How to practice regular expressions more intuitively
This post contains some useful tools that are of great help to beginning users of regular expressions.
As a mediocre corpus and python user, Regular expression indeed helps me do string searching more efficiently. But at the same time, I found that using regex sometimes is cumbersome, because:
- I might don’t remember what the search pattern means. In traditional regex teaching class, you probably hear your teacher says, “
$mataches the ending position of the string;
[^]matches a character that is not included in the bracket”. But even with examples, this explanation doesn’t help us too much. We probably will forget them after the class.
- I’m not sure if there’s any errors in my regex. Only after I hit the search button and nothing retrieved, I realize there may be some errors. What’s worse, I don’t know where the errors are.
These problems push me to find some tools to help me learn regex, more intuitively. Then, Regulex got my attention.
Here is a sneak peek at the graph of Regulex:
Now, there is yet another feature I would love to see in Regulex. That is, I want to see the results retrieved from real data instantly after I type the pattern. Unfortunately, this tool doesn’t support it. But I found another tool that can meet the needs: Expressions.
Expressions is a Mac App with which you can have a live preview of what you write. The only downside of this app is that it’s commercial. But if you happen to have Setapp subscription, you can download it for free.