Regular expressions

Regular Expressions have a somewhat negative connotation for most of us: unreadable syntax, too complex and cryptic ... You try to keep away from them where possible. This workshop finally makes an end to this attitude!

Whether you are a developer, a system administrator or a data analyst, you regularly need pattern matching: text analysis, complex searches, validating (web) forms ... Regular expressions have evolved over the years from within Unix and Perl into a really universal standard technique for pattern recognition, in all kinds of contexts: Linux, Python, Java/Scala, dotNet, Perl, XML, SQL, PHP, Ruby, JavaScript ...

Pattern matching: it's more than just getting hold of certain text characters; it is a particular and unique way to explore and parse data. During this compact training we not only focus on the syntax of regular expressions, we also look for best practices, so that you can apply them optimally, with surprisingly clear and readable patterns.


No public sessions are currently scheduled. We will be pleased to set up an on-site course or to schedule an extra public session (in case of a sufficient number of candidates). Interested? Please let us know.

Intended for

Developers, engineers, data analysts, system programmers, system administrators ...


This course does not require any specific prior knowledge.

Main topics

  • Strategies and best practices
  • Syntax
  • Literals
  • Escapes
  • Wildcards and repetitions; greedy, lazy and possessive matching
  • Anchors
  • Ranges and categories
  • Grouping
  • Alternatives
  • Implementations and variants
  • POSIX Basic Regular Expressions
  • POSIX Extended Regular Expressions
  • Perl Regular Expressions
  • Language dependent variants (Perl/PHP, XML, SQL, Python, Java, Scala, Ruby, JavaScript, ...) and parsing options
  • Tools and editors

Training method

Classroom training, with practical examples and supported by exercises.


a half day or an evening.

Course leader

Peter Vanroose.