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Patterns review: Utility makes quick work of regular expressions

Jason Snell | March 20, 2014
You know the maxim, "Give a man to fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime"? A similar adage applies to anyone who spends a lot of time working with text on their Mac: Learn how to use regular expressions--sequences of characters and variables that you can use to perform powerful searches--and you'll benefit greatly, for a very long time.

Still, for $3, Patterns is a helpful addition to the toolkit of anyone who builds regular expressions with regularity. If you work with text, you owe it to yourself to learn regular expressions — and using Patterns can help you figure out exactly what your patterns are capturing.

(Of course, you don't need a dedicated Mac app to test out regular expressions. The website regexpal does it in a web browser, and the excellent — and free — text editor TextWrangler offers a complete regular-expression-based search-and-replace system. But for $3, Patterns's native Mac interface and search-and-replace preview are worth the paltry premium.)


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