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Mastering Regular Expressions Paperback – August 15, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0596528126 ISBN-10: 0596528124 Edition: Third Edition

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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 (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Customer Reviews

Yes, regular expressions are ANYTHING but "regular!"
Rob Wehrli
You'll probably get the most out of this book by reading the first six chapters in sequence.
calvinnme
As a result, the book is very easy to read, and flows extremely well.
Ben Hilburn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dotnetsky on 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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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dave on November 22, 2012
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ben Hilburn on January 17, 2007
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brett Merkey on August 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
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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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