Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mastering Regular Expressions Should Be In Your Toolbox

If you work with Python or Perl on a daily basis, chances are that you will have used a great amount of Regular Expression for manipulating text as part of your project. For Perl programmers, regular expression is a major part of the language and you are expected to master it if you are to succeed using the language, but for others, you will only use it now and again on some projects that require it; so you may end up not requiring to know a lot of regex.

However, for most beginners, one thing they find quite challenging with programming is getting to grips with regular expression - even some experienced folks out there still find themselves struggling with it. It does not matter how long you have been programming, if you are not making use of this feature as part of your everyday project, it is easy to forget the syntax altogether. To make matters worse, most programming books do not cover it, instead they just make a passing reference to it. So if you have a need to use it in anger, you will most likely use one of the best and widely used resources.

Mastering Regular Expressions is one of the most highly recommended books on Regular expressions out there today. This book starts by looking out how regular expressions work and sets out to explore how you can create them in C#, Java, Javascript, Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl, VB.NET.

I have had this book on my shelf for as long as I can remember, only recently went back to it because of the recent heavy lifting work I'm doing in Python. The cool thing about Regular Expression is that it works across languages - you don't have to learn it all over again for each language. It is one of the few things in programming that is the same no matter what language you choose.

The writing style is great, it shows you clear examples on how regular expressions work and how to use them. It has definitely helped me to become a better Engineer. The cool thing about this book is, unlike most other one out there, it focuses wholly on Regular Expressions. It covers everything you will need to know regardless of language and platform. It does not matter how long you've been programming, this important feature for text manipulation is a vital programming aspect that everyone should master.

It doesn't matter what programming language you work with, if you are looking for ways to learn how regular expressions work, I highly recommend getting a copy of Jeffrey Friedl's book

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