Practical online helpers for CMS beginners

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Wikipedia describes a regular expression as "in theoretical computer science… a sequence of characters that forms a search pattern, mainly for use in pattern matching with strings…". Despite the computer lingo, the next time you need to select a bunch of files based on their names and extensions, use a simple regular expression or, in short, a regex. Regular expressions don't just show up in scripts and programs. Web developers also use them occasionally. Sometimes, you need to find certain web posts in PHP; others times, you need to select certain elements in CSS and assign styles to them. RegExr [4] can help you understand, create, and test regexes (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Mastering regular expressions is a part of programming and web development. The RegExr tool helps beginning web designers understand regexes.

With RegExr, you can test regex queries on text in a web interface [4]. RegExr highlights the text if the query is successful. Hovering over the text shows the matching group in the expression. Alternatively, you can research examples, look at the cheatsheet, or reference the selections on the left.


Developing a custom template for a CMS-supported homepage is usually quite simple from the numerous templates available. You might want to vary the font, alter the spacing between paragraphs, or switch colors – simple changes to the CSS file of the template can do that. Often, the result, however, is that the CSS code starts to build up considerably, the load time increases (albeit not too much because of the small size of the text files), and the CSS file turns into an unwieldy monster.

Code Beautify [4] can help you slim down the CSS code and make it clearer and easier to understand. It also works for other types of code, such as HTML, JavaScript, C#, and SQL (Figure 4). Just copy the questionable code into the web editor [5] or use the open button to load it from your files and click Beautify . Pressing Minify removes unnecessary characters for browser display, such as breaks, indents, and comments. This process reduces code readability but also load time.

Figure 4: Code Beautify cleans up CSS code and, if desired, reduces it to its bare essentials.

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