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Issue 13.1 ('iOS First Look')
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Literally, Literal Patterns

Turning Arbitrary Strings Into Regular Expression Patterns

Issue: 13.1 (January/February 2015)
Author: Kem Tekinay
Author Bio: Kem Tekinay is a Macintosh consultant and programmer who started with Xojo when it was still REALbasic. He is the author of RegExRX (http://www.mactechnologies.com/index.php:i?page=downloads#regexrx), the popular regular expression editor for Mac and Windows.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 11,106
Starting Page Number: 92
Article Number: 13112
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Excerpt of article text...

Regular expressions can save you a lot of time and effort, make your code easier to read and maintain, and generally improve your coding life. Literally.

Learn them well and you will become a programming rock star. Literally.

Well, maybe the "rock star" thing is more "figurative," but could you tell the difference? Sure, the first lists things that could happen in a real, measurable sense, whereas the latter is something that represents an idea open to interpretation.

But how do you tell the regular expression engine when to take a pattern literally instead of interpreting it as tokens?

The Unknown Pattern

Suppose you wanted to let your users define a pattern from within your application. For example, they can search a TextArea, but that search will yield entire lines or paragraphs that hold their specified string.

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