Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Dymystifying Regular Expressions

Okay, I’ll admit it. From time to time I drive my fellow programmers noo-noo bananas, but not because of my snarky-yet-cheerful sense of humor, but rather because I’ve never met a regular expression I didn’t like.

Oh, they still invite me to the office birthday parties, but not without glowering at me for having introduced constructs such as /(?<=(?:^|,\s*)"")(?:[^""]|"""")*|(?<=(?:^|,))(?:\s*)(?=(?:,|$))/ ... ... I suspect Shelly Doll over at Builder.com is of a similar opinion as she writes in her tutorial entitled 'Demystifying the syntax of regular expressions:’

“Regular expressions (REs) are often wrongly perceived as mystical unknowns that only a true guru can understand. They’re ugly to look at, and if you don’t know the syntax, they can seem like cryptic strings of garbage you might get from a core dump. The reality is that regular expressions are very simple and can be easily picked up with the help of a handy cheat sheet. This article will help you amaze your friends by walking you though the most commonly used regular expressions.”

I bring this all up as an encouragement to those of you coding plug-ins, custom pages, and/or other tools for your church’s website so that the many of you cringe of regular expressions may throw any fears borne out of ignorance …

… well that and I didn’t want to lose the link to this excellent-yet-simple how-to/introductory article.

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