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Regular expressions and the ASP.NET RegularExpressionValidator control – an overview of useful links

Posted by jpluimers on 2009/09/10

Every now and then I need the ASP.NET RegularExpressionValidator control to validate some user input on a web-page using .NET Regular Expressions (which are very similar to regular expressions used in other languages and frameworks).

Somehow, I have lost loads of time because many of the hits on Google show up high in the results, but do not actually help that much.

So I decided to put up a bunch of links to pages that I think are relevant, or helped me much.
This list is not definitive: please comment when you have links to better information!

Note: this list is current at the instant of the latest edit timestamp: tools might have improved (or disappeared) since then.
Opnions are mine; if you do not agree: please convince me why.


Regular Expression builder applications

  • Expresso – free .NET WinForms application to visually build and test regular expressions (free registraion required after 60 days of trial usage)
  • RegexWorkbench – free .NET WinForms application to build and test regular expressions (much more rudimentary than Expresso)

Regular Expression test applications

  • RegexLib tester – free on-line regular expresion tester where you can choose the client platform (.NET/ClientSide/SilverLight)
  • The Regulator – free .NET WinForms application to test regular expressions with built in support for
  • The Regex Coach – free LISP Windows application to test regular expressions and tries to explain them in plain english
  • RegExPal – free on-line JavaScript regular expression tester (tests the client side only)
  • ReWork – free on-line JavaScript tester with samples in JavaScript/PHP/Python/Ruby
  • RegexDesigner.NET – free .NET WinForms application to test regular expressions and generate C#/VB.NET code from them (ot really a “Designer” after all and much less sophisticated than The Regulator)

Tools lists

Tools not worth looking at

  • Regulazy – too rudimentary


Some comments on common regular expression solutions

  • RegEx for email usuaully reject valid email adresses like
    Dominic has some very nice info on validating email adresses
  • RegEx for a minimum number of characters usually contain \w, which is not any character!
    Better use ^(.{6,})$ than ^(\w{6,})$ if you want a minimum length of 6 characters.


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