As usual, reading Cory Doctorow's new article in the Guardian has inspired me to learn new things. This time, it's regular expressions. Here's a chunk of his article, Here's what ICT should really teach kids: how to do regular expressions:
Knowing regexp can mean the difference between solving a problem in three steps and solving it in 3,000 steps. When you're a nerd, you forget that the problems you solve with a couple keystrokes can take other people days of tedious, error-prone work to slog through.
Like typing or spelling, regexp is a foundational skill that involves a fair bit of practice and learning by rote. It's the sort of skill that is best taught at an early age. Regexps are easy to teach with games, since each "operator" in a regular expression blocks or matches a different set of characters, so you can easily make tower-defence style games where the player has to construct progressively more complex regexps to block the incoming monsters – there are tons of regexp games online already.
His article includes a link to this site, www.regular-expressions.info, and I will be googling for some of those tower defense games.