Updates to Chapter 9, “Processing Text with Regular Expressions”

[This post notes differences between the fifth and sixth editions.]

I didn’t have to make many changes to this chapter. I wanted to put in at least one Perl 5.14 feature, but the only new thing that the substitution operator gets is the /r modifier.

While working through this chapter though, I started to wonder if our terms in the previous editions were the same in the Perl documentation. We called the modifiers “option modifiers”, and sometimes “flags”, perlre just says “modifier”. Personally, I’m used to saying “flag” all the time and I like that term just fine, but for regular people, there’s nothing to connect the everyday use of “flag” to the thing after the match operators. So, “modifier” it is. I’d much rather use “adverb”, which is popular in Perl 6 land, but it’s a bit late for Perl 5 to change terms. When I made the switch in this chapter, I had to go back to Chapters 7 and 8 and do the same thing.

This chapter is also curious in that it ends with a long example the builds up to a perl one-liner. One of the things the reviewers noted about a new edition was a new chapter devoted to one-liners. That’s still possible, I guess.