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Running with Code Like scissors, only more dangerous

I've always been a fan of using tools for certain tasks, especially if they help facilitate your learning of the underlying technology.  That's actually how I got started with the web - I used a tool made available by AOL called AOLPress that ran on Windows 3.1 (I'm dating myself here) that was effectively a WYSIWYG HTML editor that also let you see the HTML as it was generated. 

I came across www.regular-expressions.info recently, and it was a useful site to have as a regex reference.  It helped me build out a regex for a URL rewrite matching task that I had, particularly since Microsoft's documentation on it is so poor.  (In Microsoft's defense, I'm sure that it's not terribly poor if you've been working with regex a priori).

That site is funded by sales of RegexBuddy, a neat little tool that walks you through the creation of regular expressions, giving you the ability to insert tokens via a menu-driven interface, as well as producing English-readable descriptions of the tokens as you enter them:

A sample screenshot of RegexBuddy

The above screenshot shows the URL rewriting regular expression using .NET-style backreference naming schemes (it also supports Python).  In this case I highlighted the + token at the end of the regular expression and it presented me with a dialog asking how many times I wanted to match the previous token.

The following screenshot demonstrates its testing capabilities as well:

RegexBuddy testing my input.

At only $30, you really can't afford not to pick this up, particularly if you're dealing with input validation or the like.  RegexBuddy also comes with a substantial library of pre-written regular expressions ready to be used in your projects.

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 11:58 AM | Back to top


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