Personally, I love Regular Expressions. They are incredibly useful and can quickly turn a task that would take many lines of code into a single statement. They are perfect for text manipulation and forms processing & validation. In general they simplify the everyday coding lives of developers world-wide.
However, Regular Expressions do come with a down-side. They can be complex to read and difficult to get ‘just right’.
So for the past six years I have been using a great tool called RegEx Buddy. It is a recommended tool on my favorite Regular Expressions Web site:
RegEx Buddy has been my staple for many years now and let’s me quickly and easily create and/or debug Regular Expressions. It’s actually also great since one can use it to manipulate text quickly which can save a lot of unnecessary cutting and pasting.
Recently I’ve been wondering what else is out there that can help me out when I’m working with Regular Expressions. When I did a search I came up with a few alternatives.
My favorite so far is a free online service called RegEx Hero. Check it out at:
Their tool is written using the Silverlight .NET RegEx class library, which appeals to me since I do most of my programming in .NET.
The RegEx Hero Web site also has a great Regular Expressions syntax reference library, as well as a library of pre-built regular expressions that are ranked by user votes. All in all I’d say this is a great tool and I love that it’s online but lets you save your queries, and if you click the .NET option, the site will actually auto-generate the .NET code you need.
Wikipedia has a list of Regular Expression software, but many of the tools listed do not seem as useful for writing or debugging.
I found a useful discussion thread at stackoverflow on the subject. Although the thread is a bit old, I think the comments are still very helpful. I intend to take a look at some of the tools people have suggested.
I’d also appreciate if people who read this post could let me know what their preferred Regular Expression testing tool is!