Last month’s update of the Regular-Expressions.info website added full coverage of XRegExp to the regex tutorial and regex reference sections. But the tools & languages section was missing the XRegExp page, resulting in broken links in the tutorial and reference sections. This page has now been added.
The regular expressions reference on the Regular-Expressions.info website was completely overhauled with the big update of that site last month. In the past, the reference section consisted of two parts. One part was a summary of the regex features commonly found in Perl-style regex flavors with short descriptions and examples. This part of the reference ignored differences between regex flavors and omitted most features that don’t have wide support. The other part was a regular expression flavor comparison that listed many more regex features along with YES/no indicators for many regex flavors, but without any explanations of the features.
When reworking the site, I wanted to make the reference section more detailed, with descriptions and examples of all the syntax supported by the flavors discussed on the site. Doing that resulted in a reference that lists many features that are only supported by a few regex flavors. For such a reference to be usable, it needs to indicate which flavors support each feature.
My original design for the new reference table used two rows for each feature. The first row had 4 columns with a label, syntax, description, and example, similar to the old reference tables. The second row had 20 columns indicating which versions of which flavors support these features. While the double-row design allowed all the information to fit within the table without requiring horizontal scrolling, it made it more difficult to quickly scan the tables for the feature you’re looking for.
The result of this latest update is that the new regex tables are now just as easy to read as the ten-year-old tables on the old site were, while still covering all the features big and small of all the flavors discussed on the site.
RegexBuddy 4 was released earlier this month. This is a major upgrade that significantly improves RegexBuddy’s ability to emulate the features and deficiencies of the latest versions of all the popular regex flavors as well as many past versions of these flavors.
Along with that, the Regular-Expressions.info website has been thoroughly updated with new content. Both the tutorial and reference sections have been significantly expanded to cover all the features of the latest regular expression flavors. There are also new tutorial and reference subsections that explain the syntax used by replacement strings when searching and replacing with regular expressions.
I’m also reviving this blog. In the coming weeks you can expect blog post that highlight the new topics on the Regular-Expressions.info website. Later on I’ll blog about more intricate regex-related issues that RegexBuddy 4 emulates but that the website doesn’t talk about or only mentions in passing. RegexBuddy 4.0.0 is aware of 574 different aspects (syntactic and behavioral differences) of 94 regular expression flavors. These numbers are surely to grow with future 4.x.x releases. While RegexBuddy juggles it all with ease, that’s far too much detail to cover in a tutorial or reference that any person would want to read. So the tutorial and reference cover the important features and behaviors, while the blog will serve the corner cases as tidbits. Subscribe to the Regex Guru RSS Feed if you don’t want to miss any articles.
One of the common criticisms against the first edition was that we
didn’t have the regular expressions and code samples available for download. Since our book only has very short code snippets rather than complete programs, we (the authors) did not have these available as separate files either.
But for the second edition we’re trying to do better. You can now download the code samples from the 2nd edition of Regular Expressions Cookbook. This HTML file contains all the blocks with regular expressions and source code from the book, along with the titles of the chapters, recipes, and sections that they are found in. If you have purchased the book, you can use this file to easily copy and paste the regular expressions and source code snippets.
Even if you purchased the ebook, you may prefer to use this file. The regexes in the ebook are formatted with line breaks and gray dots for spaces to make them easier to read in print. The HTML file does not use such formatting, so you can copy and paste them directly. This means that some very regexes will run beyond the edge of your browser window.