new(*args) public

Constructs a new regular expression from pattern, which can be either a String or a Regexp (in which case that regexp’s options are propagated), and new options may not be specified (a change as of Ruby 1.8).

If options is a Fixnum, it should be one or more of the constants Regexp::EXTENDED, Regexp::IGNORECASE, and Regexp::MULTILINE, or-ed together. Otherwise, if options is not nil or false, the regexp will be case insensitive.

r1 = Regexp.new('^a-z+:\\s+\w+') #=> /^a-z+:\s+\w+/
r2 = Regexp.new('cat', true)     #=> /cat/i
r3 = Regexp.new(r2)              #=> /cat/i
r4 = Regexp.new('dog', Regexp::EXTENDED | Regexp::IGNORECASE) #=> /dog/ix
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February 12, 2009
3 thanks

Other regular-expression modifiers

Likewise you can set Regexp::IGNORECASE directly on the regexp with the literal syntax:

# This will match "first", "First" and even "fiRSt"

Even more modifiers

  • o – Perform #{} interpolations only once, the first time the regexp literal is evaluated.

  • x – Ignores whitespace and allows comments in * regular expressions

  • u, e, s, n – Interpret the regexp as Unicode (UTF-8), EUC, SJIS, or ASCII. If none of these modifiers is specified, the regular expression is assumed to use the source encoding.

Literal to the rescue

Like string literals delimited with %Q, Ruby allows you to begin your regular expressions with %r followed by a delimiter of your choice.

This is useful when the pattern you are describing contains a lot of forward slash characters that you don’t want to escape:

# This will match "http://"
February 4, 2009
3 thanks

Multiline regexps

A shortcut for multiline regular expressions is

/First line.*Other line/m

(notice the trailing /m)

For example:

text = <<-END
  Hello world!
  This is a test.

text.match(/world.*test/m).nil?  #=> false
text.match(/world.*test/).nil?   #=> true