12

I use regular expressions in .NET a lot, and I would like to have a tool that makes it easier to build long and complicated regular expressions. I'm using Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

What tool do you recommend for this purpose?

11

I recommend Expresso. It is a free tool, but you need to register you after a trial period. Registering it is also free.

Expresso provides:

  • Building regular expressions
  • Testing regular expressions: you can match and validate regular expressions and test replacement of results with a replacement string.
  • An expression library: a library that contains expressions such as IP address validating, URLs, email address ...

Here is a screenshot (click for larger image):

Expresso

4

I am using Rad Regex Designer. I was fascinated about it a few years ago as I started learning the regular expressions concept. It has:

  • A decent editor with split windows allowing you to:
    • Define the input, the regex, and optionally a replacement expression.
    • View the replacement output (if you have specified replacement expression)
    • View the hierarchy of the captured groups and matches in a tree-view form
    • Use neat checkbox list for switching the supported RegEx options.
  • A help toolbox that displays help information on the RegEx syntax. It was the most valuable feature to me while learning, as I could peek into the Regex syntax while creating the regex. The thing about it is that the info is displayed in a panel below the help topics, which might seem counter-intuitive at first, but it is excellent as it does not interfere with developing the expression.
  • Dockable toolboxes. Arrange them all the way it best suits you.
  • Ability to save your RegEx project to a physical file and work on it later.
  • No cost. It is free!
  • Compatibility. It runs on anything from Windows XP (including) above. I have personally used in on Windows XP x86, Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 Professional both x64 and x86

Here is a screenshot of the application:

Rad Regex Designer UI in action

4

I love RegexBuddy. This is not a free product ($40USD), but its capabilities make it a bargain. I have been using it for years.

This is a Windows-only product that can handle many different regex flavors. It has a real-time evaluator which shows you the results of your regex as you type it, a debugger which helps find errors, and an editor that works about how you'd expect it to.

It has a tool to export the regex you just built in a form that can be used directly in many programming languages.

It's backed up by a great website that includes help for the program, and regular expressions in general.

RegexBuddy UI

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