regular expressions questions

Andrew M. Kuchling akuchlin at
Mon Mar 27 15:56:35 CEST 2000

Derek Thomson <derek at> writes:
> Really? I couldn't find anything that was even half as good as Perl's
> Parse::RecDescent, after doing some searching from Links?

Try starting at .
(I should really do a Text Processing topic guide someday.)

> There is a large class of parsing applications for which writing an entire
> grammar is overkill (or too much CS background is needed for the user. cp4e?),

I'm doubtful regular expressions are better for CP4E's audience than a
fairly simple parser generator such as, say, John Aycock's SPARK.
Consider how many people are confused by the fact that <p>.*</p> does
a greedy match and matches all of '<p>para1</p><p>para2</p>'.  And
didn't SNOBOL provide string processing features that were powerful
but still usable by non-programmers?  (But my memory's fuzzy.)

> I'm sure a decent syntax could be devised with a little thought. After all, the
> named subexpression idea is very good, and a great improvement over Perl's
> numbering system ie $1, $2 etc.

Suggestions would be welcomed, and could rescue the idea from
oblivion.  Feel free to post a proposed syntax; we can then refine it
through further discussion.

A.M. Kuchling
Calm before the storm. Form is emptiness. Emptiness form.
  -- _The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat_, music Michael Nyman, libretto
       Christopher Rawlence

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