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Regex Revisited: Ack, SED, and TextMate

Categories: Software

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Grep has long been considered the de-facto regex command line tool for unix developers, but I’ve never really liked it. Grep has always seemed slow, buggy, and limited in its regex capabilities; I always resorted to using the built in regex functionality of TextMate or Python’s built in regex abilities.

As great as Python and TextMate are, they are not a clean solution to a simple problem and do not play nicely with shell scripting. Thankfully I’ve finally found a regex tool that fulfills my expectations: ack. There is an even a “Ack in Project” TextMate Plugin (so long Grep in Project) which works blazingly fast. Combine ack with the fixed and fully functional macports gsed (aka GNU sed) and I my command line text processing facilities are finally what they should be.

On a quick side note, I’ve come across another nice plugin for TextMate: ProjectPlus. ProjectPlus adds some nice UI as well as functional additions to the standard project drawer, it’ll help hold me over until TextMate 2.0 comes around.