The Dopefly Tech Blog

<< The Dopefly Tech Blog Main page

Use the Java regular expression engine in ColdFusion

posted under category: ColdFusion on April 7, 2006 at 1:00 am by MrNate

This is somewhat old news, but I've been using it lately, and figured I'd put a little reminder out here. Whenever you are trying to create a regular expression in ColdFusion and are having trouble with it, or if you're trying to use an advanced feature that just doesn't work (like lookbehind), remember that there IS a solution.

Here's a hint. Remember, CF is Java! Here's how to exploit the wonders of java.lang.String:

<cfset str = "This is my string!">
#str.matches("^.+$")#, displays YES
#str.replaceAll("\W","")#, displays Thisismystring
<cfdump var="#str.split("\W")#"/>, dumps an array of words

Everything you can do with a String can be found a the Java 1.4.2 API docs. (1.4.2 and not 1.5 because CFMX 6 & 7 support does not currently extend past 1.4.2)

Don't know enough about regular expressions? Learn more from the ColdFusion LiveDocs "Using Regular Expressions" pages, and also from

Too old to comment!
On Apr 7, 2006 at 1:00 AM Trevor Burnette (trevor at the endearing said:
Sweet. I never thought about using java.lang.String for my regex needs.

Here is a link to an article on using java to run regex against a file using java.

On Apr 7, 2006 at 1:00 AM John Allen ( said:
thanks for the reminder. good post.

On Apr 8, 2006 at 1:00 AM Michael White (mwhite007 who can't believe it's not said:
and just like magic, adobe has an article on how to upgrade your JRE to Sun's latest... found the article on MXNA:
and talking tree has a little more:

On Jan 12, 2007 at 1:00 AM Ben Nadel ( said:
One note... you cannot call this on query records directly even if the query cell value is a string. The call:

Query.ColumnValue.ReplaceAll( .. )

Will throw an error because it doesn't know that the ColumnValue is a string. Underneath it must be some sort of "RecordCell" object or something.

To get around this, convert to a string first:

ToString( Query.ColumnValue ).ReplaceAll( .. )

That should be good to go!

On Jan 12, 2007 at 1:00 AM Nathan Strutz ( said:
To follow suit, you could also do this the slightly more java way...


Just throwing that out there. It's not necessarily better in any way :)
Too old to comment!