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Many people say that you will get better at programming when you get used to Regular Expression. The problem is that it’s difficult to learn from a book and it is still a complex subject to explore and to master. But if you can’t hide from it, especially when you need to deal with .htaccess and mod_rewrite, here is the list of tools you can use to start learning regular expression.
A regular expression (abbreviated as regexp or regex, with plural forms regexps, regexes, or regexen) is a string that describes or matches a set of strings, according to certain syntax rules. Regular expressions are used by many text editors and utilities to search and manipulate bodies of text based on certain patterns. Many programming languages support regular expressions for string manipulation. For example, Perl and Tcl have a powerful regular expression engine built directly into their syntax.
There’s no real end to what you can use regular expression for. The limiting factor is normally imagination or technical skill, you can even use them to customize your own servers. I once went looking to buy the best proxy for Instagram use that I could afford. In the end a simple residential proxy adapted with a backconnect script and some cool regular expressions for determining output turned out the best option/
Please remember: These are free at the time of writing, and are here because there is no time limit. While some of them also offer several features which require you to buy the full version but the basic features – in my opinion – are enough for you to learn and taste the regex for the first time.
1. Expresso – Code Project Edition
Expresso editor is equally suitable as a teaching tool for the beginning user of regular expressions or as a full-featured development environment for the experienced programmer or web designer with an extensive knowledge of regular expressions. I like the interface, the simplicity give you an easy access to each feature. The RegEx builder is cool too. It is designed to run under .Net Framework.
2. Regular Expression Laboratory
Regular Expression Laboratory is an assistant FREEWARE simple to use tool to help you learn and prepare regular expressions. They said this one supports the incredible size of a stored regular expression up to 2MB. I am not sure about the 2MB announcement since I haven’t tested it yet. The interface provides simplified search and replace functions with some preset patterns available.
3. Rad Software Regular Expression Designer
This Russ Donald’s tool requires .Net Framework to be able to run. The Language Elements treeview is very helpful. The Regex match results are listed in a tree with levels for Matches, Groups and Captures. Clicking on a Match, Group or Capture will highlight it in the Input text window.
4. The Regulator
This one is created by Roy Osherove. Similar to the others, this one provide Match, Replace and Split. When you type recognized character such as “(” and “\”, the editor will prompt you with syntax options similar to the code completion in modern programming language IDE. The Regulator is also integrated with RegexLib.com, a free regular expressions library, and helps finding ready-to-use regular expressions.
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