README.md

regexr

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One of the most powerful tools in writing maintainable code is break large methods into well-named smaller methods - a technique Kent Beck refers to as the Composed Method pattern.

                                                                                                              -Martin Fowler-

regexr is an R framework for constructing and managing human readable regular expressions. It aims to provide tools that enable the user to write regular expressions in a way that is similar to the ways R code is written. The tools allow the user to:

  1. Write in smaller, modular, named, sub-expressions
  2. Write top to bottom, rather than a single string
  3. Comment individual chunks
  4. Indent expressions to represent regular expression groups
  5. Add vertical line spaces and R comments (i.e., #)
  6. Test the validity of the concatenated expression and the modular sub-expressions

This framework harnesses the power and flexibility of regular expressions but provides a structural frame that is more consistent with both code writing and natural language conventions. The user decides how to break, indent, name, and comment the sub-expressions in a way that is human readable, meaningful, and modular.

Installation

To download the development version of regexr:

Download the zip ball or tar ball, decompress and run R CMD INSTALL on it, or use the pacman package to install the development version:

if (!require("pacman")) install.packages("pacman")
pacman::p_load_gh("trinker/regexr")

Help

Contact

You are welcome to: submit suggestions and bug-reports at: https://github.com/trinker/regexr/issues send a pull request on: https://github.com/trinker/regexr/ * compose a friendly e-mail to: [email protected]

Functions

| Function | Description | |----------------------|----------------------| | construct | Write Human Readable Concatenated Regex | | %:)% | Add Comments to a Sub-expressions Within construct | | unglue | Break Concatenated Regex Into Sub-expressions | | test | Test Validity of Concatenated Regex & Sub-expressions | | subs | Get/Set Sub-expressions in a regexr Object | | comments | Get/Set Comments of Sub-expressions in a regexr Object | | names | Get/Set Names of Sub-expressions in a regexr Object | | as.regexr| Coerce Existing Regular Expressions to regexr Object |

Examples

Construction a Regular Expression

The construct function creates an object of the class regexr. This is a character string with meta expression information (i.e., sub-expressions with corresponding names and comments) contained in the object's attributes.

The %:)% binary operator allows the user to optionally add comments to the sub-expressions. The %:)%, containing a smiley face emoticon, is used here because commented code/sub-expressions is happy code☺.

m <- construct(
    space =   "\\s+"              %:)%  "I see",
    simp =    "(?<=(foo))",
    or =      "(;|:)\\s*"         %:)%  "comment on what this does",
    is_then = "[ia]s th[ae]n"
)
m
## [1] "\\s+(?<=(foo))(;|:)\\s*[ia]s th[ae]n"

To see a larger script of a regular expession managed by regexr for the qdapRegex package CLICK HERE.

Viewing the regexr Object

Th generic summary function provides an integrated view the sub-expressions with corresponding comments and names which make up the concatenated expression.

summary(m)
## 
##  \s+(?<=(foo))(;|:)\s*[ia]s th[ae]n 
##  ==================================
## SUB-EXPR 1: \s+
## NAME      : space
## COMMENT   : "I see"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 2: (?<=(foo))
## NAME      : simp
## COMMENT   : 
## 
## SUB-EXPR 3: (;|:)\s*
## NAME      : or
## COMMENT   : "comment on what this does"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 4: [ia]s th[ae]n
## NAME      : is_then
## COMMENT   :

Split regexr Object

The unglue function splits the concatenated regexr expression into sub-expressions.

unglue(m)
## $space
## [1] "\\s+"
## 
## $simp
## [1] "(?<=(foo))"
## 
## $or
## [1] "(;|:)\\s*"
## 
## $is_then
## [1] "[ia]s th[ae]n"

Get/Set Sub-Expressions, Comments, and Names of the Sub-Expressions of a regexr Object.

The subs, comments, and names functions allow the user to view and alter the sub-expressions, comments, and names of the sub-expressions from a regexr object.

subs(m)
## $space
## [1] "\\s+"
## 
## $simp
## [1] "(?<=(foo))"
## 
## $or
## [1] "(;|:)\\s*"
## 
## $is_then
## [1] "[ia]s th[ae]n"
comments(m)
## $space
## [1] "I see"
## 
## $simp
## NULL
## 
## $or
## [1] "comment on what this does"
## 
## $is_then
## NULL
names(m)
## [1] "space"   "simp"    "or"      "is_then"
subs(m)[4] <- "(FO{2})|(BAR)"
comments(m)[4] <- "Look for FOO or BAR"
names(m)[4] <- "foo_bar"
summary(m)
## 
##  \s+(?<=(foo))(;|:)\s*(FO{2})|(BAR) 
##  ==================================
## SUB-EXPR 1: \s+
## NAME      : space
## COMMENT   : "I see"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 2: (?<=(foo))
## NAME      : simp
## COMMENT   : 
## 
## SUB-EXPR 3: (;|:)\s*
## NAME      : or
## COMMENT   : "comment on what this does"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 4: (FO{2})|(BAR)
## NAME      : foo_bar
## COMMENT   : "Look for FOO or BAR"

Testing Regular Expressions

The test function allows the user to check if the concatenated regexr expression and sub-expressions are valid regular expressions.

test(m)
## $regex
## [1] TRUE
## 
## $subexpressions
##   space    simp      or foo_bar 
##    TRUE    TRUE    TRUE    TRUE
subs(m)[5:7] <- c("(", "([A-Z]|(\\d{5})", ")")
test(m)
## Warning in test.regexr(m): The concatenated regex is not valid
## 
## \s+(?<=(foo))(;|:)\s*(FO{2})|(BAR)(([A-Z]|(\d{5}))
## Warning in test.regexr(m): The following regex sub-expressions are not valid in isolation:
## 
## (1) (
## (2) ([A-Z]|(\d{5})
## (3) )
## $regex
## [1] FALSE
## 
## $subexpressions
##   space    simp      or foo_bar                         
##    TRUE    TRUE    TRUE    TRUE   FALSE   FALSE   FALSE

Existing Regular Expression to regexr: Reverse Construction

as.regexr allows the user to construct regexr objects from a regular expression and in the process generate an auto-commented & named sub-expressions construct script.

library("qdapRegex")
(myregex <- grab("@rm_time"))
## [1] "\\d{0,2}:\\d{2}(?:[:.]\\d+)?"
out <- as.regexr(myregex)
summary(out)
## 
##  \d{0,2}:\d{2}(?:[:.]\d+)? 
##  =========================
## SUB-EXPR 1: \d{0,2}
## NAME      : 1
## COMMENT   : "digits (0-9) (between 0 and 2 times (matching the most amount possible))"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 2: :
## NAME      : 2
## COMMENT   : "':'"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 3: \d{2}
## NAME      : 3
## COMMENT   : "digits (0-9) (2 times)"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 4: (?:
## NAME      : 4
## COMMENT   : "group, but do not capture (optional (matching the most amount possible)):"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 5: [:.]
## NAME      : 5
## COMMENT   : "any character of: ':', '.'"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 6: \d+
## NAME      : 6
## COMMENT   : "digits (0-9) (1 or more times (matching the most amount possible))"
## 
## SUB-EXPR 7: )?
## NAME      : 7
## COMMENT   : "end of grouping"

We can use get_construct to extract an auto-commented & named construct script that can be optionally altered and used to construct a regexr object.

get_construct(out)
construct(
    `1` = "\\d{0,2}"               %:)%  "digits (0-9) (between 0 and 2 times (matching the most amount possible))",
    `2` = ":"                      %:)%  "':'",
    `3` = "\\d{2}"                 %:)%  "digits (0-9) (2 times)",
    `4` = "(?:"                    %:)%  "group, but do not capture (optional (matching the most amount possible)):",
        `5` = "[:.]"                       %:)%  "any character of: ':', '.'",
        `6` = "\\d+"                       %:)%  "digits (0-9) (1 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
    `7` = ")?"                     %:)%  "end of grouping"
)

Some may prefer that the construct script contains no names and/or comments. The user may also wish to place comments indented below the sub-expressions or names outdented and above the sub-expressions.

myregex2 <- "(\\s*[a-z]+)([^)]+\\))"
get_construct(as.regexr(myregex2, comments.below=TRUE, names.above = TRUE))
construct(
    `1` = 
        "("
            %:)%"group and capture to \\1:",
        `2` = 
            "\\s*"
                %:)%"whitespace (\n, \r, \t, \f, and \" \") (0 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
        `3` = 
            "[a-z]+"
                %:)%"any character of: 'a' to 'z' (1 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
    `4` = 
        ")"
            %:)%"end of \\1",
    `5` = 
        "("
            %:)%"group and capture to \\2:",
        `6` = 
            "[^)]+"
                %:)%"any character except: ')' (1 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
        `7` = 
            "\\)"
                %:)%"')'",
    `8` = 
        ")"
            %:)%"end of \\2"
)
get_construct(as.regexr(myregex2, names = FALSE))
construct(
    "("                  %:)%  "group and capture to \\1:",
        "\\s*"               %:)%  "whitespace (\n, \r, \t, \f, and \" \") (0 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
        "[a-z]+"             %:)%  "any character of: 'a' to 'z' (1 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
    ")"                  %:)%  "end of \\1",
    "("                  %:)%  "group and capture to \\2:",
        "[^)]+"              %:)%  "any character except: ')' (1 or more times (matching the most amount possible))",
        "\\)"                %:)%  "')'",
    ")"                  %:)%  "end of \\2"
)

Using regexr With the rebus Package

Richard Cotton maintains the rebus package to provide natural language based functions and constants that can be used to generate regular expressions. His work can be utilized within the regexr framework to maintain manageable commented and named sub-expressions.

install.packages("richierocks/rebus")
library(rebus)

out <- construct(
    year = YEAR                    %:)%  "a year",
    or =   "|"                     %:)%  "or",
    min =  ":" %c% MINUTE          %:)%  "colon followed by valid minutes"
)


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regexr documentation built on May 29, 2017, 5:57 p.m.