RegEx, a Powerful Method of Processing Text

RegEx is an abbreviation of the regular expression that is a powerful, efficient, and flexible method of processing text. The term “regular expressions” comes from the mathematical theory on which they are based.  A regular expression represents a string matching pattern which is used by string searching algorithms with such operations on strings as ‘find” and “find and replace”.


TheRegEx method enables users to parse large texts in order to find certain character patterns; to check text to find out if it matches a particular predefined pattern; to edit, replace or delete text substrings; to extract strings and add them to a collection that can be used to create a report.


Rexex is an essential tool for different applications that parse large blocks of text or deal with strings. Such applications commonly include data wrangling, web scraping, data validation, simple parsing as well as the production of syntax highlighting systems, and more.


Regular expressions are used in search engines and are widely supported by various software tools such as plain text editors, command line tools, and programming languages that provide RegEx capabilities in their libraries or as built-in. The majority of these software tools are available for different computing platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.  The most notable of them are:


  • Plain text editors: Emacs, vi, ed
  • Command line tools: sed, egrep, grep
  • Programming languages: Python, PHP, Perl, Java, JavaScript, Awk, .NET, Tcl, Ruby, XML Schema


RegEx support is an essential part of the standard library of multiple programming languages, for example, Python and Java, and is built into the syntax of other languages such as ECMAScript and Perl. Implementations of RegEx functionality are commonly called a RegEx engine, and there are libraries that available for reuse.

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