One of the topics that I had scheduled for the Perl Advent Calendar this year that didn’t finally make the cut was Regexp::Debugger (It might make it next year, but let’s all pretend I never made this post if that’s the case.)

I really wanted to write an article on Regexp::Debugger because it has such wow factor.  You just stick a line in the source code and bam instant visual debugger.  Suddenly I was finding out in minutes what was wrong with the regular expression that I’d spent half an hour figuring out writing numerous tests.  Sometimes there’s no substitute for getting in there and seeing what’s going on. The problem with the article is that that’s pretty much all I could say about the module.  It’s almost too simple to use - there’s just nothing else to comment on.  Go.  Go use it.  You won’t regret it.  Hmm. The other big problem is that it’s almost impossible to describe in words how to use the debugger.  It’s something that works best in a screencast or something similar and we’re not (yet) set up to include those kinds of things in the Perl Advent Calendar.  The article on ack had a couple of animated gifs, but I’m unsure if the one I prepared for Regexp::Debugger really conveys what’s going on without an audio track.  Still, for posterity, here’s the gif I prepared: Regexp::Debugger demo gif

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