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Regular Expression Resources (Plus a Few Others)

Posted: 25 Nov 2019 19:29
by Dustydog
I decided to post my reply to someone's question again here as I find these resources extremely useful:

My favorite tutorial sites:

This is written by Jan Goyvaerts, arguably the world expert on the subject, and he's given an incredible amount of information for free. For a slight fee, you can even download the guide as a .pdf or see it online without its (very reasonable) ads:
Take particular note of this page there as it describes the "flavor" of regular expression engine used in XY:

Then there's also this, which explains a few subjects a little more clearly than the above. Each will obviously have places where they're more clear, but if you were to choose one, choose the top. This is particularly good explaining some advanced or tricky features in depth:

There are also several online regular expression test sites. Here's one that seems useful, recommended by the Rexegg author:

The very best tool (paid) that you can get is RegexBuddy written by Jan Goyvaerts. It's worth every cent. I constantly use regular expressions with XY. Regular expressions are a hugely useful tool if you take the time to learn them. It's one of the best things I've learned in the past few years related to computing. Even simple regexes are incredibly handy - and not too hard to learn at all - especially with RegexBuddy's help. Regular expressions are also a nice first step to learning scripting as they're useful both with the surface XY interface as well as scripting:

Finally, if you want a powerful tool (certainly not more powerful than XY, but if you need some help with renaming files and you don't want to mess with regular expressions) is bulk rename utility - which also supports regular expressions, which should tell you something about how useful they are. It's free, safe (last I looked), and very useful. I used it a lot before I discovered XY. (They make their money off other software. This attracts customers. So you don't need to look too hard for sneaky ways they may be trying to make money. But, check it like you should anything.) It has quite a busy, rather retro interface, but it's because it's powerful. Don't let the interface throw you off, it's actually quite simple once you get used to it. Via its interface, it can do some things that usually only a regex or scripting could do. But, there's no scripting, it's not a file manager, it's just a specialty tool for renaming files:

Don't forget that the magical Everything (by voidtools) search engine also supports regular expression searching and renaming. I really couldn't live happily on my computer without it. It's donation ware without nags. This isn't strictly a regular expression resource, but it's a favorite tool of mine, so I've included it here. One can also set it up so it can open XY from anything it finds with just a right click and select:

Good luck! You might also want to take a look at Jan Goyvaert's EditPad Pro, which is going to have an update very soon, as of this post (I'm in the beta, and it seems like it's getting quite close to release). It uses Goyvaert's regex engine, which is probably the most powerful in the world. There's a color scheme available for XY as well (though I need to update it a bit). It has some excellent, unique options as well as a free three month trial of the full version (if I recall correctly). If you want help with some setup options (like launching XY straight from the editor, or launching a selected portion of a script), feel free to PM me. I've tried multiple editors, and this is my favorite. There's a free version too, but you'll likely want the full version. Try it!

Feel free to PM me if you need help setting up one of these to work optimally with XY.

Re: Regular Expression Resources (Plus a Few Others)

Posted: 09 Jul 2020 01:00
by GUIguy
Thanks, DustyDog...

In spite of your generous offer of PMs, I wanted to post this to the forum in case anyone else finds my question and your answer helpful...

First of all, I am NOT a programmer! So please consider that in making your reply... :oops:

What would be the best resource (preferably free, of course) to learn regex? I've always been intimidated by the concept, but I think it's high time I make an attempt at learning at least the basics.

Your recommendation?

Many thanks in advance...