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I always find myself using regular expressions (a.k.a. regex) in my programming because they are often the best way to parse out bits and pieces from blocks of text. Ever since I discovered the online RegExr that has been my tool of choice, but sometimes it’s nice to have a dedicated application. Programs like RegexBuddy are awesome, but aren’t free.

When I came across an app called The Regulator I was pretty surprised to see that the developer wasn’t charging for it. Sure it didn’t look as powerful as RegexBuddy, but I had yet to come across a regex program that you didn’t have to pay for. So naturally I jumped in and started using it.

Basically, I’ll say that it isn’t really anything to die over, but the fact that it’s available offline is really a nice touch. You can enter in your regular expression, and then there’s a box where you can place the text that you want to test it with. Or, one of the nice features is that you can also provide the path of a text file that you want to have loaded in and run against the regex you generated. I’d say that it has all of the basic functionality you’d expect from a regular expression tester.

And then I saw that the developer had also created another rather interesting app called ReguLazy. This program, which is also free, tries to generate regular expressions for you. It took me a few minutes to understand how it works, but this can be helpful for anyone new to regular expressions. It will basically let you highlight blocks of text, right-click on them, and choose whether you want it to allow a string of numbers or letters (along with their corresponding length). The downside… this definitely doesn’t let you generate advanced regular expressions, and so it’s probably not something more advanced users will find useful. This animation should give you a better sense of what it’s used for:

The Regulator Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)
ReguLazy Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)