Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition
By Jeffrey E.F. Friedl
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: July 2002
Pages: 496

Regular expressions are an extremely powerful tool for manipulating text and data.They have spread like wildfire in recent years, now offered as standard features inPerl, Java, VB.NET and C# (and any language using the .NET Framework), PHP, Python,Ruby, Tcl, MySQL, awk, Emacs, and many other popular tools and languages. Ifyou don't use regular expressions yet, you will discover in this book a whole newworld of mastery over your data. If you already use them, you'll appreciate thisbook's unprecedented detail and breadth of coverage. If you think you know all youneed to know about regular expressions, this book is a stunning eye-opener. In spitetheir wide availability, flexibility, and unparalleled power, regular expressions arefrequently underutilized. Regular expressions allow you to code complex and subtletext processing that you never imagined could be automated. Regular expressions cansave you time and aggravation. They can be used to craft elegant solutions to a widerange of problems. A command of regular expressions is an invaluable skill. Yet whatis power in the hands of an expert can be fraught with peril for the unwary.

Mastering Regular Expressions will help you navigate the minefield to becomingan expert. Once you've mastered regular expressions, they'll become an invaluablepart of your toolkit. You will wonder how you ever got by without them. MasteringRegular Expressions, Second Edition has been thoroughly updated to include allthe new features of Perl 5.8, as well as several other languages, including Java,VB.NET, C#, Python, JavaScript, Tcl, and Ruby. Written in the lucid, entertainingtone that made a complex, dry topic crystal-clear to thousands of programmers, andsprinkled with solutions to complex real-world problems, Mastering RegularExpressions offers a wealth information that you can put to immediate use. Topicsinclude:

  • A comparison of features among different versions of many languagesand tools
  • How the regular expression engine works
  • Optimization (major savings available here!)
  • Matching just what you want, but not what you don't want
  • Sections and chapters on individual languages
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(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


The best!

By salvomic

from Italy

About Me Developer


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Intermediate

    Comments about oreilly Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition:

    this is the best of all, but, please, provide also an epub version :-)

    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    Superb book

    By Anonymous

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition:

    If you use regular expressions, you'll love this book.

    If you don't use regular expressions, this book will open your eyes to a much faster and cleaner way of doing a lot of what you probably struggle with every day.

    Not only have I read it through, cover-to-cover, twice - I have permanent bookmarks in the book so I can find the parts I use all the time (the Perl section is particularly useful). Reading this book (and it's companion pocket reference) has saved me literally hours of time on some jobs, and made others possible. Some co-workers made fun of how much I read it - until they needed to understand a regular expression in someone else's code. Now they think it's wonderful.

    Some of the best parts include details on the differences between Perl, grep, vi, Java, etc. Very well done. The examples are superb, and the occasional "quiz" lets you make sure you're really understanding what he's talking about. The author also includes references to other pages (instead of making you remember where you saw something

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    From zero to complete in one day!

    By Christopher Nurse

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition:

    This book has transformed the way I plan to write applications. Whereas before I would have had major areas of hardcoded logic, I can now write scripts that can be parsed using regex stuff I have learned from this book.

    This makes my applications "soft", it opens up major areas of functionality that can become user customisable, where the customisations can be validated, to bullet proof the application against syntax errors.

    In short, think regex, as the author says, open your mind and a whole heap of new possibilities will be yours!

    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)



    By lucas_gonze

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition:

    Friedl's obsessiveness is mind blowing, and the result is a remarkable book. He took the trouble to invent new typographic conventions. He constructed, somehow, a compelling narrative flow and informal voice in a book on a very dry topic. The examples illustrate perfectly. The history of regular expressions is comprehensive. Etcetera ad superlativim.

    On a practical level I found this book had an impact on my working life. It's useful. But leaving aside the value of advanced regular expressions or of this book in helping you to master them, it is an absurdly well made guide, definitive not just on the topic but also on as an example of technical writing.


    Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition Review

    By George Woolley of

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition:

    If regular expressions are important to you, get this book.

    "Mastering Regular Expressions" is exceptional both in the scope of what it covers regarding regular expressions and also in it's thoroughness.

    To date this is the most impressive technical book I've read on any subject.

    It's a virtuoso performance.

    One caveat: parts of the book are quite demanding.

    See my longer review ( for more detail.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


    Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition Review

    By Larry Bezeau

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Mastering Regular Expressions, 2nd Edition:

    The second edition of Mastering Regular Expressions is undoubtedly the most thorough and unified coverage of this important topic. A treatise such as this is appropriate in light of the large number of programs, both interactive and command line, that use regular expressions with feature sets that vary from program to program. Many references on specific languages contain chapters on the use of regular expressions within the language, but they lack the unifying thrust of this book. Friedl's book also considers the issue of efficiency in the use of regular expressions, a topic not normally examined elsewhere.

    The book covers regular expressions in general followed by specific coverage of regular expressions in three languages, Perl, Java, and .net. A major omission here in my view is JavaScript. The newer versions of JavaScript have a powerful regular expression capability and, unlike the other languages considered, JavaScript occurs in a context where there is no other choice of language, in interactive pages in web browsers. Another language that gets short-changed is TCL (Tool Command Language) which has a very powerful and efficient regular expression capability. My own perference would have been for coverage of these two languages over the the three chosen by the author.

    There is a chapter on solving practical problems but I would have preferred even more on this topic. Little mention is made of utilities such as sed that depend entirely on regular expressions for their usefulness. To the author's credit, he does document carefully many of the traps into which regular expression programmers frequently fall.

    Many consider regular expressions to be inelegant but they are much more concise than the alternatives and are often used where there is no other reasonable choice. If you find yourself in this situation, and especially if you are using regular expressions in more than one language or utility, you will benefit from reading this book. It is well organized and readable.

    Larry Bezeau

    University of New Brunswick

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