Tooting My Own Horn: eBook Version of “Mastering Regular Expressions” Half Off This Week
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.

In the thousands of posts and many years I've had this blog, I've only ever mentioned my Mastering Regular Expressions book a few times, most recently perhaps six years ago when I announced that the third edition was complete and available.


For those not steeped in computer science, despite the linguistic feel to the name, it's a computer book about a very thin slice of text-processing technology of interest to a certain kind of programmer.

I don't generally mention it here because this blog is about me, and not about artificially fanning sales for something I did; I want the book to do well because folks that might find it useful actually find it useful. I guess I want it to do however well it does organically.

The book has been well received these last 14 years, through three editions, and currently enjoys an excellent 4.5-star rating at, and 5-star ratings everywhere else I can find a rating online, such as in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Poland (though that last one seems to be out of a possible six). Besides those translations, it's also been translated into at least Chinese, French, and Russian, though I can't find ratings for those. The publisher doesn't tell me when they contract a new translation, so for all I know it's expanded further since I last checked several years ago.

They also didn't tell me when they made an e-book version, but they apparently have because I've heard that the e-book version is currently on sale for half off along with other regex-related books at the publisher, O'Reilly Media.

They asked me to help spread the word, and I figure that having written a technical best-seller that has stood the test of time garners me the right to toot my own horn once a decade, so here's this decade's toot: “regex e-books at O'Reilly half off until September 4th”.

Toot toot.

All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

I have had your book since version 1. It has made regex available to me. I wasn’t very good at them and most other books made no sense. I can no longer count the number of times I have recommended your book to people. That is how I found your blog and from there I have come to share a love of photography which while no where as good as yours still brings me happiness. Feel free to toot your horn whenever you wish. Thanks for the great pictures and books over the years.

— comment by Joel M. on August 29th, 2012 at 11:49pm JST (11 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Who gets to pick the animals on the cover?

And does the owl signify “searching,” because it’s got those big eyes and hunts at night?

Who got to pick? Not me. I originally wanted a similar kind of woodblockish diagram of a brain (vaguely like this one I just found via Google image search), but the art director had complete control and I was merely informed when it was done. Makes sense, I suppose, since the distinctive cover line is a major part of the branding. In the end, I’m happy with it. I never made the connection between “searching” and owls, but that sure sounds reasonable. —Jeffrey

— comment by Zachary on August 30th, 2012 at 10:15am JST (11 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

I read this post, and wondered,
“Did he tweet his toot?”

A twittersearch verified that the toot was tweeted indeed!

(as would I have – half off is half off!)


— comment by Marcina (Bellingham, WA) on August 30th, 2012 at 12:26pm JST (11 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

“I can no longer count the number of times”

That’s because it’s a regular expression.

“half off along with other regex-related books”

I don’t think you can do that with a regular expression either. You need a CFG to match the two halves, right?

— comment by Dopey on August 30th, 2012 at 1:26pm JST (11 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Now I finally understand the url you use…

I am a big fan of regular expressions (and pretty bad at them).

Will keep your book in mind for when I get stuck…..

You are a modern day renaissance man … what with regex, lightroom, photography, and life in Japan.

— comment by Jonathan Snyder on September 8th, 2012 at 7:32am JST (11 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

I own this book. I own multiple versions. I’ve been in and out of it thousands of times. It remains the single best reference for regular expressions I have come across in a quarter century plus of fiddling around with text.

Occasionally, like tonight, I get wistful for a bygone time, for solid writing with a sense of craft about a deep and useful tool. I search for a 4th edition. Alas, it is not there. ^$

Thanks for the kind words! I don’t expect I’ll ever do another edition, though O’Reilly could do it if they find the right author. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ross on October 16th, 2019 at 12:28pm JST (4 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...

All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.

IMPORTANT:I'm mostly retired, so I don't check comments often anymore, sorry.

You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting