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Issue 11.6 ('Apple About Boxes')
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Intro to Regular Expressions

A Primer on Reading and Using Regular Expressions

Issue: 11.6 (November/December 2013)
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?page=downloads#regexrx), the popular regular expression editor for Mac and Windows.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 11,142
Starting Page Number: 72
Article Number: 11615
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Excerpt of article text...

"Regular expressions? What the heck are regular expressions?"

That was my reaction when Xojo (then Real Software) introduced them into the language back in 1962. (OK, I was too lazy to look up the actual version, but it was a while ago.) So I called a friend, a Perl wiz, and he explained them to me. And I still didn't get it.

(For those of you unfamiliar, Perl is an incredibly fast language optimized for text processing. It is designed for those who think an entire program can be written with only the top row of the keyboard, and that caffeine is a basic food group.)

Eventually, I encountered some real-world problems where I wrote a lot of code that someone looked at and said, "hey, you could do that in one line with a regular expression." That's when I started to appreciate their power and elegance. And then I got hooked, became proficient, and even an evangelist.

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