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Regex Debugger


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

Composing Regular Expressions is daunting for anyone but a dedicated geek. The intent of this program is to make writing and debugging complex regexes easier.

It is an interactive program. You fill in your regex pattern and a set of test strings. In the simplest version, it simply puts check marks beside the strings that match.

In a more complex version, it trims the length of the regex pattern back and back until it finds a match on, independently for each string. It displays the matching part of the regex and the matching part of the String next to the full string so you can see where it is getting in trouble. You can be pretty mindless in how you trim the regex, allowing Pattern. compile to discover any generated invalid patterns and notify you with exceptions. Of course, some of the pattersns are not supposed to match at all, but that is fine too.

Ideally this functionality should be built into the IDE (Integrated Development Environment), perhaps with plug-in.

Regex Composer
Regex Proofreader
Regex Tidier
Regex Utility

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