Created: 2012-03-26 09:53
Updated: 2013-10-07 00:46


Python objective regular expression library

  • Do you work with regular expressions often?
  • Do you want for them to me better readable and easier to support?

So do I. Tired of writing of ugly mixture of backslashes, brackets and odd symbols, I have started to wonder if there is a better, more elegant way of dealing with them.

And here is result of my thought!

This library is implementation of object-oriented approach of constructing regular expressions.

Usage examples

Let's start with construction of a few simple examples.

Python 2.7 (r27:82525, Jul  4 2010, 09:01:59) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

>>> import ObjectiveRegex as ORe
>>> _objectiveReg = ORe.Text("Hello world!")
>>> print repr(_objectiveReg)
<Text 'Hello world!'>

As you can see, we have constructed object named _objectiveReg of a Text class. Text class is meant for containing of a primitive text strings that are matched using exact matching.

So, how do we construct the actual regular expression pattern out of this objective regexp? Easy. All objective regexp instances have getRegex() API function that returns regexp representation of given objective regexp.

>>> print repr(_objectiveReg.getRegex())
'Hello world!'

for your convinience, there is also the getCompiled() API function that returns the re.compiled object that matches that regexp pattern. It has one optional flags argument that is designed to accept the very same value you have been passing to the re.compile call. Please see Python documentation for the list of its possible values.

As you can see, the Text class automatically escapes all symbols that have special meaning:

>>> print ORe.Text("^.*$").getRegex()

So you can safely assume that any string within Text class will be matched exaly.

But what if one wants to construct objective regex using textual regular expression as one of its elements? Well, there is Raw class to do that. It always resolves to exactly same string than the one it was constructed from.

>>> print ORe.Raw("^.*$").getRegex()

As you can see, the difference in behaviour is exactly as one might have expected:

>>> print ORe.Raw("^.*$").getCompiled().match("Hello world!")
<_sre.SRE_Match object at 0x01B0DF38>
>>> print ORe.Text("^.*$").getCompiled().match("Hello world!")
>>> print ORe.Text("^.*$").getCompiled().match("^.*$")
<_sre.SRE_Match object at 0x01B0DF38>
>>> print ORe.Text("^.*$").getCompiled().match("^.*")

Raw regex matches any sequence of characters, while Text matches only one that it was provided with.

Let's see more sophisticated examples.

Constructing index-accessed groups:

>>> print repr(ORe.Text("hello").asGroup().getRegex())

Name-accessed groups:

>>> print repr(ORe.Text("hello").asGroup("group_name").getRegex())

Joining parts of regexp together:

>>> _reg = ORe.Text("hello") + ORe.Raw("\s+") + ORe.Text("world!")
>>> print _reg.getRegex()

Matching repeating patterns:

>>> _reg = ORe.Text("hello").times.any() + ORe.Raw("\s").times(5) + ORe.Text("world!").times.many()
>>> print _reg.getRegex()

Referencing group in the regexp:

>>> _hello = ORe.Text("hello").asGroup()
>>> _reg = _hello + ORe.Text("world").asGroup("wrld") + _hello
>>> print _reg.getRegex()

Referencing named group is done in the same way:

>>> _hello = ORe.Text("hello").asGroup("hello_group")
>>> _reg = _hello + ORe.Text("world").asGroup("wrld") + _hello
>>> print _reg.getRegex()

Construction of a regexp that matches ether hello_world_bye of world_no_hello:

>>> _hello = ORe.Text("hello").asGroup()
>>> _reg = _hello + ORe.Text("_world_") + ORe.If(_hello, "bye", "no_hello")
>>> print _reg.getRegex()

Expression that matches any one of provided regular expressions:

>>> _reg = ORe.ops.Any(["op1", "op2", "op3"])
>>> print _reg.getRegex()

The text string can be used as an operand for any regular expression. In such case, this text string is casted to the Text class, thus resulting regexp will all special symbols, that were collected from plain string instances, properly escaped.

>>> _reg = "hello! .* world " + ORe.Raw(".*") + " [a-z] something"
>>> print _reg.getRegex()
(?:(?:(?:hello! \.\* world )(?:.*))(?: \[a-z\] something))
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies Learn more