2005-04-14

Regular Expressions

I was just tasked with an interesting programming challenge this week. I used Regular expressions to solve it. I'm a total novice at using regular expressions, but I do see the value in using them for certain tasks. Wow, what a powerful technology!

I posted a question on a Google Group: Regex. I very generous and helpful developer by the name of Eugeny Sattler assisted me in solving this problem and helped me to gain a better understanding of Regular Expressions in the process.

I am evaluating a tools that take advantage of Regular Expressions. One being EditPad Pro. This is an excellent tool and I'm seriously considering purchasing this tool. I have been using EditPad Lite for a while now and really like some of it's features. The Pro version is just that much more powerful. Another tool that might be worth purchasing is RegexBuddy.

I am reading "Regular Expressions, Powerful Techniques for Perl and Other Tools" by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl, from O'Reilly. This is an excellent book. It is written in a way that really aids in the understanding of an otherwise complicated topic. I have only gotten through the first chapter so far, but I am already getting some of the basics down.

Another tool you might consider adding to your aresenal is a pre-compiled, windows-native version of GNU egrep can be found in the bundle at: http://unxutils.sourceforge.net/. Lots of goodies in there.

3 comments:

Eugeny Sattler said...

Josh, before u buy EditPad pro i suggest you evaluate other replacers of stardard notepad.
1)Freeware NotePad++ http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm
2) Shareware Professional Notepad by "A Tech Group".
3) freeware PSPad - www.pspad.com
4) EditPlus - www.editplus.com

They all have syntax coloring feature (just set of supported programming languages differs from one to another)
Some of them support regex based search, though regex implementation is not that reach vs. EditPadPro

If I were in your place i would rather buy PowerGREP than EditPadPro. Because to my mind, there ain't no PowerGREP replacers (some claim to be such, but in fact they do not reach the same level of convinience and functionality and Perl-compatibility), while there exist many successful Notepad replacers.

It may sound as a marketing hype but let me remmind that till March 31, 2005 one can buy PowerGREP 3.xx at a price of PowerGREP 2.xx.
Rest assured I am not affiliated with Jgsoft :))

and one more piece of my honest opinion: Spend no penny on regexbuddy. Rather spend your time and effort on studying regex manuals, like Jeffrey Friedl's book or PowerGREP manual that is generously offered for free download from www.powergrep.com
RegexBuddy TM can only assist you in building simple regexes.

I have seen (at google group Regex)people who have regexbuddy installed and keep asking simple questions. Have they spent money in vain? Or they can't use it? I don't know.

Josh Blair said...

Eugeny, thanks for your recommendations. I will try out some of the notepad replacements and also look more seriously at PowerGrep. PowerGrep certainly gets great reviews. Thanks also for the tip about the short-lived discount too.

Eugeny Sattler said...

Hi Josh,
I have forgotten to mention another possible replacement of standard Notepad
It is GridinSoft Notepad link here
Highlights syntax of 45 languages, supports regular expressions.
Pro version costs $19, lite version is free.