Regular expressions are the most obvious very high-level feature of Perl. A single pattern match in Perleven a simple onecan perform the work of many lines in a different language. Pattern matches, especially when combined with Perl's handling of strings and lists, provide capabilities that are very difficult to mimic in other programming languages.
The power of regular expressions is one thing. Making use of it is another. Getting the full benefit from regular expressions in Perl requires both experience and understanding. Becoming fluent in regular expressions may seem to be a difficult task, but I commend it to you. Once you have mastered regular expressions in Perl, your programs will be faster, shorter, and easier to write. In other words, more effective which is why you are reading this book, right?
This section discusses many commonly- encountered issues relating to regular expressions. It is not a reference, however. For a complete description of regular expressions and Perl, see the Perl man pages and/or the Camel book. For an illuminating and extremely thorough discussion of regular expressions that reaches far beyond Perl, see Jeffrey Friedl's excellent Mastering Regular Expressions , the so-called " Hip Owls book."