Review: The Regulator
- By Mike Gunderloy
- November 21, 2003
The Regulator 1.02b2
Regular expressions are a powerful and complex feature of the Microsoft
.NET Framework (and of many other programming environments as well, of
course). If you're working with regexes in .NET, and need a powerful
environment for editing and testing them, you definitely ought to take a
look at The Regulator. The price is right and the feature list is longer
than I've seen in other regex utilities.
To begin with, of course, you can enter a regular expression, input and
replacement strings, and experiment with match, split, and replace behavior.
Actually, you can enter more than one regular expression, because the
color-coded editor supports multiple open documents, as well as
collapsing and expanding sections. You can save the regular expressions to disk and or use a disk file as the input to work with.
Not sure what to enter to get the regex you want? Right-click and follow
the shortcut menus to add in any of the .NET regex syntax. Also useful
is "Escape Selection", which adds appropriate whitespace markers to turn
a literal string into something that will work inside of a regex.
Want a starting point? You can search the library of regular expressions
at RegexLib.com and import your results directly from The Regulator's
interface. If you've come up with a genius-level regex of your own, a
wizard guides you through the process of adding it to the RegexLib.com
An "expert snippets" window stores chunks of text to save you typing,
while a performance graph lets you see the effects of modifying your
expression as you tune it. The whole can also be minimized to the system
tray - useful if you're working on an application where you need regex
support at all times.
What's missing? There's no help file or code generation -- yet. But Roy
is actively working on the application, and I hear more good things are
coming down the pike. In short order, The Regulator has become the most
comprehensive of the .NET regex applications out there. And it's still
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.