:

"There isn't a better (or more useful) book available on regular expressions."

--Zak Greant, Managing Director, eZ Systems

"A real tour-de-force of a book which not only covers the mechanics of regexes in extraordinary detail but also talks about efficiency and the use of regexes in Perl, Java, and .NET...If you use regular expressions as part of your professional work (even if you already have a good book on whatever language you're programming in) I would strongly recommend this book to you."

--Dr. Chris Brown, Linux Format

"The author does an outstanding job leading the reader from regexnovice to master. The book is extremely easy to read and chock full ofuseful and relevant examples...Regular expressions are valuable toolsthat every developer should have in their toolbox. Mastering RegularExpressions is the definitive guide to the subject, and an outstandingresource that belongs on every programmer's bookshelf. Ten out of TenHorseshoes."

--Jason Menard, Java Ranch


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Mastering Regular Expressions + Regular Expressions Cookbook + Introducing Regular Expressions
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Indispensable for text processing wizards and regex newcomers alike." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, February 2007 "In addition to the sheer volume of information, one thing that sets this book apart is that the author uses "real-world" rather than contrived examples. A few of the examples were situations that I have yet to come across, but many were either "been there, done that" or things that I had to go out and try." - James Mohr, Linux Magazine, April 2007

Book Description

Understand Your Data and Be More Productive

Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Third Edition edition (August 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596528124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596528126
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but an AWKward approach to Regex November 22, 2012
By Dave
Format:Kindle Edition
The first chapter was clear and methodical. I really liked the author's style and thought process and was excited to read the rest of the book. Unfortunately, the author takes a sudden left-turn at the beginning of Chapter 2 and starts teaching you Perl before he can demonstrate regex concepts. This was a poor choice in my opinion, and ultimately unnecessary (until perhaps much later chapters where implementation differences could be discussed). When teaching a concept, it is awkward to throw in an even more complex and cryptic topic like Perl for simply illustration.

Further, because this book shares a similar title and cover as the Regex Pocket Reference by O'Reilly Media, I had mistakenly assumed that this book also shared its coverage of Ruby specifics. It does not. If you are a rubinest you'll find scant references to Ruby at all; Tcl gets more attention than Ruby.

On the other hand, if you're into Perl or PHP (I am not, obviously) you'll find a lot of value in this book. Dive right in.

I encourage the author and editors to decouple regex and language-specific implementations in future editions.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastering Regular Expressions August 23, 2006
Format:Paperback
I've corresponded personally with Jeffrey Friedl several times over the last few years, and I remember being at once impressed with his attention to detail and his focus. I was invited to be one of the technical review editors for this third edition of his authoritative book on Regular Expressions, but had to pass due to time constraints.

However, I am pleased to state that whoever the tech reviewers were, they did a thorough job on this one from O'Reilly. This book has matured over these three editions to become what I would consider the most detailed and valuable book about Regex on the planet - and that means whatever your favorite programming language or platform is.

You see, Regular Expressions is in itself a language, and transcends programming languages and platforms because the concepts are basically the same across all languages - whether it be Perl, JAVA, C#, Visual Basic, Javascript, PHP, Ruby, Python, TCL - you name it.

And this book focuses on the mastery of regex, not being a reference tool. Though each language has a different syntax for handling objects and methods, the underlying objects and methods are the same with Regex, so even complex examples shown in one language directly translate to the other languages.

Suffice to say that there are basic concept chapters that are really language - agnostic, and then specific sections on PHP, .NET, JAVA, and Perl. The book covers practical Regex techniques and most importantly, it gets you to the conceptual level where you can begin constructing Regex patterns on your own, without having to look for "examples".

For .NET developers, Jeffrey provides a complete table-based overview of .NET's Regular Expression flavor, with a focus on the new features available in .NET 2.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RE: Third Edition August 21, 2006
Format:Paperback
§

The third edition just came out -- and that makes 10 years since this book was first published. That statistic alone indicates the steady value of "Mastering Regular Expressions" across the constant changes in applied software technology over that time. Regular expressions, still the most under-used power tool, needs a book like this.

Specifically, this third edition features enhanced coverage of PHP in the early tutorial chapters, plus an all new chapter devoted entirely to PHP regular expressions.

Also new in this edition, the Java chapter has been rewritten and expanded to reflect new features as Java itself has developed.

§
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
For many savvy computer users, regular expressions embody the perfect utility: a well defined, documented, and designed tool that makes complicated and arduous jobs short and easy. That being said, the craft of regular expressions (hereafter, `regex') makes about as much sense as a foreign language to the uninitiated or novice. Regex have no immediately apparent meaning to those unfamiliar with them, and are so enigmatic in appearance that many users do not even attempt to understand them - writing them off as a tool only for experts. "Mastering Regular Expressions" sets out to not only make regex understandable, but easy to apply to a wide range of situations.

Stylistically and structurally, this is one of the most unique O'Reilly publications I have read. The author even says in the early chapters to think of the book as a novel, and not as a reference (the book's structure doesn't really lend itself to being a reference book anyways). The mindset that the author applies to his writing makes a discernable difference in how the book reads, and it feels more like a chronological story and less like a textbook as a result. Even the quizzes that the author scatters throughout the book are treated as part of the "story", and the solutions are on the very next page rather than in the back of the book or at the end of the chapter. As a result, the book is very easy to read, and flows extremely well. It feels much less like a textbook and more like a narrated lesson from an enjoyable professor.

With a topic as muddy and potentially confusing as regex, I was worried that the text would be just as confusing to follow. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The text itself is very well written, and very clear.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book On Regular Expressions
Three cheers! This book is clearly written, and takes all of the mystery & frustration out of regular expressions (regexes). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Russ Rau
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to regular expressions.
This appears to be be one of the better introductions to regular expressions. The examples are easy to follow and the explanations are clear and practical.
Published 1 month ago by ProjAnalyst
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clear explanation on a somewhat confusing topic
Very good book that really makes it possible to understand how regular expressions work. The emphasis is on understanding and not so much on getting you programming quickly. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Christian Levis
4.0 out of 5 stars Book is great but avoid in Kindle!!!
I have tried reading this on a Paperwhite, which didn't work well, but then I didn't expect it to. Next I tried using a Nexus 7 and that didn't work either, and for a very specific... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recomended book for all.
In the past I had read a few other books on Regular Expressions. Some of them were bad some less bad. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. Konstantinidis
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for your IT bookshelf.
This book has saved me many times in my career. It has a variety of regex formats/standards. This is a must have for any sys admin or heavy scripter.
Published 4 months ago by NYC Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it
Every sys-admin or beginner should have this where they can reference it when needed. My company actually uses snippets of this for training new admins.
Published 8 months ago by Xtatics
4.0 out of 5 stars Very technical - get Regex Buddy software instead / additionally
Although I am not a full time programmer, I bought this book and got the basic idea
of what a regular expression is. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tom Waterloo
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice tutorial and reference.
Very progressive approach of regexes, based on the explanation of examples, from quite simple ones to very complex ones. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Delfosse Roy Jean
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed
Haven't used it much as of yet, but plan too in the future. It is detailed, well, written, and easy to understand.
Published 11 months ago by Timothy
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