Friday, July 27, 2007

Book Review: Regular Expression Pocket Reference

Regular Expression Pocket Reference, 2nd Ed. by Tony Stubblebine. Published by O'Reilly, ISBN 0-596-51427-1

This is a handy little guide for common regular expression odds and ends.  The intro chapter does a nice job of giving you the regex elevator speech and hits all the important fundamentals: different engines, metacharacters, and general pattern rules.  There’s also a regex “Cookbook” section; however, that bit is only two pages and the “recipes” there are so rudimentary that they’re nearly useless and would have been better left to a different book.

The remaining chapters hit regex support in major languages, Apache, shells, and Vi and Vim editors.  These sections are very well done and give you great guidance to regex implementations on that platform, plus give you guidance on the APIs you’ll need for working with regexes.  Languages covered include Perl 5.8, Java 1.5/1.6, .NET framework with examples in C#, PHP, Python, Ruby, Python and JavaScript.  The Perl Compatible Regular Expression library (PCRE) is also covered.

Each chapter is concise, well-written and hits the major things you’ll need to refresh your memory on from time to time.

Overall it’s a very well done book.

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