Aug 24, 2008

Regex-Directed(NFA) Versus Text-Directed (DFA)

You can easily find out whether the regex flavor you intend to use has a text-directed or regex-directed engine. If backreferences and/or lazy quantifiers are available, you can be certain the engine is regex-directed. You can do the test by applying the regex regex|regex not to the string regex not. If the resulting match is only regex, the engine is regex-directed. If the result is regex not, then it is text-directed. The reason behind this is that the regex-directed engine is eager.