Generate Regular Expressions

This post has already been published on code::gallery blog which now has been merged into this blog.

Roy Osherov has created Regulator – a regular expression generator. And it has a nice visual interface to specify the data and the parsing rules that creates the regular expression. If you want to know more about regular expressions head over here. Developers can use this to be more productive in creating regular expressions and use them in their own programming environment.

The Regulator is an advanced, free regular expressions testing and learning tool written by Roy Osherove.
It allows you to build and verify a regular expression against any text input, file or web, and displays matching, splitting or replacement results within an easy to understand, hierarchical tree.

However in such applications the real challenge is to create a rich UI that will enable expressing all the possible formats of data and all the possible ways of specifying the parsing rules. More fiddling with it will tell us whether it is really upto the challenge, but a brief introduction has resulted in a pleasing experience.

You will also find a link to a more ambitious project – Regulazy.

Regulazy is an attempt to build a small “Expert System” for creating .NET Regular Expressions.
It lets the user create an expression based on a real life example of text they would like to parse.
As the user interacts with Regulazy using the mouse, Regulazy offers the user possible expressions that would fit the currently selected text. As the user selects “rules” to apply on various parts of the text,
a regular expression is built automatically in the lower application pane.

Regulazy goes a step further from Regulator to suggest the best matches for a real life data. Users can use sample text to specify the kind of data and see real time preview of the results. It is still in alpha stage.

Regular Expressions themselves are technology agnostic, I really wish that both these tools are not OS or platform specific. I will try and see if they work on other OSs by using Mono.

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Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda.

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