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am 12. Juni 1998
Wow. After reading O'Reilly's first book on the Perl language in general, this book was the real eye opener to realizing that Perl was truly a powerful language. The examples provided in this book are real world examples you can take and use or modify within your own code. If you look above, I rated this book at five stars; but then you might wonder why I said this book was for insomniacs?! Everytime I try and sit down to read a few chapters I end up feeling sleepy and nodding off! One of the most noticeable chapters in the book is the discussion on DFA versus NFA implementations of various regular expression parsers: Perl, Python, Tcl, POSIX, grep, emacs... If you want to truly optimize your code, this is the chapter to read to analyze all your "hot spots." Later chapters deal with even more real world applications, such as IP addresses and WWW pages. Don't let those big nasty regular expressions scare you though. Pretty soon you'll be able to read and understand powerful expressions that will let you manipulate any kind of text you come across.
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am 5. Juni 1997
Friedl's book is a masterpiece on all levels - he makes a dry subject fascinating and exciting, coaxes and encourages you through the tough parts without nannying you, repeatedly emphasises important points without boring you, scatters tempting glimpses into later topics and crafts a book which is a delight to read.

In his preface, Friedl advises readers to avoid the temptation to leap to the chapter on their favourite tool, and instead read the book first as a story. The flow of his writing makes it hard to read it any other way. The only distraction is the desire to constantly check your code against that in the book (a desire which usually leads you to completely rewrite your inefficient code).

I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who wants to make their life easier. Must go now, as I still have 5 pages left before I get to the end
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am 4. November 1997
I had to convert a client's db-backed Web server from the Illustra Web Blade (where it was deadlocking) into the safe fast land of AOLserver Tcl. This involved writing a Perl program to parse the Web Blade syntax and then generate Tcl with the appropriate AOLserver API calls. I didn't have the BNF for the Web Blade language and didn't particularly feel like figuring it out. Reading _Mastering Regular Expressions_ enabled me to hack this out pretty painlessly in Perl in a day or two. Probably saved the client $10,000 in programmer time.
Jeffrey Friedl would say that you're supposed to read it from cover-to-cover but I think that you can benefit by pulling it out in emergencies.
Anyway, I had to pick four O'Reilly titles to give away every month from and this book was the first that came to my mind.
Why doesn't this book get a 10? Because in a world with _Anna Karenina_, I don't think any computer trade book deserves a 10! END
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am 16. Februar 1997
After reading just 50 pages, I stopped and went back to look at some of my old awk code. I turned 32 lines of code into 3. I spend so much more time on the computer, my wife wants to sue the author for "causing a divorce"! She can't wait for me to finish the book.

I have always wanted to know more about regular expressions, and you have shown me the light. If you are a manager of a technical staff (like myself) and you want to stimulate creativity. buy this book for them. I have heard more "did you know you can do this" statments while passing workstations than I ever have.

Awesome! We all would like to thank Jeffery Friedl and OReilly and Associates so much.
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am 25. Mai 2000
In my opinion, one of the two best books from O'Reilly during the 1990s (the other being the original 1991 "purple camel book"). Friedl applies his perfectionist and completist nature fully to the task. He did his own layout, which is not that unusual in the technical publishing trade, but which definitely isn't the O'Reilly way. The book is better for it (probably much better) and for all the other places where his attention to detail and thoroughness takes command.
This book is not a good end to end read, but it goes very well if you read some of the beginning material and then read a page or three from time to time as you get a chance. I sometimes (only half jokingly) suggest to my students that they should replace their copy of Reader's Digest near their "thrones" with a copy of MRE. Then they can read about a new topic for 10 or 15 minutes and ponder it for the rest of the day, which, if you are new to the theory and reality of regular expressions, is about the perfect regimen.
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am 18. Dezember 1999
One of the most frustrating things about learning the perl language is learning to deal with its regular expressions. This book does a great job of explaining complicated examples and has challenging problem solving situations. It covers mostly input manipulation, searching and filtering, which are probably the most important aspects of regular expressions. I give it 3 stars is because its a tad bit on the wordy side. O'Reilly books useually do a good job of explaining things, but there were many details about regular expressions that I could have done without reading about. There is a consistant lack of examples throughout the book as well. If you are going to throw a lot of complicated technical information at the reader, it is a good idea to illustrate consepts no matter how big or small. I can't say anything else negative about the book though, because if you are struggling with regular expressions I would recommend that you get it. After a few chapters you will have a better understanding and be writing your own confusing perl regular expressions.
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am 10. November 1999
On the internals of regular expression matching, this book is without equal. I found this book to be an excellent source of information on constructing efficient regexps in Perl.
Unfortunately, this book is also without equal when it comes to *poorly* presenting information.
The tables are unreadable -- visually impossible to decipher, cryptic, cluttered. Edward Tufte could use this as book as a prime example of how not to present information.
And it's a shame, because there's a wonderful book buried inside Mastering Regular Expressions.
If this book gets proper attention from an ORA editor, I could easily give it 5 stars. In its present form, it's nearly unusable -- 2 stars.
--Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu
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am 23. Januar 2000
Whether you are searching text documents with BBedit or flagging Usenet articles with Newswatcher, learning to use regular expressions can make your life a lot easier. Regular expressions ("regex") are text strings that allow you to search for complex variations of words and phrases. For instance, with the simple regex "gr[ea]y" you can flag any instances of the words "gray" or "grey". While a lot of applications support regex, finding out how to use this powerful function can be very difficult. There is suprisingly little online documentation of regex.
Friedl's excellent book fills this void. In the introductory material, he covers what a regex is and how to use the regex language to do your own searches. The rest of the book, however, is aimed at programmers only, dealing with how various programming languages (such as Perl) implement regex. If all you want to do is use regex for searching text files or flagging Usenet articles, most of the book will not be useful to you. However, until someone comes out with a pocket manual of regex, Friedl's book is the only game in town.
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am 7. Juni 2000
This is a book about Regular Expressions 'for Perl and Other Tools' but really it's a book about Perl. Other tools are covered, but coverage is a bit woolly, so if you are reading it to get the low-down on Python's RegEx capabilities etc. this book won't get you far. I can't help that feel that if the book had just concentrated on Perl, rather than giving sketchy coverage of 'Other Tools', it could have been even better (and would have definitely got five starts). That said, the extra coverage (particularly the RegEx engine material) was very interesting and has turned out invaluable in practice.
If you are an absolute beginner to Perl or programming you will need another book(s) to get the most out of this one, but it is a gentle and thorough introduction that won't leave you scratching your head, which is a feat in itself considering the complexity of Regular Expressions.
This is an excellent book for getting the most out of Perl's RegEx capabilities, you will close the back cover feeling that you genuinely have Mastered the subject. It is without doubt the best book available on the subject, nicely written, with a friendly and un-patronising tone (grammatical errors aside), you can't really go wrong with this one.
There could have been some more useful real world examples/projects included, and the book could probably do with an overhaul (it was published in 97) to accommodate Perl 5.6 and other developments (O'Reilly are you listening?), but it is still the best out there.
If RegEx is a subject you need to get to grips with, this book is the solution.
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am 9. Oktober 1999
One of the finest technical books I have read (out of hundreds). He has an extraordinary knowledge of Regular Expressions, and he has written a beautifully crafted book explaining the concepts. A true master craftsman, both in his understanding and his ability to explain. I look forward to more work from this excellent author.
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