1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Any suggestions on regular expression tutorials for non-techs?

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by SlickRCBD, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,915
    Media:
    21
    Likes Received:
    75
    Gender:
    Male
    I've been advocating a program called "Agent Ransack" since Vista replaced XP's file search with something ineffective at finding files.
    It has a wildcard feature that uses something from Unix/Linux called regular expressions.
    I learned about regular expressions many years ago, however I've been asked for help with them with some people that just don't get it.

    I even tried loaning an old Linux book I had that was mandatory for when I went back to school a decade ago, but they found my Fedora 13 book "too technical". It's not like I'd have a "Regular expressions for dummies" book on hand.

    Can somebody suggest a dumbed down or simplified tutorial on regular expressions that might be good for somebody who is not technically inclined like I am, that is not a Unix/Linux user, and does not have a natural aptitude for computers and electronics?
    Their goal is to use the more advanced features of Agent Ransack.
    My problem is that I look at the tutorials, and I can understand them well, but I already know the material.
    I'm not good at evaluating them for less advanced users. It's the same problem they have sometimes at universities that geniuses sometimes have a hard time teaching undergraduates that are not geniuses themselves, although I'm no genius (though very bright with computers and electronics, possibly just below genius in that narrow field).
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  2. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    23,067
    Media:
    494
    Likes Received:
    472
    Gender:
    Male
  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,597
    Media:
    38
    Likes Received:
    150
    Gender:
    Male
    Regex is not something I'd recommend for casual searches. I mean, it's a powerful tool, but creating the right search term is typically a bit of trial and error for me. The find function in Windows is pretty standard, using an asterisk as a wildcard, and is used in many more programs. It's just easier to use for most people. Me included. Not as powerful, but much easier to understand and use.

    And let's face it, there's pretty much only technical types where I work, but that doesn't mean they're savvy with this kind of thing, and even in this environment I find it's typically best to keep it simple, if you want something to be used more widely.

    That being said, I think Tal's suggestion is pretty good for learning the basics. But unless they take notes and write down the specifics somewhere, I don't think the lesson will stick for long with people that would only use the search function every once in a while.

    Also, not everywhere the regex is implemented in exactly the same way, so actual syntax may differ between different programs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  4. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,915
    Media:
    21
    Likes Received:
    75
    Gender:
    Male
    That's the problem with having had to learn regular expressions for Unix almost 20 years ago, it's old hat to me (even if I do use a cheat sheet as I don't use them often since I rarely use Linux these days and haven't used Unix in over 15 years).
    I was just asked how to use the regular expressions because while Agent Ransack does support MS-DOS wildcards, doing multiple search terms doesn't always work the way it did in Windows 95, 98, or XP. 99% of the time it is sufficient for me however.
    Personally, I think they were just taking advantage of time off due to COVID to learn it and bugged me when they found them daunting.
     
  5. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2000
    Messages:
    23,067
    Media:
    494
    Likes Received:
    472
    Gender:
    Male
    I rarely use Windows search, most often the search function in Total Commander instead. It's quite powerful and intuitive enough that you don't need a manual to figure it out.
     
  6. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,915
    Media:
    21
    Likes Received:
    75
    Gender:
    Male
    Most of AgentRansack is the same, it's as good as Windows search was in 9X/2000/XP, with the minor exception that you can't search for folders only.
    FileSearchEX was a close second, but I haven't given it a fair shake since Windows 7 (not 8 or 10) came out. I've got a ten year old copy installed on Vista from when I was trying both and picked the one I liked. It's like choosing between Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. Personal preference, no real absolute advantage or disadvantage.
     
  7. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2000
    Messages:
    10,289
    Media:
    40
    Likes Received:
    213
    Gender:
    Male
  8. Keneth Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    2,977
    Likes Received:
    197
    Gender:
    Male
    I mean, while it's far more popular for any text-related stuff on *nix systems, it's not exactly from there. You don't need to know anything about Linux to learn or understand regular expressions. Just nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking.

    That said, regex is not something that's used with any degree of efficiency even by people with extensive technical background. In our R&D department, there's maybe 10% of people who know how to write regex and the rest can sort of get by with trial and error if the need arises.

    Keeping that in mind, it's not very hard to teach basic regex to people even if they don't have technical backgrounds or much experience with similar technologies. It just depends on how deeply you want to delve into it, since the language can range from very basic matching (wildcards) to very complex matching (like IPv6 validation or something).

    I can't point you to any tutorials since I don't use them anymore (and others have posted some already), but I do use this site a lot for sanity checks: https://regex101.com/
     
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.