Regular Expressions...Speed, etc.

Tim Peters tim_one at
Mon May 29 16:48:47 EDT 2000

[Stephen Hansen]
> First a quick question:
> Is the match() function any different really then having
> search() with a ^ at the begenning of the string?

Yes, although the difference doesn't become clear until you exploit the
optional slicing arguments of compiled regexps:

>>> import re
>>> p = re.compile("^a")
>>>"cba", 2)
>>> p = re.compile("a")
>>> p.match("cba", 2)
<re.MatchObject instance at ead590>

That is, while there is an "a" at index 2 of "cba", and "match" finds it, a
caret does *not* match starting at index 2 (caret means start-of-string, and
may or may not mean more than that depending on "multiline" mode -- using
"match" instead cuts all that magical crap out of the equation).

> Now my real question :)
>     Basically, what I want to do is parse an rfc822 header file.. I don't
> want to use rfc822.Message ...
> ...
>     Are regular expressions any slower really then the current method?

Beats me -- time it and tell us <wink>.

more-interesting-is-whether-they're-equally-correct-ly y'rs  - tim

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