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Powershell to test your Regexes

Previously I've always used a tool like Roy Osherove's The Regulator to play with and test my regular expressions simply to avoid writing a tiny program (even with Visual Notepad).

As great as The Regulator and it's brethren are, I just want to play with my regexes as quickly as possible. More often than not I don't need the big fancy UI offered bu these tools which is why I'm digging Powershell to play with my regexes at the moment.

I posted about using regex in Powershell in Tonight Powershell saved my music library - it's so easy.

Just recently a colleague asked for some help with a regex so Powershell was fired up and, sure enough, we had banged out the appropriate (albeit simple) solution in no time.

First of all, create your regex

    $re = [regex]"^[A-za-z0-9]*$"

Which should match any single alphanumeric word so let's put it to the test.


    Groups : {test}
    Success : True
    Captures : {test}
    Index : 0
    Length : 4
    Value : test

All good so far (note the value of Success = True). In fact, you can even use the -match operator:

    $re -match "test test"

No match here which is what we want...

    $re -match "test%"
Still good until...

    $re -match ""
Ah, in this case we don't want to match an empty string so a quick change to our regex:

$re = [regex]"^[A-za-z0-9]+$"

Quick swap of a '*' (0-n matches) for '+' (1-n matches) and we're away.

Another really neat feature of powershell is that they shipped the manual with the product.

    get-help about_regular_expression

Help for regular expressions in PowerShell

PS Obviously, for the sake of brevity, I didn't include all my tests!

PPS I did try get-help about_changing_oil_filter but they only included instructions for Powershell :(

PPPS Reason 9 is coming - I've been away for a week

Tags: Powershell

Josh Post By Josh Twist
2:46 AM
05 Dec 2007

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