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Mastering Regular Expressions [Paperback]

Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Mastering Regular Expressions Mastering Regular Expressions 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

July 29 2002 0596002890 978-0596002893 Second Edition

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 Expressionswill 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 RegularExpressionsoffers 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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From the Publisher

Regular expressions are an extremely powerful tool for manipulating text and data. They are now standard features in a wide range of languages and popular tools, including Perl, Java, VB.NET and C# (and any language using the .NET Framework), PHP, Python, Ruby, Tcl, MySQL, awk, and Emacs.
If you don't use regular expressions 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.

About the Author

Jeffrey Friedl was raised in the countryside of Rootstown, Ohio, and had aspirations of being an astronomer until one day he noticed a TRS-80 Model I sitting unused in the corner of the chem lab (bristling with a full 16K of RAM, no less). He eventually began using Unix (and regular expressions) in 1980, and earned degrees in Computer Science from Kent (BS) and the University of New Hampshire (MS). He did kernel development for Omron Corporation in Kyoto, Japan for eight years before moving in 1997 to Silicon Valley to apply his regular-expression know-how to financial news and data for a little-known company called "Yahoo!"

When faced with the daunting task of filling his copious free time, Jeffrey enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and basketball with friends at Yahoo!, programming his house, and feeding the squirrels and jays in his back yard. He also enjoys spending time with his wife Fumie, and preparing for the Fall 2002 release of their first "software project" together.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible of RegEx April 29 2004
One of the hardest things, even for a seasoned programmer to grasp is regular expressions. They are powerful ways to search, manipulate and parse text fields and can often take several lines of code and shrink it down to a mystic, but powerful, expression.
If you have ever had to parse a file for information, you know that one of the things that still haunts any programmer nowadays is how to match text. In this day and age of Object Oriented Programming, Web Services, etc. the power of Regex holds firm.
Throughout this book the author takes great care not to overwhelm the reader with tons of code that has no meaning. The power of the book comes from the fact that if you read, and follow along, through the examples you will gain an understanding of how to do the techniques the author is referring to. At times it may seem like you have to read over a section twice, but you will realize that as you carry forth into the next section the material you read previously has turned into something you can now apply -- not just another example you can cut and paste and never really learn technique behind.
This is a powerful book, covering many, many pages. Noone should expect to sit down and read it cover to cover and be done with it. The benefit comes from reading, applying, and referencing. I find myself using it several times a week to lookup information on Regular Expressions and to held solidify knowledge of techniques that I have used in the past.
Whether you are a Windows, Unix, or even Macintosh person -- RegEx holds the key to text manipulation -- and this book holds the map you need to find that key.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get this book and get over your fear April 14 2004
Regular expressions always terrified me. I really got tired of looking for related examples on the 'net and hacking sample code so I decided I had to take the plunge.
I can say that the first chapter of this book is one of the most important chapters of any book I ever read. It leaves you breathless. Actually you'll probably want to read it again as the first time round you were so glued to the pages you didn't have time to try out the examples yourself.
In a book such as this layout and typographical conventions are of utmost importance and this book gets this spot on. An author who can cover this subject without simply using masses of examples and dry outlines of selected syntax arrangements deserves an acolade. This book goes further. It stimulates the juices and is a struggle to put down (to the detriment of your hands-on practice as mentioned above).
I was quite wary of exploring the territory of regular expressions and used to be very ambivalent towards Perl but this book helped to ease me in to a whole new world of script programming.
This book is not just for Perl geeks. PCREs (Perl Compatible Regular Expressions) are creeping into other programming and scripting languages now and this book will serve you no matter where you're coming from.
Get this book and get over your fear!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Guide to Regular Expressions May 28 2003
Most computer programmers have heard of regular expressions, discussed in hushed tones and conjuring images of Unix gurus and their incomprehensible commands and godlike mastery of their systems, yet few actually know enough about regular expressions or how they work to do more than a simple word match using one, if that.
This book covers regular expressions from top to bottom in great and exhaustive detail, including the hows and whys of performance and supported features between the different engines that process them. Though geared mainly toward Perl, the examples and text will apply to nearly any system that provides support, from PHP to ASP to Python.
The text is fairly dense and is not exactly geared toward the novice programmer, though. I've had classes in Finite State Machines and still had to really apply my grey matter in a few spots to understand everything being discussed. However, the understanding the reader gains upon completion of the text is invaluable and will expand one's programming potential exponentially.
The one real lack of the book is a good overview and quick-reference card, but on the whole, the book is a good selection from the O'Reilly library and well worth the read of any serious programmer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive guide to regular expressions April 26 2003
By Jason
Regular Expressions ("regexes" for short), have been officially integrated into Java with the release of J2SE 1.4. While many Java developers are just discovering them, they have been a fixture in other languages and tools for quite some time. Regular expressions are powerful tools for performing all kinds of text processing, but they require no small amount of knowledge to use effectively and efficiently. This is where "Mastering Regular Expressions" comes to the rescue.
The book's nine chapters are categorized into three sections. The book first teaches the basics of regular expressions, crafting simple regexes, and the different features and flavors available in various regex packages. Next, the reader is given invaluable information about how the different types of regular expression engines work, as well as techniques for crafting practical and efficient expressions. The final section covers language specific issues in Perl, Java, and .NET.
The author does an outstanding job leading the reader from regex novice to master. The book is extremely easy to read and chock full of useful and relevant examples. The author offers up questions along the way designed to engage the reader to apply what he has learned. In-line references to other parts of the book containing information pertinent the particular topic being discussed are also very helpful.
Regular expressions are valuable tools that every developer should have in their toolbox. "Mastering Regular Expressions" is the definitive guide to the subject, and an outstanding resource that belongs on every programmer's bookshelf.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent O'Reilly book
This is a great guide to regular expressions in Perl. It's so nice to see a 'proper' book once in a while, instead of superficial dumbed-down crap.
Published on March 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
I had just started learning perl and I knew I needed to learn how to use regular expressions. I breezed through learning perl and this book was next. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by Christopher Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Regex Insights
I used, but never truly understood, regular expressions until I read this book. If you use regular expressions in a production setting you need to understand them at a deep level... Read more
Published on Dec 13 2003 by Jack D. Herrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Learning Tool
I have struggled with regular expressions for a couple of years now. Like most people, I knew 'something about them', and could cobble together a simple regex. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by David C. Veeneman
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful book
This book offered much additional information (e.g. history) about regular expressions, and will certainly be used further for reference purposes. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2003 by Knud van Eeden
4.0 out of 5 stars Need to get to speed quickly? This is a good start...
While the various websites give a lot of good information on regular expressions, they don't show enough about building them from scratch. Read more
Published on July 11 2003 by Dave from Seattle
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to learn about Regular Expressions.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of how a regular expression really works, this book does a great job explaining all the syntax, intricacies, optimization, greedy match, and... Read more
Published on July 2 2003 by Blue Monkey
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't call me a reference book
I found other books much more helpful on solving a sticky regular expression problem. The author himself sums up his attitude towards users who want to find the solution fast... Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Friedl once again wrote the ultimate book on the subject
Regular Expressions are a powerful tool, but not a topic that easily lend itself to a light reading. Read more
Published on May 13 2003 by Foti Massimo
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, but...
A good book, but it doesn't really end up offering that much. If you are good with regular expressions and understand them, this just gives a lot of more detailed, specific and... Read more
Published on May 10 2003 by Tim Greer
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