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The Personal Web Pages of Chris X. Edwards

Regular Expression Tutorial



There are two types of characters that show up in regular expressions, literals and metacharacters. A literal character has no special meaning to the computer. The letters "JFK" might be your initials and have some special meaning to you, but to the regular expression interpreter, they are not special. "JFK" means "JFK" just like "abc" means "abc" and nothing more. The other type of characters are called "metacharacters". If regular expressions only involved literal characters, they would be rather simplistic search features. It is the concentrated power of the metacharacters that make regular expressions so useful.

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Chris X. Edwards ~ December 2003