In this article we want to learn about Python Regex vs String Methods, Regular expressions and string methods are two powerful tools in Python for working with text data. even tough that these two achieve similar results in many cases, but there are some important differences between these two, in this article we want to talk about the differences between Python regex and string methods and when to use them.
What are Python Regular Expressions ?
Regular expression or regex is a pattern that describes a set of strings. Regex patterns can be used to match, search and replace text in Python. regex patterns are defined using a syntax that allows for powerful and flexible pattern matching. these are some of the common regex patterns.
|.||matches any character except newline|
|*||matches zero or more occurrences of the preceding character or group|
|+||matches one or more occurrences of the preceding character or group|
|?||matches zero or one occurrence of the preceding character or group|
|||matches any character inside the brackets|
|()||groups characters together to create a sub pattern|
Regex patterns are defined using re module in Python. this is an example of how to use re module to search for a pattern in string.
text = "welcome to geekscoders.com"
pattern = r"geekscoders"
match = re.search(pattern, text)
print("Pattern found in text")
print("Pattern not found in text")
In the above example we have imported re module and defined a pattern to search, after that we have used re.search() function to search for the pattern in the text. if the pattern is found our function returns a Match object, which we can use to extract the matching text.
Run the code and this will be the result
What are Python String Methods ?
String methods are builtin methods in Python that can be used to manipulate text data. these methods are designed to be simple and easy to use, also they cover different common text manipulation tasks.
These are some of the common string methods.
|lower()||converts the string to lowercase|
|upper()||converts the string to uppercase|
|replace()||replaces one substring with another|
|split()||splits the string into a list of substrings|
|join()||joins a list of substrings into a single string|
This is an example of how to use some of these string methods.
text = "Welcome to geekscoders.com"
new_text = text.lower().replace("geekscoders", "geeks")
words = text.split()
joined_text = " ".join(words)
In the above example we have used lower() method to convert the string to lowercase, replace() method is used to replace substring geekscoders with geeks, split() method is used to split the string into a list of words, and join() method is used to join the list of words back into single string.
This will be the result
Python Regex vs String Methods
So when should you use regular expressions and when should you use string methods ? these are some general guidelines:
Use regular expressions when:
- You need to match a pattern that is not easily defined using string methods.
- You need to match complex patterns that involves repetition or optional characters.
- You need to extract specific parts of a string that match a pattern.
Use string methods when:
- You need to perform simple text manipulation tasks like converting case, replacing substrings or splitting strings.
- You know the exact substring you want to search for.
- You don’t need to search for patterns that involve repetition or optional characters.