Flagrant Badassery

A JavaScript and regular expression centric blog

RegexBuddy 3.0 Beta

RegexBuddy logo

RegexBuddy is one of those tools which, now that I've gotten used to having around, I'd have a hard time living without—kind of like regular expressions themselves. I'm happy to see that the recently released (but little publicized) RegexBuddy 3.0 beta pushes what's already the best regex builder/tester on the market quite a bit further. (If you haven't heard of it before, start here.)

Here are the new features I'm personally most excited about:

  • Flavors: RegexBuddy 3 lets you emulate specific regex flavors, including .NET, Java, Perl, PCRE, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Tcl, POSIX BRE/ERE, and a number of others. Don't know why a particular regex doesn't work in your tool of choice? Now, RegexBuddy can tell you. Although I wouldn't expect this feature to mimic other flavors 100% accurately in all cases (e.g., I don't expect it to mimic specific bugs found in other libraries), it's still a badass new feature which further separates RegexBuddy from every competing tool. (Update: Jan Goyvaerts responded regarding the issue of bug emulation on his blog.)
  • Added syntax support: To accompany the above feature, a significant amount of flavor-specific regex syntax support has been added.
  • Integrated forums: RegexBuddy 3 is the first application I've seen which includes an integrated forum system not available outside of the software. This offers some advantages (e.g., almost no spam) and conveniences (e.g., you can attach a regex together with modifiers and target data with the click of a button), but it's a fairly novel idea. I'm curious to see how much action it will get since it's only available to licensed users… Author Jan Goyvaerts talks a bit about the concept on his blog. I'm sure you'll be able to find me on the new forums from time to time.
  • Enhanced match info: New features like "List All Group Matches in Columns" and "List All Replacements" offer lots of shortcuts to the info you're after.
  • History: You can now easily keep a list of regexes you've tried during your session.
  • New interface: The tabs from RegexBuddy 2 are now panels that you can do much more with. There's also a dual-monitor layout preset which I'll probably make good use of.
  • Debug everywhere: You can now run the debugger at every position in the test data, rather than only at the current cursor position. This is a great way to gain insight into how regular expression engines work internally.

There are a number of other nifty features I haven't mentioned here, but I'll leave them for you to discover (or read about in the changelog). The beta is only available to registered users, but if you already own RegexBuddy 2.x you should give the new beta a try.

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. Thanks for the informative post. I’ve been using Expresso to test and build regular expressions. Here’s a review of the tool. http://dnchannel.blogspot.com/2007/07/expresso-best-regular-expression-tool.html

  2. I’ve been using Expresso for some time, as well. It’s easily the best free regular expression tool I’ve used. That said, it’s not at the same level as RegexBuddy, and only supports the .NET regex flavor. Nevertheless, I keep a copy of Expresso around for two reasons:

    - It supports balancing groups (the only .NET feature RegexBuddy doesn’t support as of v3.0.0).
    - Its timer. Although not nearly as useful as RegexBuddy’s debugger for identifying efficiency issues, it’s still nice sometimes. It’s important to note however that regex performance is highly engine-specific.

    On the flip side, RegexBuddy is packed full of elegant implementations of awesome features, a number of which aren’t found anywhere else that I know of. Note that this blog post doesn’t mention any of the cool features which existed before version 3, such as real-time regex syntax and match highlighting.

    I don’t mean to disparage Expresso, because it’s an excellent tool — and you can’t beat the cost. But compared to RegexBuddy, IMO it’s less user-friendly for the n00bs and offers comparatively little for the seasoned regex expert.

    By the way, RegexBuddy 3 is now out of beta.

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