Multilingual Regular Expression Syntax (Pattern)

1 - About

This section talks about the Regular Expression Syntax.

Regular expressions are implemented with context-free grammars and are the building block of regular language.

Stephen Kleene was the fellow who invented regular expressions and showed that they describe the same languages that finite automata describe. Most regexp-packages transform a regular expression into an automaton based on nondeterministic automata (NFA). The automaton does then the parse work.

The Glob language behave a lot like a regular expression but is not. The difference is mostly in the signification of the star and is use a lot in Shell in order to match file name. See Glob - Globbing (Wildcard expression).

2 - Example

Java regular expression used to parse log message at Twitter circa 2010



3 - Usage

Regular expressions are used in many systems.

  • File Search. E.g., UNIX a.*b.
  • Data Structure Definition. Example: DTD’s describe XML tags with a RE format like person (name, addr, child*).

4 - Syntax



See meta to get an overview of the most important regexp (symbols|token) that have a meaning in the context of regular expression.

5 - Grammar

The syntax can differ from one implementation to an other but then tend to follow the same principal.

6 - Visualisation

Regular expression are visualized via rail road diagram.

7 - Documentation / Reference

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