Demystifying Regular Expressions

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B202/203


Long ago, in the early ages of computerdom, a language was formed from the primordial fires of Tartarus. The language would bind the spells of textual strings and forever control them: The Regular Expression.

How about an interactive workshop for acolytes who wish to command this strong magic?


For years RegExp has baffled computer engineers with its cryptic and unreadable syntax, but I have come down from the mountain with the secret of understanding to share!

This tutorial/workshop is designed for programmer who knows little about Regular Expressions but would like to know more. We’ll use an online practice environment I’ve written to help teach the wonder and simplicity of Regular Expressions. While I will cover differences between various language implementations, most of what we learn will be applicable to other languages.

Together we’ll cover:

  • Basic syntax and meta-character escaping
  • Character classes and what languages support them
  • Alternatives for either-or matching
  • Groupings for replacing
  • Quantifications for repeating patterns
  • Greedy and lazy matching

Follow along, and you’ll be able to translate the mysteries of parsing textual input into your programs.


shell editor

Speaking experience

I've spoken at OSCON, NodeSummit, Open Source Bridge and other conferences and user groups.


  • Elfyme


    With over thirty years of programming experience from C to Clojure, he enjoys mentoring younger colleagues as well as teaching the next generation. He hosts a local computer programming club at his local middle and high schools as well as mentoring the local robotics team. Oh, and he does have a day job, working on the software defined networking team at Workday.


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