For some reason, RegEx is something that makes perfectly sane developers head for the hills. But unless you want to code 5000 lines of code for something that can be accomplished with one regular expression, I suggest you learn it. It will also allow you to actually understand what's going on in those cryptic .htaccess files :)
It's really not as hard as it looks. The problem is poor tutorials teaching you that RegEx operators are insanely difficult and that all you can do with a regular expression is validate forms. Okay, that isn't what they say, but I've only found a few half-decent tutorials out of hundreds.
RegEx goes much deeper than simply validating forms, and it's fairly easy to learn. The only rather difficult regular expression to understand is "(?>)", because you have to know how it works internally to understand why it's useful. Everything else, even the "advanced regex" is as simple as basic programming logic.
RegEx also makes it many times easier to secure your programs from XSS and database injection attacks.
So bite the bullet learn it. You'll be glad you did. Just a suggestion. :)
I would show you some crazy examples, but I left my list of random regex at work on paper :(
Mar 12 2008, 7:23 pm