With regular expressions, you can save yourself time and aggravation while dealing with documents, mail messages, log files -- you name it -- any type of text or data. For example, regular expressions can play a vital role in constructing a World Wide Web CGI script, which can involve text and data of all sorts.
Regular expressions are not a tool in and of themselves, but are included as part of a larger utility. The classic example is grep. These days, regular expressions can be found everywhere, such as in:
- Scripting languages (including Perl, Tcl, awk, and Python)
- Editors (including Emacs, vi, and Nisus Writer)
- Programming environments (including Delphi and Visual C++)
There can be certain subtle, but valuable, ways to think when you're using regular expressions, and these can be taught. Jeffrey Friedl has spent years helping people on the Net understand and use regular expressions. In this book he leads you through the steps of knowing exactly how to craft a regular expression to get the job done.
Regular expressions are not used in a vacuum. In this book, a variety of tools are examined and used in an extensive array of examples, with a major focus on Perl. Perl is extremely well endowed with rich and expressive regular expressions. Yet what is power in the hands of an expert can be fraught with peril for the unwary. This book will help you navigate the minefield to becoming an expert.