Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Simple Regular Expressions Simple Wild Card Search

Symptom:

The surf condition is great in Santa Cruz, you really want go get out of the office so you don't really want to geek out with Regular Expression experiements when all you want to do is a search equivalent of (*foo*.doc) in a DOS or Shell or SQL Like search... just about anywhere you've been to... but now your search box is demaning that you type in a regular expression to give you the search results.

Typing in *foo*.doc does not give you a jack! WTF!

You are not only flabbagasted with so many people who just want to show off their admiration to the beaufy of Regular Expression and don't give you this simple most common use of regex!

Fix:

Try this:

.*foo.*doc

Just remember that when you could normally use a * in a DOS file search use the ".*" combo instead of just a * (. means almost any character and * means repeat as many of them that before the *). This will search files that are xfoo.doc and xfoodoc in your list.

By the way if you really really want to do *foo*.doc (escape) the extension period with a \ So to do a DOS/Shell search equivalent of *.doc you would do .*\.doc For me the above method is just adequate. But if you get the taste of .*\.doc then you are starting to tread to the zone of a regex geek. I'd just find the string, get done with it and rather go surfing myself!

Now you may say, what about the ? mark you used to be able to use to look for a single character match. You already know this. Use a period.

For example, a regular expression search of "f..k" will find "fink" as well as "folk", and "fork" among other things (I know what you are thinking.)

If that does not work then you have other esoteric regex stuff in the string you are searching, like a " or a ? or a \ or { and such which have specific function in the expression. In that case, sorry, go RTFM! I am sorry!


Have fun!.
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