Taming Perl Regexes

Location: D136 Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 40 ratings)

Regexes are the weasels of the programming world: compact, immensely powerful, doggedly single-minded in their task, and with a nasty tendency to maul you, when and where you least expect it. And Perl regexes are the biggest, most powerful, and potentially meanest code weasels of all: wolverines in your source.

This talk demonstrates and explains a new Perl module (Regexp::Debugger) that helps tame unruly regexes by providing live interactive run-time visualizations of any regex in your code, as it matches. The debugger allows you to track capture variables, follow recursive subpattern matches, set break-points within a regex match, and even step backwards through the matching process to work out exactly where things started going so horribly wrong.

Photo of Damian Conway

Damian Conway


Damian Conway is an internationally renowned speaker, author, and trainer, and a prominent contributor to the Perl community. Currently he runs Thoughtstream, an international IT training company that provides programmer training from beginner to masterclass level throughout Europe, North America, and Australasia. Most of his spare time over the past decade has been spent working with Larry Wall on the design and explication of the Perl 6 programming language. He has a PhD in Computer Science and was until recently an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, Australia.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Damian Conway
Damian Conway
07/23/2012 10:12am PDT

Hi James.

Unfortunately, I can’t make those slides available.

However the Regexp::Debugger module itself includes full documentation of all the behaviours I demonstrated.

James Whiteneck
07/23/2012 7:34am PDT

This was a great presentation. Are the slides available anywhere?

Picture of Kirsten Petersen
Kirsten Petersen
07/19/2012 5:37pm PDT

Excellent talk. I can’t wait to show Regexp::Debugger and rxrx to my team.

Jeffrey Davison
07/19/2012 6:36am PDT

Great presentation as always. Thanks Damian!


For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at (707) 827-7065 or scordesse@oreilly.com.

View a complete list of OSCON contacts