An up-to-date look at free software and its makers


Article from Issue 65/2006
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Redet helps you create regular expressions, and solving Go problems is a good way to relax. We also examine the latest events at Debian, including recent talk about the GNU Free Documentation License.

Perhaps no innovation of the Unix environment has been more influential than regular expressions. Regular expressions really do give you a world of opportunities, if you know what you are doing. You can use regular expressions to define filters and simplify searches. Regular expressions are supported by a great variety of Linux programs, such as the popular Emacs, Vi, and Nedit editors, and even Open-Office Writer. And if you use scripting to process text files, you’ll find no genuine alternative to regular expressions. Help for Regular Expressions On the downside, composing complex search patterns with regular expressions is an error-prone process. Conceptual searches boil down to cryptic shorthand, and various dialects handle details differently, forcing programmers to put more effort into testing. The Redet [1] tool can help you compile regular expressions without advanced knowledge of the shorthand (Figure 1). The program supports interactive testing based on a variety of tools, and it can give you ready-to-use regular expressions.

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