Name: [709] Jeff Rush
Member: 106 months
Authored: 15 videos
Description: Greetings. I'm the (former) Python Advocacy Coordinator and a strong supporter of screencasts. I'm also the organizer of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Pythoneers and was con chair for PyCon 2006 and 2007 in Dallas. I'm also an independent consultant and work in the areas of Python/Zope, embedded Linux s ...

Walkthru of a Simple Text Line Matcher (grep) [ID:368] (1/2)

in series: Python Source Walkthrough Series

video tutorial by Jeff Rush, added 09/07

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Let's start with a simple program, one that reads lines of text from one or more files and prints out those lines that match a regular-expression pattern. We'll give it command-line options and then in successive reworkings in this talk have it underline the matches and accept multiple patterns any of which can match.

A simple introduction to Python programming for those just getting started.

#!/usr/bin/env python

"""GREP-Like Print Lines Matching One or More Given Patterns

   Search one or more named input files (standard
   input if no files are named, or the file name '-'
   is given) for lines containing a match to the
   given set of patterns.  If any one of them
   matches, print the line.

from optparse import OptionParser
import fileinput
import re

class MultiMatcher(object):
    """A Set of Searchable Regular Expression Patterns

       Accept one or more regular expressions such
       that if any one of them matches a line the
       first successful match is returned.

    def __init__(self, multipatterns):
        self.multipatterns = [ re.compile(pattern)
                               for pattern in multipatterns ]

    def search(self, line):
        for pattern in self.multipatterns:
            match =
            if match is not None:
                return match

def main():
    parser = OptionParser(
        usage="%prog [-u] -e PATTERN FILELIST",
        version="%prog 1.2")

    parser.add_option("-e", "--regexpr",
        action="append", dest="regexpr",
        help="pattern expression on which to match")

    parser.add_option("-u", "--underscore",
        action="store_true", dest="underscore", default=False,
        help="draw underscores under the matching text")

    options, args = parser.parse_args()

    if options.regexpr is None:
        parser.error("missing pattern against which to match")

    matcher = MultiMatcher(options.regexpr)

    for line in fileinput.input(args):
        if line.endswith("\n"):
            line = line[:-1]

        match =
        if match:
            start, end = match.start(), match.end()

            prefix = "%s:%d " % (
            print prefix + line

            if options.underscore:
                print prefix \
                      + " " * start \
                      + "-" * (end - start)

if __name__ == "__main__":

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Show some quick comments >>

All comments excluding tick-boxed quick-comments

46. Charlesea Tue, 20 Jul 2010 07:47

Thanks for the video!

45. Isabel Marant Wedge Trainers Ebay Wed, 23 Jun 2010 00:05

Great, thanks

44. Tue, 15 Jun 2010 16:22

Thanks a lot for your work!

43. Bogner Bequem Atmungsaktiv Wandern Lady Sun, 06 Jun 2010 09:16

Nice job. Several useful tricks I can use. Thank you!

42. mojammad khan Wed, 12 May 2010 13:24

Enjoyed it, like building from step to step. I think that's a good part of teaching.

41. Sat, 17 Apr 2010 12:07


The walkthru of the grep program was really helpful.

I didn't know about starting to read a python program from the bottom.

Chris Norway

40. michael kors handbags Fri, 16 Apr 2010 07:41

informative, yet needs to be broken down toward the basics. application , and variety. but this doesn't devalue the use of this video.

39. jasa SEO, Backlink, Blogwalking murah Wed, 31 Mar 2010 05:18

wonderful stuff. I know my RE's pretty well but this was just an exciting demo to watch unfold while illustrating python's power

38. coach factory online sale Tue, 16 Mar 2010 23:00

It is really helpful to see these samples, and hear you explain the code. I will try this myself some day.


37. Parajumpers Red Sports Sat, 27 Feb 2010 11:10

I've been trying to read python programs every now and then, but often the sheer complexity and the calls to libraries I didn't know made me give up before I reached the end. As a consequence, I appreciate the help a video like this one provides.

36. black true religion shirt Tue, 16 Feb 2010 14:09

Thanks! very helpful

Fun. Good. Useful and practical insight of classes, modules and parsing in 16 min.


33. marinir seo Thu, 21 Jan 2010 14:48

Beautifully presented

Thank you Jeff. Very nice and valuable.

31. ugg baby booties Mon, 11 Jan 2010 14:57

Nice Video. Good example on real life list comprehension.

30. anonymous Fri, 23 Oct 2009 12:00

I did find the video educational and did like the detail. One thing I would have liked to see was an example of the last modification to the program (where the class was added). thanks.

29. anonymous Sun, 04 Oct 2009 12:48

Thanks for the high quality tutorials on this site.

Really enjoyed the to-the-point nature of the video.

Really enjoyed the to-the-point nature of the video.

26. anonymous Thu, 24 Sep 2009 12:37

Hi Jeff, thanks for the video. That will help me if I need to do some command line parsing. It was just the kind of tutorial I'm looking for


25. anonymous Mon, 24 Aug 2009 16:59

very nice video

24. anonymous Thu, 13 Aug 2009 17:11

great work!

23. anonymous Wed, 05 Aug 2009 18:34

Thanks, I liked this video very much. How does optparse know a filename argument is not an regex? Is a user required to invoke the e flag for each regex he/she wants to search for?

Lots of new modules in use I never seen before. Great knowledge in my endeavors with Python. Thanks!

21. anonymous Tue, 28 Jul 2009 12:29

Good one!

...Music is the best.

20. anonymous Sat, 11 Jul 2009 14:45

Awesome! I think what you are doing is great! One bit of advice though, it's good to explain things throughly but sometimes you pause a lot and it seems a bit slow. Other than that, I love it. Do you happen to be able to do some C or C++ also??

19. anonymous Thu, 02 Jul 2009 18:27


18. anonymous Thu, 11 Jun 2009 12:15

Great vid, new to python and nice to learn a bit about a new module.


17. anonymous Sat, 06 Jun 2009 07:39

I came from a Perl background, I went through your tutorial, it's brilliant. Especially at the end where you handle the multi regex as a class and there were minimal code changes on the main function.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

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