Review of Regular Expressions Cookbook | By Jan Goyvaerts, Steven Levithan

Posted on August 31, 2012

An essential skill as a programmer, regardless of language, is to understand at least the basic principles behind regular expression. Goyvaerts Et. Al has released the very familiar cookbook, targeted at those who wish to take up the skill of understanding advanced search and manipulation language that is used in many languages, such as Java, Perl, PHP, Flex, iOS and Javascript, and in fact even many popular IDE’s employ regEx as a way of searching within files, where normal string search doesn’t work.

It is hard to find a concise and easy-to-follow book on this subject, but this book butter’s up the reader sufficiently before diving into recipes, unlike most other cookbooks, which makes it a sort of cross between a primer and recipe book. The book introduces the various tools to work with regEx, before introducing the basic and advanced concepts in the subsequent early chapters. Chapter 3 then embarks on using regular expression within the context of various other scripting languages, in the standard recipe-format most of us are accustomed to.The final chapters then discuss the oddities and work-arounds with various common scenarios, to round off a comprehensive understanding of regular expression.

I have been pleasantly surprised that once you finish the book, you do feel a sense of confidence in tackling regular expression problems, with an aura of better understanding, and the book does provide for the foundations of learning, as well as a book off-the-shelf reference guide afterwards, so it serves as a read-once or read-many times book, which certainly is value for money.

I would therefore recommend this book as an essential artillery in your development arsenal, and I will certainly be revisiting this book in order to hone in on my regular expression skills, as I no doubt encounter the usefulness of this powerful skill in everyday coding situations


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Prior Knowledge: None, but if you do have PHP or Perl skills, this will definitely act as a complement to your learning.

My rating : [/box]

AuthorJan GoyvaertsSteven Levithan
: Regular Expression Cookbook, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Year: August 2012



I am a lead iOS Architect for the startup Blend Systems, in San Francisco.
I involve myself in various technical user groups, as well as consult on numerous external projects, both in Australia and in the U.S and Europe. I am also a regular contributor on ProgrammableWeb, one of the most prominent API review websites, and I also regularly review technical books for O'Reilly Publishing.

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2 Replies to "Review of Regular Expressions Cookbook | By Jan Goyvaerts, Steven Levithan"

  • Steven Levithan
    September 1, 2012 (12:50 pm)

    Thanks for the great review, Doron! Did you read the first or second edition? I ask because I see that you also posted this review on the first edition listing on Amazon. If you don’t already have it, I’d be happy to send you an ebook copy of the second edition.

    • doron_katz
      September 3, 2012 (1:21 pm)

      Hi Steven, I have read the second edition, indeed. I got the book from O’Reilly as part of the review program. And thanks for the great book, I really felt my weakness lied with RegEx and your book has done practical wonders. And BTW I amended my post to state 2nd edition. I normally indicate that in my reviews and for some reason I missed it. Thanks!

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