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19 – Regular Expressions‌

In the next few chapters, we are going to look at tools used to manipulate text. As we have seen, text data plays an important role on all Unix-like systems, such as Linux. But before we can fully appreciate all of the features offered by these tools, we have to first examine a technology that is frequently associated with the most sophisticated uses of these toolsregular expressions.

As we have navigated the many features and facilities offered by the command line, we have encountered some truly arcane shell features and commands, such as shell expan- sion and quoting, keyboard shortcuts, and command history, not to mention the vi editor. Regular expressions continue this “tradition” and may be (arguably) the most arcane fea- ture of them all. This is not to suggest that the time it takes to learn about them is not worth the effort. Quite the contrary. A good understanding will enable us to perform amazing feats, though their full value may not be immediately apparent.


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