Microsoft’s .NET Framework, usable with Visual Basic, C#, and C++ (among other languages), offers a shared regular-expression library that unifies regex semantics among the languages. It’s a full-featured, powerful engine that allows you the maximum flexibility in balancing speed and convenience.

Each language has a different syntax for handling objects and methods, but those underlying objects and methods are the same regardless of the language, so even complex examples shown in one language directly translate to the other languages of the .NET language suite. Examples in this chapter are shown with Visual Basic.

Reliance on Earlier Chapters Before looking at what’s in this chapter, it’s important to emphasize that it relies heavily on the base material in Chapters 1 through 6. I understand that some readers interested only in .NET may be inclined to start their reading with this chapter, and I want to encourage them not to miss the benefits of the preface (in particular, the typographical conventions) and the earlier chapters: Chapters 1, 2, and 3 introduce basic concepts, features, and techniques involved with regular expressions, while Chapters 4, 5, and 6 offer important keys to regex understanding that directly apply to .NET’s regex engine. Among the important concepts covered in earlier chapters are the base mechanics of how an NFA regex engine goes about attempting a match, greediness, backtracking, and efficiency concerns.

Along those lines, let me emphasize that ...

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