The regular expression used in the Decode URL examples was taken from RFC 2396, Appendix B: Parsing a URI Reference with a Regular Expression; for posterity, here's a quote:
The following line is the regular expression for breaking-down a URI reference into its components.
^(([^:/?#]+):)?(//([^/?#]*))?([^?#]*)(\?([^#]*))?(#(.*))? 12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
The numbers in the second line above are only to assist readability; they indicate the reference points for each subexpression (i.e., each paired parenthesis). We refer to the value matched for subexpression as $. For example, matching the above expression to
results in the following subexpression matches:
$1 = http: $2 = http $3 = //www.ics.uci.edu $4 = www.ics.uci.edu $5 = /pub/ietf/uri/ $6 = <undefined> $7 = <undefined> $8 = #Related $9 = Related