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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(5 star, Verified Purchases). See all 41 reviews
VINE VOICEon April 29, 2004
One of the hardest things, even for a seasoned programmer to grasp is regular expressions. They are powerful ways to search, manipulate and parse text fields and can often take several lines of code and shrink it down to a mystic, but powerful, expression.
If you have ever had to parse a file for information, you know that one of the things that still haunts any programmer nowadays is how to match text. In this day and age of Object Oriented Programming, Web Services, etc. the power of Regex holds firm.
Throughout this book the author takes great care not to overwhelm the reader with tons of code that has no meaning. The power of the book comes from the fact that if you read, and follow along, through the examples you will gain an understanding of how to do the techniques the author is referring to. At times it may seem like you have to read over a section twice, but you will realize that as you carry forth into the next section the material you read previously has turned into something you can now apply -- not just another example you can cut and paste and never really learn technique behind.
This is a powerful book, covering many, many pages. Noone should expect to sit down and read it cover to cover and be done with it. The benefit comes from reading, applying, and referencing. I find myself using it several times a week to lookup information on Regular Expressions and to held solidify knowledge of techniques that I have used in the past.
Whether you are a Windows, Unix, or even Macintosh person -- RegEx holds the key to text manipulation -- and this book holds the map you need to find that key.
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on January 5, 2003
In spite of the vow that Friedl would not put himself (and his family) through the rigors of writing a followup to his first edition, I sure am glad he made the decision to write a second edition. Over 5 years ago, I got the first such book and found it to be a humbling experience -- realizing just how little I *really* knew about regular expressions (in spite of thinking my skills were quite advanced in that area).
Now, years later and as an instructor of UNIX at North Lake College in Irving, Texas, I highly recommend this book to even our first year students. Friedl's clear explanation of this topic and the manner in which he presents the material makes it comprehensible to even those that have never had experience with regex's before. Like Perl's Larry Wall, Jeffrey Friedl has a strong background in natural languages. That contributes not only to bhis lucid writing style but also helps in terms of understanding regex's as a "little language".
This 2nd edition is particularly welcome because of its extensive coverage of regular expressions in the context of Java. That ons aspect alone is sufficient to get the updated second edition (to say nothing of the enhancements in Perl since the first edition of the book).
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on May 21, 2015
Greater depth and breadth than the regular expressions chapter of any programming language textbook. Friedl writes with a level of enthusiasm and wit not often found in reference texts. If you have text to process, read this.
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on September 28, 2005
I have known about regular expressions for a long time, but they have always been some kind of mysterious secret code. Recently I was reading something else that pointed out the power of regular expressions, so I decided it was time to learn regular expressions once and for all. After reviewing the available books on Amazon, I chose this one. I was not disappointed.

After reading just the first few chapters, I have been able to put them to work and make my life a lot easier. As a software engineer, I'm always doing searches through code or search/replace operations. I am now able to do more precise searches and do search/replace operations I never dreamed were possible before.

Learn regular expressions now! Get this book!
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on September 19, 2016
Great book and Great Service!
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on December 5, 2013
I bought this as a reference guide because I don't use regex every day. It's very clear and explains very well what regex is and what it's capable of. Powerful book - glad I added it to my library.
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on September 26, 2002
I bought this book on a whim, mainly because I try to buy (and read... ugh!) a hard-core technical book every month or so, but mainly because my UNIX scripting abilities have become rusty with disuse. I used to be able to write a tight, 10-line csh script to mangledit thousands of files at a single time. Now I hack away at files manually with vi. The other day, I even forgot how to search & replace. My kung fu isn't nearly what it used to be.
It usually takes me about a month to slog through a new book (especially academic texts, which are great but make you want to have a stiff martini before each new chapter) but I tore through Friedl's book in a few days. It's an outstanding reference for understanding & learning to use regular expressions.
Regexes can be cryptic to say the least, but Friedl offers many examples, broken down into step-by-step instructions and explanations of how each regex works (in many cases, right down to the individual character level). He covers a variety of platforms and languages - the hardcore Perl enthusiast will enjoy this book greatly, but he offers fairly equal time to alternative languages like Java and the "grep" family.
All that said, this book is an outstanding technical reference, pure and simple, for two reasons:
- Friedl uses an interesting new typesetting convention to illustrate which sections of text are regular expressions, and which sections are not. It's hard to describe (and impossible to reproduce here) but they look like 90-degree braces at the upper-left and lower-right corners. This is a FANTASTIC approach and I for one would love to see this extended to other technical books.
- Speaking of other things I would love to see extended to other technical books, THIS BOOK HAS ALMOST NO ERRORS! This is even more impressive considering the fact that, with regular expressions, screwing up EVEN A SINGLE CHARACTER is significant. Nothing [upsets]memore than spending $50-100 perfectly good dollars on a sloppy, error-laden, grammatically-challenged, poorly-edited, ill-reviewed and badly-structured book (which pretty much describes 90% of all the technical books out there). He made a few mistakes, the vast majority of which are extremely trivial in nature, and all of which were quickly posted to his website as errata. If only the other 90% of the technical authors out there were even half as diligent.
All told, this book belongs on your bookshelf.
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on April 26, 2007
This is must-have if you are trying to learn regexps or improve your knowledge of them. It carefully walks you through how to construct expressions, covering everything from the most basic tasks to complicated scenarios. It explains how matching works, so you can really understand what is going on behind the scenes.
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on March 30, 2005
Jeffrey Friedl is the man whom I credit for getting my start in computer programming. I even sent him a thank you letter after reading his first edition. Once you take the time to learn Regular Expressions, you'll often wonder how you got by without them. There is no better book to teach you than this one.
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on September 14, 2014
Great book. I have worn mine pretty well down.
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