Mastering Regular Expressions
Powerful Techniques for Perl and Other Tools
By Jeffrey E.F. Friedl
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: January 1997
Pages: 368

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++)

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, with a major focus on Perl. 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.

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O'Reilly MediaMastering Regular Expressions
 
5.0

(based on 8 reviews)

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great book--how to parse data

By Charlie

from Washington

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    I was able to use the author's examples in Visual Basic Script, Visual Basic, and Visual Basic for Applications in the Windows environment using VBscript's regular expressions. I've run some Excel VBA applications to search thousands of Word documents for multiple phrases. I highly recommend this book.

    (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Chris Nestor

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    Well authored and well edited. The 2 years of effort the author says he gave

    this book really shows itself. He sells you on the benefit of "hanging in" there through the book, as well as the world of programming power which will be available to you when you indeed "master" regular expressions. Mr. Friedl is sensitive to the various levels of programming expertise his readers will come to the book with. Examples given are strenuously explained--something a budding programmer like myself really appreciates, with nobody to turn to to have my many questions explained. I've never gotten INTO a computer book like I have this one. My deepest appreciation to the author. If he ever attempts another topic I would like to know about it just out of respect for his work ethic as an author. Very impressive.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Chris Widhelm

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    Terrific!

    I bought the book with the intention of using it as a refrence and before too long I had read it from cover to cover.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Ashley Grant

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    This book isn't good. To call it such would be an insult to the author and O'Reilly. This should be the standard for technical books. Content, style, and delivery are so near perfect it makes other excellent technical books look mediocre. Great job Jeffrey and O'Reilly!

    If you at the point in your programming where you are ready to go beyond simply using Regular Expressions to actually understanding them you need this book. If you are just getting started with Regular Expressions you will be ready for anything with this book at hand.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Emil Wayers

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    It's fantastic. Cannot explain, with, more, words.

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Serafim Junior Fagundes

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    WOW!

    What an incredible book to read. Jeffrey Friedl made a big effort to describe a not so easy programming technique, into a full comprehensive matter. This isn't an easy subject to write about. The author made a very interesting gift to us all.

    The book would need an update though.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Dave Lindquist

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    This is an exceptional book. Mr. Friedl has the rare ability to take a potentially dry subject like Regular Expressions and produce and enlightening, entertaining, and thoroughly addicting book. I especially like his conversational style and inclusion of humorous anecdotes like his experience explaining the term "Regular Expressions" to his Japanese colleagues.

    If you don't already know Regular Expressions, you need this book. If you think you already know Regular Expressions like the back of your hand, you really need this book!

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Mastering Regular Expressions Review

    By Martin A.

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about O'Reilly Media Mastering Regular Expressions:

    Have you ever had a school teacher that just loves what he or she is teaching? Loves it so much the lessons become interesting no matter how tedious or difficult the matter of the lessons are? Well, this is a book written in that sprit. I never expected regexes to be fun, but now I am a addict ...

    This is a tough book to read through, but it is well written and even a non-programmer like me can enjoy it. On and off it goes so deep into the magic world of regexes I loose my directions, but for the most part it is reasonable hands-on and does teach a lot of good regex common sense.

    If you really want to utilise regexes for getting things done -- beyond what search and replace in word processors provide -- this book is a must have. And fun: I had never realised the impact of a thing such as nothingness before I read this book ...

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