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Re: How to grok a complicated regex?

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: How to grok a complicated regex?
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2015 04:58:04 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4 (gnu/linux)

Marcin Borkowski <> writes:

> Really? It's not /that/ difficult. You only need
> enough coffee (or tea, in my case), time and
> motivation. You don’t need a genius, or even IQ
> higher than, say, 90 or so. It's not really
> /difficult/. Intimidating, yes. Boring, possibly.
> Laborious (and mechanical), yes. But not
> /difficult/.

I mean to be able to read it like you read the code of
a programming language. What that takes is training
like everything else. Instead of deconstructing and
reconstructing complicated expressions like your
example I would recommend starting small - the most
basic building blocks over and over, then make them
gradually more complicated by combinations, then
combinations of combinations, ... It is the way a
machine would process it (only the other way around),
and it is the way a foreign natural language is
acquired (almost always). "IQ" is a joke and has
nothing to do with it unless IQ is defined by the
ability to understand regular expression, which by the
way I think isn't far away from how they test "IQ"
(which says alot).

> I disagree. I don’t think that such a translator
> would be a difficult one to write.

The compiler itself is perhaps not extremely difficult
tho certainly not trivial. But that's only the first
step. Then comes presenting it graphically, and make
an editor. To get that to actually work, polished, and
work better than just mastering and typing that form
of code - I'm not convinced.

> Wow, what a nice project for a bachelor’s thesis.
> Wait a minute. Ohboyohboyohboy. I have to put this
> in my faculty’s database of potential topics. Poor
> students... ;-)

That kind of autistic-genius, single-sided crazy stuff
doesn't appeal to me (in fact I think it is
destructive). I'm into execution and combinations -
i.e. not focusing on the technique per se. As an
example, when I did my Master in CS I had Lisp, C++,
zsh, and LaTeX (and more), everything working together
like glued to each other. I don't like one scientist
to do all the thinking, I like on engineer that does
everything and thinks at the same time.

underground experts united

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