Ladies and gentlemen: introducing REGEXER.COM!

My friend Adam has been tapping at the keyboard and pacing again. This time, he’s working on a project called Regexer.

For many programmers and Web developers, having to write up a regex (regular expression, a pattern matching utility found in many programming languages) involves having to dig out a book or look up a website that has the syntax. And then you need to figure out how to write a regular expression that will test some value to see if matches your expression.

Here’s a fun little example of a regex I found on a listserv archive. This one is supposed to verify a valid URI.


(([a-zA-Z][0-9a-zA-Z+\\-\\.]*:)?/{0,2}[0-9a-zA-Z;/?:@&=+$\\.\\-_!~*'()%]+)?(#[0-9a-zA-Z;/?:@&=+$\\.\\-_!~*'()%]+)?

Nobody wants to write that kind of madness. (Ok, yes, some of you do want to write that stuff. You are crazy. Thank you for being crazy. Just post your mad regexes to your blog so we can find them.)

So, regular expressions are helpful for things like validating input to a system. Any Web programmer realizes what an understatement that was.

The idea behind regexer is provide a website in which you can enter a few examples of the values that you want to test, and the site will suggest a regular expression that will do the trick for you.

Whoa. That’d be nice.

And helpful in a many applications, as regular expressions are used in Javascript, PHP, ASP, Perl, .Net, and so on.

So, this is a work in progress, but Adam does have some of it working. Go ahead and try it out the next time you need a regular expression. And, send him feedback if it works or if doesn’t work. He’ll take that info and it can help him make it better for all of us.