just FYI here're reg ex tools that i've found helpful (not
ruby-specific, but PCRE / perl-compatible.  Ruby RE has a few deltas
from perl, which escape me at the moment besides lookbehind:

http://www.weitz.de/regex-coach/
http://samuelfullman.com/team/php/tools/regular_expression_tester_p2.php

http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/docs/Komodo/3.1/komodo-doc-regex.html


Kevin Brown wrote:
> On Tuesday 04 October 2005 02:29, Kev Jackson wrote:
> > Given the following data
> >
> > '817-017', 800000, 0, 0, 200000, 200000, 500000, 500000, 500000, 500000,
> > 60000, 59122, 0, 800000, '817'
> >
> > How can I easily just select the first 4 elements (where elements 2,3
> > and 4 could be NULL)?
> >
> > At the moment I'm trying a regexp of the form
> >
> > line.sub!(/(VALUES \(\s*'\w',\s*[0-9]+,\s*[0-9]+,\s*[0-9]+|NULL).+/, '\1
> > '+');')
> >
> > I'm thinking that a split will be more productive, but then I've got to
> > merge everything back together, sub + friends seems to be easier
> > (although I'm struggling to get exactly what I want as output)
> >
> > Any thoughts + best practices/idioms etc would be very much appreciated
>
> I'd go with split
>
> data = split(',', "'817-017', 800000, 0, 0, 200000, 200000, 500000, 500000,
> 500000, 500000, 60000, 59122, 0, 800000, '817'")
>
> # process here
>
> data.each{ |part|
>   string << part
> }
>
> > Kev
> >
> > PS sorry to repeatedly spam on about this, but I have a deadline and I'd
> > rather be using Ruby than C, Java, Python, Perl