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Mastering Regular Expressions Third Edition
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About the Author
Jeffrey Friedl was raised in the countryside of Rootstown, Ohio, and had aspirations of being an astronomer until one day he noticed a TRS-80 Model I sitting unused in the corner of the chem lab (bristling with a full 16K of RAM, no less). He eventually began using Unix (and regular expressions) in 1980, and earned degrees in Computer Science from Kent (BS) and the University of New Hampshire (MS). He did kernel development for Omron Corporation in Kyoto, Japan for eight years before moving in 1997 to Silicon Valley to apply his regular-expression know-how to financial news and data for a little-known company called "Yahoo!"
When faced with the daunting task of filling his copious free time, Jeffrey enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and basketball with friends at Yahoo!, programming his house, and feeding the squirrels and jays in his back yard. He also enjoys spending time with his wife Fumie, and preparing for the Fall 2002 release of their first "software project" together.
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My only complaint is the fonts. Both the text of the book and the source code. The font used for the regular text is very light, I would have preferred a larger, darker, and more bold font. The font used for the source code is absolutely horrible. There are little angle brackets used to identify a block (for example to highlight what has changed from the prior example). They are almost impossible to see. This is important because the author is constantly referring to the highlighted portions. Some pages are darker print than others, its inconsistent.
If another edition of this book is ever made, I would like to see larger more bold font, and use a completely different method to "highlight" portions of text in the code samples.
I wonder if this font issues occur in the Kindle edition...?
I took this on work travel when I got it, and read it on the plan. The tips for working your way through interpreting regular expressions are very good, and easier to understand than the expressions themselves.
It is NOT language specific, so you need to deal for yourself, with differences between say, how Python does it, and how Perl does it.
This should probably be in most programmers' libraries.
By not asserting himself as a mathematical authority, Friedl lets his cleverness come through in a practical, 'human-to-human' way. There are a few moments when the more theoretically minded reader might want a little more detail, but the balance Friedl keeps is beyond admirable.
In the entire book there are perhaps only a half-dozen pages that are 'challenging' to the mind, yet by the time the reader has finished the book he or she will be amazed, simply amazed, at the complexity of regular expressions that can be interpretted with ease. Of course, writing expressions takes more practice, but the regex muscles won't even notice the feather-light daily tasks of, say, basic data validation after working out on this text.
The book will start the reader looking for possible regex solutions everywhere, and provides enough detail to take the fear out of using them.
The font/special characters/colors that Friedl uses to illustrate how a regex will match a string of text works very well - if you can read it. The problem is that they are really tiny on a high-res tablet screen and while you can zoom in on an image or enlarge a font, there seems to be nothing you can do to enlarge those examples.
For me it makes the kindle version unusable.
This is a WONDERFUL and POWERFUL book on Regular Expressions.
From just-beyond-beginner to advanced, this book provides a fantastic view into the world of Regular Expressions and the practical thinking involved with them. However, without at least a semi-understanding of the concepts you will not be able to get through the book very quickly.
I walked away with MUCH more knowledge than I had expected to. This applies to not only regular expressions, but also to rational thinking/planning when it comes to data and programmatic analysis.
If you want to decipher complex regular expressions and write your own, this is THE book to read. Friedl never glosses over important points and he never makes assumptions that you already understand regular expressions. The fact is, most of us just don't. Although regular expressions is mostly a pretty dry topic, Friedl does a good job lightening things up here and there (enough to prevent the topic from being too dry, but not so much that we forget the serious nature of the subject matter).
The typographic conventions are nothing short of groundbreaking, and I believe there is no other volume out there, on the web, or written that does as good of a job walking you through regular expressions, explaining how all the various parts work together and how to do things in your own practical way.
This book teaches you to THINK in regular expressions. Those once cryptic symbols will become powerful tools for you to manipulate and get the results you need. For me, regular expressions were a bit of stumbling block and a possible security risk (since I couldn't decipher really complex regular expressions). Aside from that, I didn't know the difference between NFA, DFA, and Posix NVA or how to optimize regex for these various engines (or whether optimization is even needed).
I strongly recommend this book for both beginners and veterans of regular expressions. It might not change your life, but it will change the way you read and write regular expressions.