Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition
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Spotlight Customer ReviewsAverage Customer Rating: 4.38
Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Friedl once again wrote the ultimate book on the subject
Comment: Regular Expressions are a powerful tool, but not a topic that easily lend itself to a light reading. Notwithstanding the author's very informal writing style and genuine enthusiasm, a few sections can be dry or even cryptic (especially for beginners). Anyway, Friedl once again wrote the ultimate book on the subject, with an intimate knowledge of Regular Expressions, an outstanding attention to every detail and a huge amount of useful and relevant examples. Compared to the previous edition it covers new features but also expand on a broader range of programming languages, with dedicated chapters for Perl, Java and .NET; PHP, Phyton and Ruby get some coverage as well
Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Those wise birds!
Comment: I got Mastering Regular Expressions in 1998 and I peek back regularly and it am proud to say is one of most used and useful books I own.
Regular expressions are for everyone. They are simple to write and can be close to impossible to read and even unimaginably harder to understand. But reading comes after you can craft one.
And this art of crafting RE is explained in astonishing detail and analysis in this book. Reader is carefully guided through basics, differences and common and uncommon pitfalls. Some of the parts are definitely not for the faint hearted! And this is especially true for parts that cover Perl RE. While main topic is Perl RE engine, a deep-enough travel through different RE dialects is made to help RE-crafting in almost any tool that supports REs.
I've used the methods described in the book in tools as different as MS VC++, various editors, search engines and programming (Perl, PHP, C++, ...). The ability to use RE usually impressed people to the point they were sure I am using some incredible magic.
But I must say that the most useful feature delivered in this book was ability to PARSE, UNDERSTAND and FIX a (slow, broken, strange acting) RE. This can be slowly absorbed by reader's (open) mind while carefully reading the book. The difference between meant/written can be as extreme as it can get in RE. I can (proudly) say I've been able to fix several complex REs, by simply (one could say blindly) following the rules laid in the book.
My opinion is thath without this book real understanding of RE is almost impossible. I recommended it all of those who use programs that support (any form) of RE engine. It will help them solve some (hard) problems incredibly fast!
Customer Rating: 5
Summary: The Bible of RegEx
Comment: 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.