Dracoventions News

Text Toolkit Provides Free Regular Expression and Hash Functions

August 27, 2010

Valley Village, CA - Dracoventions announces the release of 2empowerFM Text Toolkit 2.2 with rewritten documentation and examples. Best of all, this FileMaker(R) Pro and Server plug-in is now absolutely free, no strings attached.

About Text Toolkit

2empowerFM Text Toolkit lets you do just about anything you can think of with text:

- Test if an email address looks valid
- Format digits into a phone number
- Capitalize sentences
- Turn HTML into plain text
- Do something with each word in a comma-separated list
- Examine each line of a FileMaker value list twice as fast as when using FileMaker's MiddleValues()
- Hash a large piece of text down to a short signature for comparison to other signatures or for safely-storing passwords.
- and on and on.

Most of these features are accomplished using the power of "regular expressions" in Text Toolkit. Regular expressions are sequences of special codes and "wildcard" characters that can be crafted to find almost any pattern within text. A pattern can match an email, HTML tag, number, word, and so on. Text Toolkit lets you search text for these patterns and optionally replace them with other patterns.

Regular Expressions are everywhere.

You’ll find something like regular expression search and replace in every major piece of software that deals with text, from word processors to web site editors - they're just that useful. While there is a lot to learn before anyone can master regular expressions, Text Toolkit includes a guide to get you started with the easier stuff. It will also point you to web sites with tutorials, libraries of regular expressions, and expression-building tools to make regular expressions easier to use and understand.

Advanced regular expressions.

Text Toolkit integrates a third-party, Perl-compatible regular expression engine that's fast and well tested. Even advanced features like equivalence classes and Perl back-references are supported. Perl-like variables are created for each matched group and iteration through multiple matches is supported.

Hash text.

Text Toolkit also provides the power of "hashing". A hash is a relatively short sequence of characters that represents a piece of text. Every piece of text has its own hash that doesn't change unless the text changes. Therefore, you can store the hash of one or more FileMaker fields to determine when any of them have been altered. This can be used for security or to determine when changed records in two databases need to be synchronized.

Save passwords safely.

When a hash is "strong", it is virtually impossible to calculate what piece of text it was created from. Therefore, if you store the strong hash of a password instead of the password itself, it doesn't matter if the hash is stolen from your database. A thief can't use a strong hash to determine the password that created it.

Many hash methods.

2empowerFM Text Toolkit supports many hash methods: TR1, MD5, SHA1, SHA256, and SHA512 (one of the strongest hashing methods available) and uses well-tested, third-party hashing libraries. Hashes can be encoded in Base32, Hex, or a Handwriting-safe series of characters.

How can all this be free?

- Because these features are so useful that we think they should be built into FileMaker. Since they aren't, offering them in a free plug-in is the next-best thing.
- Since these features are so useful, they have been made available in other free plug-ins, so it's hard to charge even the low price we used to ask for Text Toolkit.
- We hope you'll enjoy using Text Toolkit and will want to try out other plug-ins in the 2empowerFM Family. We hope you'll tell your friends, too!

Other free plug-ins usually require the installation of complicated frameworks like Java or PHP, or they may be buggy, missing features, or just hard to use. Complicated frameworks can also pose security threats outside of FileMaker, such as when a recent Java exploit allowed banner ads served through otherwise-safe web sites to install malware on the machine of anyone who viewed the ad (not even a click on the ad was necessary). Text Toolkit is self-contained with nothing else to install.


2empowerFM Text Toolkit 2.2 is available immediately at http://regex.dracoventions.com