Regular expressions are a central element of UNIX utilities like egrep and programming languages such as Perl. But whether you're a UNIX user or not, you can benefit from a better understanding of regular expressions since they work with applications ranging from validating data-entry fields to manipulating information in multimegabyte text files. Mastering Regular Expressions
quickly covers the basics of regular-expression syntax, then delves into the mechanics of expression-processing, common pitfalls, performance issues, and implementation-specific differences. Written in an engaging style and sprinkled with solutions to complex real-world problems, Mastering Regular Expressions
offers a wealth information that you can put to immediate use.
From the Publisher
Regular expressions are a powerful tool for manipulating text and data. If you don't use them 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 regular expressions, this book is a stunning eye-opener. With regular expressions, you can save yourself time and aggravation while dealing with documents, mail messages, log files -- you name it -- any type of text or data. For example, regular expressions can play a vital role in constructing a World Wide Web CGI script, which can involve text and data of all sorts. Regular expressions are not a tool in and of themselves, but are included as part of a larger utility. The classic example is grep. These days, regular expressions can be found everywhere, such as in: Scripting languages (including Perl, Tcl, awk
, and Python) Editors (including Emacs, vi, and Nisus Writer) Programming environments (including Delphi and Visual C++) Specialized tools (including lex, Expect, and sed) While many of these tools originated on UNIX, they are now available for a wide variety of platforms, including DOS/Windows and MacOS, so you can use them in your home environment. Additionally, many favorite programming languages offer regular-expression libraries, so you can include support for them in your own programs, and yes, even applets. There can be certain subtle, but valuable, ways to think when you're using regular expressions, and these can be taught. Jeffrey Friedl has spent years helping people on the Net understand and use regular expressions. In this book he leads you through the steps of knowing exactly how to craft a regular expression to get the job done. Regular expressions are not used in a vacuum. In this book, a variety of tools are examined and used in an extensive array of examples. Perl, in particular, is very well represented throughout the book, with a major chapter dedicated entirely to it alone. Perl is extremely well-endowed with rich and expressive regular expressions. Yet what is power in the hands of an expert can be fraught with peril for the unwary. This book will help you navigate the minefield to becoming an expert.