Get Ready to Exploit Regular Expression Pattern Matching to Examine and Manipulate Complex Data in Your ABAP Programs

  • by David F. Jenkins, Independent Consultant
  • January 15, 2005
Many text search/replacement problems are difficult to address without using regular expression pattern matching. As part of an upcoming SAP NetWeaver release, SAP will introduce native regular expression processing functionality into SAP Web Application Server (SAP Web AS) ABAP. To prepare you to use this facility effectively, this article provides a basic introduction to regular expression technology. Using common search/replacement applications as practical examples, it demonstrates how regular expressions can reduce the amount of custom code that would otherwise be required to address problems such as validating phone numbers and field parsing. The article concludes by presenting a simple ABAP function module that enables you to start using regular expressions today in SAP Web AS ABAP 6.20 in anticipation of the upcoming SAP NetWeaver native support.

David F. Jenkins

David F. Jenkins has been involved with IT since 1957, when he started in the business as a punched card machine operator. Dave worked for a Houston bank for nine years before receiving his B.S. in Math from the University of Houston. He then joined IBM, where he worked in various marketing support positions, supporting contractors at the NASA Johnson Space Center. While at IBM, Dave spent a year teaching at New Mexico Highlands University as part of IBM’s Faculty Loan Program. Since leaving IBM, Dave has received a master’s in Management, Computing and Systems from Houston Baptist University, and has finished coursework for a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems at the University of Houston. Since 1996, Dave has been a consultant specializing in ABAP development — his most recent client assignment has been at ChevronTexaco, supporting their installation of SAP IS-Oil Production and Revenue Accounting. Dave is married with four children, and two beautiful grandchildren. He and his wife Joy live in the country 80 miles west of Houston, where they enjoy the wide-open spaces and fresh air, and their dog, cats, fish, and especially their colony of purple martins.

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