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\chapter{Exercise 13: Escaping Things}
You know most of the symbols and now you have a problem: How do you match
the symbols rather than use them? For example, what if you wanted to match a
regex with a regex? You'd need a way to "escape" the symbols that are in the
regex you want to match, and you do that the same way you do in most
programming languages with the \verb|\| (backslash) character. Let's give
it a try, but I have to warn you this will probably warp your brain so pay
<< d['code/ex13.txt'] >>
Pay attention: \emph{These lines are your corpus text not your regex.} Repeat
after me, these are the lines of text you are looking for, \emph{not} the
regex. The next file is the regex.
I can already see the fear in your eyes, so I'm going to write the regex
we'll use in verbose form so you can take them slow and see what I'm doing:
<< d['code/ex13.regex'] >>
Again, \emph{pay attention!} That file is the \file{ex13.regex} and it \emph{is
the regex that does the matching}. The other one above is \file{ex13.txt} and
it's is the \emph{corpus text}. Get that straight in your mind before continuing.
Even in verbose form this is pretty heinous. In all honesty, if you're
trying to do this you shouldn't use a regex but should use a real lexer.
I'll be showing you how to write one of those but the exercise is good for
being able to understand regex like this.
In the first regex I'm trying to match, "Any regex that starts with \verb|.*[|,
has something inside the character set, and then ends with \verb|].*|". To do
this I have to escape each of the regex chars I want to match using the \verb|\|
The other regex are going to be part of an extra credit so I'm not going to
explain them.
\section{What You Should See}
When you run this you should see each regex match only one line of the corpus
text file:
\begin{code}{ex13 Output}
<< d['code/ex13.regex|regetron']['ex13.txt'] >>
If it doesn't work make sure you're putting the proper number of newlines between
regex. Remember, an empty line starts verbose mode, and another ends it, so you
need two between each one.
\section{Extra Credit}
\item Take the other two regex and write a similar English sentence describing what
they're mapping.
\item Convert the regex back to normal form from verbose.
\item Write lines of corpus text that match each of these regex in new ways.
\item Write lines of corpus text that do not match the regex, then modify the
regex to make them match.
\section{Portability Notes}
Many regex engines also use the \verb|\| (backslash) character to add extra
features, so be careful when you use it on letters and numbers. You don't
need to escape letters and numbers, and they'll potentially clash with some
feature of the regex engine.