Mastering Regular Expressions by Jeffrey Friedl

A big part of what makes Perl/Python/Tcl/Emacs/Vi/ Sed/Awk/Java Servlet/MS Word/etc's text processing abilities approachable and powerful can be credited to the consistent use of the regular expressions model and methods of usage.

Regular expressions helps you illustrate to your scripts how to grab on to interesting landmarks in your documents and what to do about the nearby text surrounding these landmarks. It is hard to grasp this old art unless you've been a power user for a while. But don't panic, this book will help you take advantage of this hidden tool.

This is the first book I purchased when I decided to start learning Perl. It's the way to go if you already know a little Perl and use unix tools day in and day out. "Regular expressions" (regex) are quite important. Since we all want to do the complex things with regex from each of the above listed scripting environments, its nice to know that there's a book that will explain to you just exactly how regex differ in each environment. I think it is a really detailed reference and will serve as a great tutorial.

Here's another book review:

At Web Nerd Bookshelf ( by Philip Greenspun ( Philip gave a review for the book:

Since the only thing that a Web nerd can usefully do with Perl is grind over a bunch of HTML files and touch them up, what you need most is Mastering Regular Expressions (Friedl; O'Reilly). It is tough to believe that two pages of manual could be expanded into a 342-page book, but there you have it. This book explains the one genius feature of Perl: non-greedy *. It makes matching stuff inside HTML tags about 100 times easier.

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