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new balance outlet dalton park A better way of doing Regex I really dislike regular expressions, each time I come back to it I seem to have to relearn it. It's also incredibly hard to maintain, modify and at a glance understand what it is doing. Has anyone ever tried writing another layer on top of it that turns more semantic 'sql like' statements into regex? I imagine it working along the lines of: This is probably not the greatest example ever, but the idea is that the pattern is built with some sort of semantic meaningful language that can break down into traditional regular expressions. The above would be a lot easier for a developer to modify. I sort of invision it being like SQL/Linq to some degree. It would make regex a lot more semantic and maintainable. Has this been tried before, and is it a bad/good idea to try this? Could it work? What you propose is incredibly verbose. Even though regex can be hard to digest if done wrong, and takes some (only a little, I'd claim I rarely read or write regexes, but I still remember the syntax for the most important features (repetition, characters classes, lookahead) and can read regexes using those features relatively fluently) getting used to, I'd prefer them to something like this which requires me to type out a full pseudoenglish sentence for something that can be expressed perfectly well with a few characters. Also consider the complexity (and errorproneness) of an implementation of such a language! Another issue I have to raise: The checks you use as examples include some things that are completely unreasonable to do with regex ending with an integer is easy enough, but comparing numbers is a nogo with regex. Also, many of these tests are written more easily with the programming language's nativ string processing tools checking the length, for instance, or substring checking if the string gets longer or dynamic. The fact that regexes exist and are useful sometimes doesn't mean you have to use them for all string processing. Use them with care and everything's fine. What you are describing in almost AppleScript like in its syntax, and AppleScript is universally loathed, even by people who know it well, the syntax may look easy and readable, but its verbosity is its down fall, unless you do it ever day you forget all the grammar and keyword rules and it becomes just as opaque as the regex syntax. It is hard for beginners to understand because of the verbosity and hard for experts because of its verbosity. Your contrived straw man example: Rule followedby string endson "." So how do I remember to use followedby instead of follows or after or before or precedes or preceding or any one of the dozen or so English alternatives to that concept of "coming after" something else. You can apply the same logic to endson which could be endswith or endingwith or ending, you would still have to have a cheat sheet or book to use your proposed syntax. An alternative to regular expressions is BackusNaur Form, and some more human variations like EBNF or ABNF. Roughly, each part of the grammar is broken into a 'production rule', with a nonterminal definition on the left and a sequence of terminals and nonterminals describing the rule on the right. your example, in BNF would look something like this: expr ::= startword "hello" "beep" endword startword WORD_CHARendword ::= DIGIT "1" DIGITAlso, BNF happens to express context free languages, a proper superset of the regular languages that regular expressions describe. The best way to do regular expressions is to learn and understand them, or don't use them at all. Using some other tool as an excuse to not learn regular expressions means you have to re"learn" them every time you encounter them. Spend a day, just one (full, undistracted) day to deeply study regular expressions and you'll be rewarded with a new tool you can use your whole career. You'll also have a much greater understanding of when they are appropriate and more importantly when they are not.