PHP Regular expressions made easy
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VerbalExpressions is a PHP library that helps to construct hard regular expressions.


The project supports Composer so you have to install Composer first, before project setup.

$ composer require  verbalexpressions/php-verbal-expressions:dev-master


// some tests
require './vendor/autoload.php';
use VerbalExpressions\PHPVerbalExpressions\VerbalExpressions;

$regex = new VerbalExpressions();

      ->anythingBut(" ")

if ($regex->test("")) {
    echo "valid url". '<br>';
} else {
    echo "invalid url". '<br>';

if (preg_match($regex, '')) {
    echo 'valid url';
} else {
    echo 'invalid url';

echo "<pre>". $regex->getRegex() ."</pre>";

echo $regex->clean(array("modifiers" => "m", "replaceLimit" => 4))
           ->find(' ')
           ->replace("This is a small test and some more text.", "-");

More examples are available in the following files:

Business readable language expression definition

$definition = 'start, then "http", maybe "s", then "://", maybe "www.", anything but " ", end';
$regex = new VerbalExpressionsScenario($definition);

Methods list

Name Description Usage
add add values to the expression add('abc')
startOfLine mark expression with ^ startOfLine(false)
endoOfLine mark the expression with $ endOfLine()
then add a string to the expression add('foo')
find alias for then find('foo')
maybe define a string that might appear once or not maybe('.com')
anything accept any string anything()
anythingBut accept any string but the specified char anythingBut(',')
something accept any non-empty string something()
somethingBut anything non-empty except for these chars somethingBut('a')
replace shorthand for preg_replace() replace($source, $val)
lineBreak match \r \n lineBreak()
br shorthand for lineBreak br()
tab match tabs \t tab()
word match \w+ word()
anyOf any of the listed chars anyOf('abc')
any shorthand for anyOf any('abc')
range adds a range to the expression range(a,z,0,9)
withAnyCase match case default case sensitive withAnyCase()
stopAtFirst toggles the g modifiers stopAtFirst()
addModifier add a modifier addModifier('g')
removeModifier remove a mofier removeModifier('g')
searchOneLine Toggles m modifier searchOneLine()
multiple adds the multiple modifier multiple('*')
_or wraps the expression in an or with the provided value _or('bar')
limit adds char limit limit(1,3)
test performs a preg_match test('')

For all the above method (except test) you could use the VerbalExpressionsScenario.

Other Implementations

You can see an up to date list of all ports on

Building the project and running the tests

The project supports Composer so you have to install Composer first before project setup.

curl -sS | php
php composer.phar install --dev
ln -s vendor/phpunit/phpunit/phpunit.php phpunit