One the less heralded innovations leading to widespread literacy, a few hundred years before Gutenberg (and at least as important), was the invention of spaces between words and lowercase lettering. IMNOTSUREACULTUREWITHTEXTLIKETHISISCAPABLEOFPRODUCINGTHECRITIQUEOFPUREREASONITSINSCRUTIBLEENOUGHASITIS

Regex is like magic but the syntax is Byzantine (or maybe earlier than that — sorry if I offended any Byzantines). It's the only system of written text that I'm aware of that is easier to learn to write than to read. Though if I'm honest I might put English into that category for myself. It's easier, increasingly, to write than to read 1,000 words in a sitting.

But my inattention to written English is no excuse for Regex, which does what it does so satisfyingly but does it LIKETHISWHICHISNEARLYUNREADABLEBYTHEHUMANEYE.

Most mainstream programming conventions that are still around are there for a reason. There have been enough obsessive people along the way to root out most of the truly nonsensical stuff. So rather than judge Regex for its squished syntax, I'll appreciate that it's the human writer and the computer reader that it’s aiming at.

That's what I'm assuming, anyway. I'm sure someone who writes and reads Regex for a living (I'm assuming there are such people) would want to hit me on the head for suggesting the addition of more parentheses or spaces to their marvel of efficiency, which is perfectly readable if you take the time to learn it, thank you very much. Or maybe they would just call me a /n0{2}b\scuck/, who knows?