Are you a .NET developer? Stay tuned for a special treat near the end of this article.
Let's say you need to verify inputs (e.g. an email address is an email address). You could certainly create something that looks for some characters, an @, followed by some more characters, a period, followed by some .com, .gov, .edu, .org. But it will likely be a very horrendous method and frankly, it's code you don't need to spend your time writing if you use a regex validation. For the sake of this article, let's just agree and move on to the next problem. If you're not already familiar with regex, how do you create a regex that can verify an email address format? You could create a bunch of unit tests and make sure your regex checks all the inputs. That's a bit time consuming.
First, I want to recommend a product for the .NET developers out there called RegexHero. It has been one of my favorite tools over the last couple years. Not only does it allow you to test your regex against text you're currently working with, it also generates your .NET code in C# or VB so you can incorporate your regex gracefully into your code once you have tested it. I can't express how much I love this app, but I can make a gesture of support.
Submit your name and a contact email address for one of 5 RegexHero licenses I'll be giving away at the end of June.