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Formatting with RegEx in SQL Server

Shane O’Neill has a problem:

This is a contrived example but I was given a script that got the “Discipline”, “DocumentVersion”, “DocumentNumber”, “SectionNumber”, and “SectionName” out of the above.

And while it works, I hate that formatting. Everything is all squashed and shoved together.

No, thanks. Let’s see if we can make this more presentable.

Shane has a regular expression. Now Shane has two problems.

In all seriousness, regular expressions are extremely powerful in the right scenario. Shane mentions being okay with it not in the database engine and I’m usually alright with that, but there are cases when it’s really helpful like figuring out if a particular input is valid. One example I have on a project is finding legitimate codes (like ISBN) where you can solve the problem easily with a regex but my source data is abysmal. I can use the SQL# regular expression functions to drop into CLR and figure out whether that value is any good, something I would have a lot more trouble with in T-SQL alone.