Readable Regular Expressions: A Hands-On Workshop

Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B302/303


What are regular expressions, what are they useful for, and why are they so hard to read? We'll learn what regular expressions are good for, how to make our own regular expressions, and how to make our regular expressions friendly and readable (yes it's possible... sometimes).


During this workshop we will break down the regular expression syntax to better understand how regular expressions work. We will learn how to dissect regular expressions, how to use regular expressions in a handful of environments, and how to make your regular expressions more readable.

We will learn how to use regular expressions for data validation and data parsing. We will also learn when not to use regular expressions.

We will work through exercises together and by the end of this workshop you will have written a at least a few regular expressions of your own.

There will be a setup session on Tuesday to make sure you have Python installed and a working command-line environment.


Regular Expressions, regex, skills, grep, python, data parsing, data validation

Speaking experience

I offered a free exercise-driven webinar on March 26, 2016 on readable regular expressions. Over 100 people participated in this webinar and most of them were present during the live event. This material was well-received and I plan to offer a more general purpose version of this workshop material during Open Source Bridge that would be even more hands-on than this online event.

I will also be teaching a longer format tutorial on a similar topic at PyCon 2016.


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