|Thus Spake Tony C On the now historical date of Wed, 07 Jan 2004 21:14:52

-0800|

I'm writing a python program which uses regular expressions, but I'm

totally new to regexps.

I've got Kuchling's "Regexp HOWTO", "Mastering Regular Expresions" by

Oreilly, and have access to online stuff too.

It may be more than you're looking for, but regular expressions are a nice

compact encoding of finite state machines. If you really, really, really

want to grok regexp's and are willing to make an investment of time in it,

then you are best to understand fsm's. Searching for understandable

material could be tough going. You'll come across a lot of cryptic

mathematical papers. My tip is that you'll start turning up papers that

include references to push down automata and turing machines. These are

more powerful versions of finite state machines, but not directly related

to regexps. Skip over them. Really, anyone with a solid understanding of

programming fundamentals should be able to understand fsm's. I would

point you to some resources, but I haven't got any handy.

Happy Hunting.

Sam Walters.

P.S. If you look deeper into finite state machines, push down automata,

turing machines and the lambda calculus, your soul will merge with the

deeper zen of computer programming. Deep understanding of these four

concepts (whether that understanding is conscious or unconscious) is what

separates good programmers from truly great ones. I suggest "Godel,

Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter as a good, but dizzying, introduction

to this territory.

--

Never forget the halloween documents.

http://www.opensource.org/halloween/
""" Where will Microsoft try to drag you today?

Do you really want to go there?"""