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Regular Expressions

JavaFAQ Home » Text processing Go to all tips in Text processing


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Regular expressions are the most common programming technique to search for patterns in strings and extracting substrings. They are an essential part of many languages, editors, and utilities, for example, Perl, JavaScript, awk, sed, vi, .... Java, as of version 1.4, has extensive support for regular expressions in two areas.

  • Addtional String methods.
  • Additional classes, java.util.Pattern and java.util.Matcher, allow use of precompiled regular expressions as well as providing many additional functions..

Regular expressions provide more general mechanisms for parsing input strings than, eg, StringTokenizer.

Programming language. Regular expressions (often refereed to as regex) are essentially a programming language of their own.

Other Resources

  • Regular Expression Tutorial (http://www.regular-expressions.info/tutorial.html) covers a lot of introductory regular expression material.
  • Mastering Regular Expressions by Jeffrey Friedl is an excellent book covering regular expressions from introduction to advanced usage. Covers all major regular expression implementations, not just Java.
  • Regular Expressions and the Java Programming Language (http://java.sun.com/developer/technicalArticles/releases/1.4regex) is a Sun article summarizing Java's regular expressions. This is useful if you are already familiar with Java and the idea of regular expressions.

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