Ruby Language Groups, named and otherwise.


Example

Ruby extends the standard group syntax (...) with a named group, (?<name>...). This allows for extraction by name instead of having to count how many groups you have.

name_reg = /h(i|ello), my name is (?<name>.*)/i #i means case insensitive

name_input = "Hi, my name is Zaphod Beeblebrox"

match_data = name_reg.match(name_input) #returns either a MatchData object or nil
match_data = name_input.match(name_reg) #works either way

if match_data.nil? #Always check for nil! Common error.
  puts "No match"
else
  match[0] #=> "Hi, my name is Zaphod Beeblebrox"
  match[1] #=> "i" #the first group, (i|ello)
  match[2] #=> "Zaphod Beeblebrox"
  #Because it was a named group, we can get it by name
  match[:name]  #=> "Zaphod Beeblebrox"
  match["name"] #=> "Zaphod Beeblebrox"
  puts "Hello #{match[:name]}!"
end

The index of the match is counted based on the order of the left parentheses (with the entire regex being the first group at index 0)

reg = /(((a)b)c)(d)/
match = reg.match 'abcd'
match[0] #=> "abcd"
match[1] #=> "abc"
match[2] #=> "ab"
match[3] #=> "a"
match[4] #=> "d"