Best Regular Expression Tools for Programmers

If you are a programmer, then you must have encountered regular expressions sometime back in your carrier. If you are good at regular expressions, then hats off to you. Otherwise there are some tools which can make your life easy.

There is one online and one offline tool  that I often use for regular expression purpose which I like to share with you today.

1. Regular Expression Online Tool

This is my favorite and the best for PHP, Perl & JavaScript programmer. Not only its AJAX interface allow to you to try different sets of regular expression but also generate code based on programming language you select.

For PHP, it supports both PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expression) and POSIX library. There is no support for other languages but I that only means you may not be able to generate code for those. You can still use this to verify your regular expressions.

Link: Regular Expression Online Tool by Lars Olav Torvik

2. Regular Expression Desktop Tool

This is good for programmer who prefer desktop tools. This small Adobe Air application allow you to test different types of regular expression with help tips at each point.

If you are new to regular expression,  then this is best for you as it not only help you write correct regular expressions, but also gives you many details about them at each stage.

As this is Adobe Air app, this can be used on Windows, Mac & Linux. This tool also have an online version. You can try it out here.

Link: RegExr Desktop by gSkinner

In my workflow, I often practice start with desktop tool first. I try all possibilities until I get intended results. When I am satisfied with results, I open online tool, put my regular expression there and grab codes which I can directly paste in my programs.

I code mostly in PHP & JavaScript so these tools are sufficient for me. If you have any other favorite, please share with us.

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Leeds Web August 12, 2008

For command line users, pcretest is great. It’s available in Cygwin for windows users too.

Rahul Bansal August 15, 2008

Thanks for pcretest. I will surely get my hands on it. 🙂