A few months ago we found an awesome online regular expression (regex) utility that was something most programmers could really appreciate. Assuming you have Adobe Air installed you could also download that regex tool onto your computer so that it would also be available offline. At the time I didn’t think it could get much more convenient than that, but I was wrong.
If you’re looking for a tool that is slightly less robust then maybe all you’ll need is the Regex Widget for the Mac OS X Dashboard. As you can see in the screenshot above it is fairly straightforward, and it works pretty well for testing out any regular expressions that you develop. Something like this would also be handy to have for people just learning how to create the regular expressions.
The widget is nice if you’re working with a small amount of text, but it gets a little cumbersome once the scrolling has to kick in. What you see in the screenshot above is the actual size of the widget, and there’s currently no way to resize it. In my opinion there should be three different viewing modes for a widget like this:
- Auto-minimize – This mode would collapse the widget down to a simple icon when not being used. That way it takes up a minimal amount of room on your Dashboard.
- Compact – Expands to the size of the widget in the screenshot above.
- Maximized – Expands the widget to take up the full screen, or it maximizes to a user-defined height and width.
Even without different viewing modes the widget will still be very convenient for me, but being able to increase its size would make it that much more useful. I definitely recommend this widget for anyone that is learning or has to use regular expressions.