[New-bugs-announce] [issue17087] Improve the repr for regular expression match objects

Raymond Hettinger report at bugs.python.org
Thu Jan 31 00:53:02 CET 2013

New submission from Raymond Hettinger:

Experience teaching Python has shown that people have a hard time learning to work with match objects.  A contributing cause is the opaque repr:

    >>> import re
    >>> s = 'On 3/14/2013, Python celebrate Pi day.'
    >>> mo = re.search(r'\d+/\d+/\d+', s)
    >>> mo
    <_sre.SRE_Match object at 0x100456100>

They could explore the match object with dir() and help() and the matchobject methods and attributes:

    >>> dir(mo)
    ['__class__', '__copy__', '__deepcopy__', ...
     'end', 'endpos', 'expand', 'group', ... ]
    >>> mo.start()
    >>> mo.end()
    >>> mo.group(0)

However, this gets old when experimenting with alternative regular expressions.  A better solution is to improve the repr:

    >>> re.search(r'\d+/\d+/\d+', s)
    <SRE Match object: start=3, stop=12, group(0)='3/14/2013'>

This would make the regular expression module much easier to work with.

components: Library (Lib)
messages: 180999
nosy: rhettinger
priority: normal
severity: normal
status: open
title: Improve the repr for regular expression match objects
type: enhancement
versions: Python 3.4

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