Playing with Regex on OSX


If you've ever been stuck with the problem of trying to build anything but a simple regular expression you know how painful it can be getting it to match just what you want.

When developing for .NET on Windows I was introduced to a brilliant free tool called Rad Software Regex Designer that gave you the ability to provide an example of the text you wanted to match and an area to slowly build up your regular expression while getting instant feedback on what it was doing. It even has dialogs to add specific regular expression commands in case your proficiency with regular expressions isn't high or you just forgot how to create a non matching group. After moving to OSX for work I went looking for a similar tool for the Mac. And after a while I found it.

RegExhibit is a GUI tool of OSX that uses the Perl regular expression library to help you build regular expressions. This should be fine for any other languages that use a PCRE library but make sure you check before deploying. The core part of the program are two text areas. you place an example of the text you want to match into the lower area and build up your regular expression in the top are. There are even tabs for doing matches and splits but you'll likely find yourself in the match tab for most of time. However it doesn't offer the same built in dialogs like the Rad Software Regex Designer so make sure you've got a regular expression reference handy.

This is a great tool that has saved my sanity several times already and I do recommend to anyone that has to play with regular expressions and is developing on the Mac.

My First Mac

Well I decided I needed a new laptop to replace the one I've had for about two and a half years. So seeing all the stuff for the past few years about how awesome Mac's are I decided to splash out and get a 13" 2.26GHz Macbook Pro.



  • Very nice body construction. The aluminium unibody is one of the major things that drew me in.
  • Multi touch touchpad. The two finger tap for right click is nice.
  • Battery life. Compare to the 2 hours at best for my old laptop the 6+ hours is great.
  • The little LEDs and button on the side for displaying battery level. Very nice user experiance touch.


  • No lights displaying hard disk access. Not a big thing but I found it nice knowing if the hard drive was tharshing itself to bits.
  • No fullscreen on Firefox. Silly Apple for having a usability practice of disallowing this. 
  • Getting used to how Apple uses the taskbar. Or in their case, the Dock. I'll get used to it but it's quite different to how the *nix distros and Windows do it.
  • Lack of middle click. I use this heavily for opening tabs. Comand-Click works though.


On the whole an interesting piece of machinery and I may install a *nix distro on it one of these days.


Edit: Moved one of the positives to negatives as it was in the wrong place.