The RegEx module stands for Regular expressions. If you have already worked on programming, you would have come across this term several times already. We use the Regular expressions to search and replace, it is used in various text editors, search engines, word processors, etc.
In other words, it helps match a certain pattern that you are looking for.
A good example for this would be how your collage website allows you to use only your university mail and none of the other extensions.
The regular expression module comes packaged within Python. You do not need to download and install it separately.
In order to start accessing its contents, we must first import the module. To import the RegEx module, we use
The RegEx module comes with a lot of functions and it is essential to understand and know the difference between each one of them.
Mentioned below are a few of the important functions you will most certainly use when you start working on Python projects.
re.compile(pattern, flags) #Compiles the pattern to be matched re.search(pattern, string, flags) #Searches through the string for exact match re.match(pattern, string, flags) #Checks if there is a match between pattern and string re.split(pattern, string, max, flag) #Splits the string based on the pattern provided re.findall(pattern, string, flag) #Prints all the matches found using the pattern re.finditer(pattern, string, flags) #Returns the string as an iterable object re.sub(pattern, repl, string, count) #Replaces the string with the pattern re.subn(pattern, repl, string, count) #Does the same thing as re.sub but returns it in a tuple(string and count) re.escape(pattern) #Escapes all characters other than ascii characters
Let us take a string, say “Hello world”. Now, let us find out if the above string is present in the string “Hello world! How are things going?”
To do this, we use the re.compile and re.match functions.
x = re.compile(“Hello world”) y = x.match(“Hello world! How are things going?”) if (y): print("Strings match") else: print("Strings do not match")
If you are wondering, why we cannot do this without using the compile function, you are right! We can do this without using the compile function.
x = re.match(“Hello world”,"Hello world! How are things going?") if (y): print("Strings match") else: print("Strings do not match")
x = re.split("\W+","Hello,World") print(x) x = re.split("(\W+)","Hello,World print(x)
['Hello', 'World'] ['Hello', ',', 'World']
In the above example, the “\W+” basically means start splitting from the left and the + sign means keep moving forward until the end. When it is covered in brackets like in case 2, it splits and adds punctuations as well, like the comma.
x = re.sub(r"there","World","Hello there. Python is fun.") print(x) x = re.subn(r"there","World","Hello there. Python is fun. Hello there") print(x)
Hello World. Python is fun. ('Hello World. Python is fun. Hello World', 2)
In the above example, the re.sub checks if the word “there” exists and replaces it with “world”.
The subn function does the exact same thing but returns a tuple instead of a string and also adds in the total number of replacements done.
One of the real world application/example for using the RegEx module would be to validate passwords.
import re matching_sequence = r"[0−9]" while(True): x = input("Enter your password : ") r = re.search(matching_sequence,x) if (r and len(x)>6): print(x + " is a valid password") else: print(x + " is not a valid password. Password MUST be atleast 7 characters with atleast 1 number") input("Press Enter key to exit ")
The program will check if you have entered a valid password (7+ characters with at least one number) or not.
You’ve learnt the basics of the RegEx module present in Python and all the various different functions present within it.
There are a lot more functions and uses for the RegEx module. If you are interested, you can read more from their official documentation at https://docs.python.org/3/library/re.html.