C# - Regular Expressions

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A regular expression is a pattern that could be matched against an input text. The .Net framework provides a regular expression engine that allows such matching. A pattern consists of one or more character literals, operators, or constructs.

Constructs for Defining Regular Expressions

There are various categories of characters, operators, and constructs that lets you to define regular expressions. Click the follwoing links to find these constructs.

The Regex Class

The Regex class is used for representing a regular expression.

The Regex class has the following commonly used methods:

S.NMethods & Description
1public bool IsMatch( string input )
Indicates whether the regular expression specified in the Regex constructor finds a match in a specified input string.
2public bool IsMatch( string input, int startat )
Indicates whether the regular expression specified in the Regex constructor finds a match in the specified input string, beginning at the specified starting position in the string.
3public static bool IsMatch( string input, string pattern )
Indicates whether the specified regular expression finds a match in the specified input string.
4public MatchCollection Matches( string input )
Searches the specified input string for all occurrences of a regular expression.
5public string Replace( string input, string replacement )
In a specified input string, replaces all strings that match a regular expression pattern with a specified replacement string.
6public string[] Split( string input )
Splits an input string into an array of substrings at the positions defined by a regular expression pattern specified in the Regex constructor.

For the complete list of methods and properties, please read the Microsoft documentation on C#.

Example 1

The following example matches words that start with 'S':

using System;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

namespace RegExApplication
{
   class Program
   {
      private static void showMatch(string text, string expr)
      {
         Console.WriteLine("The Expression: " + expr);
         MatchCollection mc = Regex.Matches(text, expr);
         foreach (Match m in mc)
         {
            Console.WriteLine(m);
         }
      }
      static void Main(string[] args)
      {
         string str = "A Thousand Splendid Suns";

         Console.WriteLine("Matching words that start with 'S': ");
         showMatch(str, @"\bS\S*");
         Console.ReadKey();
      }
   }
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result:

Matching words that start with 'S':
The Expression: \bS\S*
Splendid
Suns

Example 2

The following example matches words that start with 'm' and ends with 'e':

using System;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

namespace RegExApplication
{
   class Program
   {
      private static void showMatch(string text, string expr)
      {
         Console.WriteLine("The Expression: " + expr);
         MatchCollection mc = Regex.Matches(text, expr);
         foreach (Match m in mc)
         {
            Console.WriteLine(m);
         }
      }
      static void Main(string[] args)
      {
         string str = "make maze and manage to measure it";

         Console.WriteLine("Matching words start with 'm' and ends with 'e':");
         showMatch(str, @"\bm\S*e\b");
         Console.ReadKey();
      }
   }
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result:

Matching words start with 'm' and ends with 'e':
The Expression: \bm\S*e\b
make
maze
manage
measure

Example 3

This example replaces extra white space:

using System;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

namespace RegExApplication
{
   class Program
   {
      static void Main(string[] args)
      {
         string input = "Hello   World   ";
         string pattern = "\\s+";
         string replacement = " ";
         Regex rgx = new Regex(pattern);
         string result = rgx.Replace(input, replacement);

         Console.WriteLine("Original String: {0}", input);
         Console.WriteLine("Replacement String: {0}", result);    
         Console.ReadKey();
      }
   }
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result:

Original String: Hello   World   
Replacement String: Hello World   


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