Regex.Replace. This function performs complex text substitutions. It can use a delegate function for replacements—this is a MatchEvaluator type.
Notes, Replace. In simpler cases it is often sufficient to use a String replacement. And for performance, string methods are better.
First example. Let us begin with this program. After declaring the input string, we invoke the Regex.Replace function and pass 3 arguments to it.
Detail The input string reference, the pattern to match, and the replacement for matching sequences.
Finally The program demonstrates that the function call performed the task correctly.
' Input string.
Dim input As String = "abc def axc"' Use Regex.Replace with string arguments.
Dim output As String = Regex.Replace(input, "a..", "CHANGED")
End Moduleabc def axc
CHANGED def CHANGED
MatchEvaluator. Regex.Replace function has a more powerful version. We must create a MatchEvaluator instance, which is a delegate pointer to a function.
Detail Please look at the UpperFirst function. This invokes the Regex.Replace shared method, and passes 3 arguments.
Note The second argument is the pattern of character sequences we want to replace. The third argument is a MatchEvaluator instance.
Detail To create the MatchEvaluator, use the New operator and the AddressOf operator with a function name.
Tip The UpperEvaluator method describes the implementation for the MatchEvaluator. It uppercases only the first character of its input.
' Write the uppercased forms.
Function UpperFirst(ByRef value As String) As String
' Invoke the Regex.Replace function.
Return Regex.Replace(value, _
New MatchEvaluator(AddressOf UpperEvaluator))
Function UpperEvaluator(ByVal match As Match) As String
' Get string from match.
Dim v As String = match.ToString()
' Uppercase only first letter.
Return Char.ToUpper(v(0)) + v.Substring(1)
Notes, performance. We can store the MatchEvaluator instance itself as a field upon the enclosing type. Then, you can simply access this field on each call to Regex.Replace.
And Not only this, but you could cache a Regex object as a field and call Replace on that.
Notes, usage. MatchEvaluator requires an understanding of how to construct an instance by assigning it to the address of an appropriate implementation.
Detail You hook up the MatchEvaluator delegate type to an implementation. This must have the correct Match and String types.
Detail With MatchEvaluator, we create powerful mechanisms to programmatically mutate matching text patterns.
A summary. Regex.Replace is powerful. Using patterns and special characters, you can add power to your replacements, without adding imperative logic that is hard to maintain.