Tutorial: Don’t miss the tutorial on sitepoint.com. It will walk you through the basics from simple to some fairly sophisticated pattern matching of nested, paired parentheses and other brackets. (Something you can’t do with RegExp.) It’s all laid out for you with nine (9), hands-on, CodePen examples.
Complete User’s Guide: A complete user’s guide can be found at
or the APG website.
v2.1.0 release notes: There are no functional changes in version 2.1.0. Its dependency on apg has been modified to depend instead on the new apg API, apg-api. This removes all dependency on the node.js file system module “fs”. Some development frameworks are incompatible with “fs”.
apg-exp: By way of introduction, the regex Wikipedia article would be a good start and Jeffrey Friedl’s book, Mastering Regular Expressions would be a lot better and more complete. This introduction will just mention features, a little on motivation and try to point out some possible advantages to apg-exp.
.are not pre-defined, providing greater flexibility and certainty to the meaning of any needed character classes.
apg-expessentially Turing complete.
The motivation was originally twofold.
Hardly any programmer has not needed regexes at some point, more likely lots of points, and it doesn’t take much reading of the Internet forums to note that many others, like me, find the regex syntax to be quite cryptic. Additionally, because regexes have such a long, rich history with many versions from many (excellent) developers, there are many different syntax variations as you move from system to system and language to language. By contrast ABNF is standardized (although my non-standard superset additions are starting to pile up.) Whether or not the ABNF syntax is preferable to conventional regex syntax will always be a personal preference. But, for me and possibly others, ABNF offers a more transparent syntax to work with.
At the outset I naively thought that the regular expressions of regexes were just that – the Chomsky hierarchy variety. Therefore, I thought that using an APG parser for the pattern matching would add a great deal of parsing power to the problem. I soon discovered that not only were regexes not real “regular expressions”, they were powerful, recursive-descent parsers, loaded with features that went well beyond that of APG. I had to play a little catch up to add look behind, back referencing and anchors. That being done, however, I think there is still a case for claiming some added power. I’m not a regex expert and I won’t be making any big claims here, but there are a couple of points I will mention. I think the way that apg-exp gives the user nearly full control over the input, output and interpretation of the character codes goes a long way to address a number of the cautions mentioned in Jeffrey Friedl’s book, for example on pages 92 and 106. I also think it addresses a number of the things Larry Wall finds wrong with the regex culture in his Apocalypse 5 page. For example, back referencing, support for named capture, nested patterns (recursive rules), capture of all matches to a sub-phrase and others.
But the best thing to do, probably, is to head over to the
examples and take a look.
See and compare for yourself. I would suggest starting with the
rules examples to get your bearings and go from there.
GitHub: In your project directory,
git clone https://github.com/ldthomas/apg-js2-exp.git apgexp npm install apgexp --save
npm: In your project directory,
npm install apg-exp --save
git clone https://github.com/ldthomas/apg-js2-exp.git apgexp
Then, in the header of your web page include,
<link rel="stylesheet" href="./apgexp/apgexp.css"> <script src="./apgexp/apgexp.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="./apgexp/apgexp-min.css"> <script src="./apgexp/apgexp-min.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
(Note that some apg-exp output is in HTML format and apgexp.css is needed to properly style it. Also, it is simply a copy of apglib.css.)
Now access apg-exp as,
<script> var exp = new ApgExp(pattern); </script>
See, specifically, the email example.
See apg-js2-examples/apg-exp for many more examples of using apg-exp.
The full documentation is in the code in
To generate the documentation, from the package directory:
npm install -g docco ./docco-gen
docs/index.html in any web browser to get started.
Or view it on the APG website
Copyright © 2017 Lowell D. Thomas, all rights reserved
Released under the BSD-3-Clause license.