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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Most computer programmers have heard of regular expressions, discussed in hushed tones and conjuring images of Unix gurus and their incomprehensible commands and godlike mastery of their systems, yet few actually know enough about regular expressions or how they work to do more than a simple word match using one, if that.
This book covers regular expressions from top to bottom in great and exhaustive detail, including the hows and whys of performance and supported features between the different engines that process them. Though geared mainly toward Perl, the examples and text will apply to nearly any system that provides support, from PHP to ASP to Python.
The text is fairly dense and is not exactly geared toward the novice programmer, though. I've had classes in Finite State Machines and still had to really apply my grey matter in a few spots to understand everything being discussed. However, the understanding the reader gains upon completion of the text is invaluable and will expand one's programming potential exponentially.
The one real lack of the book is a good overview and quick-reference card, but on the whole, the book is a good selection from the O'Reilly library and well worth the read of any serious programmer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Regular Expressions are a powerful pattern matching process built into many programming languages (but often hidden and not fully exploited).

If you are verifying input from a form or analyzing an HTML page or engaged in any other sort of pattern matching, Regular Expressions are something you should master.

The problems addressed by this book are (a) regex is poorly documented in general and (b) it has grown up ad hoc: every language's implementation is different from every other, sometimes very different.

The book does a good job of documentation and explanation in the early chapters. But in the later chapters it falls prey to the problem it is trying to solve. If you use Perl or Java or VB.NET, then this book gives a lot of very important information not easily found elsewhere.

On the other hand, if you use PHP, MySQL or JavaScript (as I do) you have to look elsewhere for the advanced topics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
How come a technology that is as old as computers themselves is still around? Regular expressions solve one of the most basic problems in computer science: parsing strings.

There is no doubt that regular expressions are beasts. This will will demystify them. By understanding them, you will be less scared of using them. This book does just that. However, the level of this book is high and the level of details amazing. It is not a cook book so it would be wise to also read another book that gives you more examples. This particular book is like the bible of regex. It needs to be in your library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2003
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
While the various websites give a lot of good information on regular expressions, they don't show enough about building them from scratch. This book does a great job of laying a good foundation and then helping the reader understand how to build expressions from there.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
At roughly 500 pages, this book can hardly be described as voluminous. Yet; the details it apportioned to each of its chapters is great. It comprehensively dissected all those qualities that made Regular Expressions so important.
In fact, any computer language beginner who wants to learn about Perl, Java, or any of those languages that use the .NET Framework should, (first of all), consider building a solid Regular Expressions foundation with this book. It is highly informative: especially if you are inclined to Perl.
Proper use of this book ensures that one does not get confused, as regards the many options that Regular Expressions provide for any given problem. It has a great value!
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
A good book, but it doesn't really end up offering that much. If you are good with regular expressions and understand them, this just gives a lot of more detailed, specific and complex one's. That's not a bad thing, but it's not really something you'd have any reason to use and could be done just as accurately and efficiently with a lot less code. Some of them look impressive, but are just a lot of unneeded code for the sake of looking inpressive. A lot can be had from this book, I just already know regular expressions very well, but it's still inspiring.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Like the other Oriely books I've read, this book tells you everything you ever wanted to know about regex and probably a lot of stuff that is interesting but not practically nescary. This book covers regex egines and most common implimentation of regex. It's all good stuff but I would like a book that is more focussed on the practical details of this how you write a regex to validate a phone number or a data etc....
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Very nice, good explanations.

Not exactly a plain old reference type book.
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