Credit Card Regular Expression

So for the project I’m currently working on I need to verify credit card numbers input by the user. So I found a regular expression online that would do almost all of it, but it lacked a few necessary validations such as Discover cards and 13-digit Visas. So I modified it to work with almost all forms of Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards.

It also supports white space and dashes in between blocks of numbers, as would be found on an actual credit card.

Here it is:


It’s not 100% perfect for catching invalid Discover or 13-digit Visa cards but it will recognize valid ones. For best results, strip out any non-digits from the input string before running it through the regular expression.



C#, Functions Creating Functions, with Lambda!

So as my knowledge pertaining to the programming language C# progresses by contributions from the people around me as well as the infinite amount of resources online, I find it more and more fascinating and powerful. It’s sort of the “do-all” language, yet it still does it all in style.

Take this little concept for example. With the use of lambda expressions much like you’d find in any other functional programming language such as F#, F#’s predecessor ML, or Haskell, you can produce some pretty slick functional code right inline with everything else. This also produces an effect that is similiar (if not exactly) known as currying.

The following code uses a set of lambda expressions to create a nested function who takes an int and returns a function that matches the event signature for a Button.Click event. This allows us to dynamicly create a new function for each Button added to the form.

void AddButtons()
    // Create a brand new function that takes
    // an int and returns another function that
    // matches the definition of an EventHandler.
    Func func =
        (x) => (sender, args) =>

    // Add a list of buttons to our control/form
    // giving each a unique Click event.
    for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++)
        Button btn = new Button();
        btn.Click += func(i);    // Add handler
        this.Controls.Add(btn);  // Add the button

I know this isn’t the most useful example or most impressive, but it’s still pretty cool and serves as a nice reference. For some more slick examples of code optimization in C# you should check out some of the posts on my buddy Erin’s blog over at Random Bits of Foo.


C#: Send Email with SMTP

So I’ve actually had to do this before for a project I was working on, and thought that I’d go ahead and post a brief example of how to accomplish it here.

This example sends a simple email to a single recipient by using GMail. Please note that the principle classes used (MailMessage, SmtpClient, and NetworkCredential) are only available in the .NET Library 2.0 or later. For .NET < 2.0 you’ll want to see the System.Web namespace.

// Create the mail object.
System.Net.Mail.MailMessage msgMail =
    new System.Net.Mail.MailMessage(
        "TestEmail@mel-gree.com",   // FROM
        "mel@mel-green.com"         // TO

// Set the subject of the message
msgMail.Subject = "Hello from C#";

// Set that the body of this message will be HTML
msgMail.IsBodyHtml = true;

// Set the body of the email. Since I specified that
// I'm using HTML this will be fully qualified HTML/XHTML
msgMail.Body =
    "<html>" +
      "<body>" +
        "<h1>Hello There!</h1>" +
           You've been selected to receive this email. Congratulations!
         </p>" +
      "</body>" +

// Now I'll create an SMTP object to send the message
// by means of a SMTP server.
System.Net.Mail.SmtpClient smtp =
    new System.Net.Mail.SmtpClient(
            "smtp.gmail.com", // Server address
            587               // Server port

// GMail uses SSL
smtp.EnableSsl = true;

// GMail uses authentication
smtp.UseDefaultCredentials = false;
    = new System.Net.NetworkCredential (
        "mastermel@gmail.com", // Account Name
        "MyPassword"           // Account Password

// Finally, send the message!

Here’s a few extra things you might want to know about…

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C#: Retrieve data from webpage

So I came across a fun assignment this week that I’m sure has been done by many different people in many different programming languages. The challenge was to “scrape” a website for information autonomously and save it off to a file.

I accomplished this by first using a wrapper class for .NET’s own HTTPWebRequest object that simplified posting to a web site and retrieving the result. I then used regular expressions to find the data I wanted, stored it in a string, and later wrote it to a file.

I’m not going provide the specific program I wrote as it’s still proprietary, but I will give a small example of how this can be done. The example will include: posting to a website, retrieving the results (HTML for the page), and parsing the resulting page to find what you want.

The class I used to post to the site was done by Robert May and can be found here: http://geekswithblogs.net/rakker/archive/2006/04/21/76044.aspx

Here is an example of using this class to perform a search at CraigsList under the ‘for sale’ category and retrieving the results:

// Create the post object
PostSubmitter post =
    new PostSubmitter("http://provo.craigslist.org/search/sss");

// Add our parameters
    "Ford Truck"

// Specify our action type (Post | Get)
post.Type = PostSubmitter.PostTypeEnum.Get;

// Retrieve the results
string result = post.Post();
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Green Sudoku, a C# App

So I’ve written a small Sudoku game in C#. I originally started writing it so that I could have an interface to test my Sudoku Solving Algorithm. But as I worked on it, it became more and more a nice little application worthy of its own existence.

It only has 3 puzzles hard-coded into it that I’ve been using for testing purposes, but they’re fun to play, even though they’re a little on the easy side. My plan is to update the game to automatically download puzzles from some of the major Sudoku game websites that are out there. This would allow you to play literally millions of puzzles from several different levels of difficulty.

So I post it here for your puzzle-solving pleasure! Please be patient with it as it has a few bugs I’m still working out. If you happen to find any please let me know by commenting in this post!

This link will provide you with a direct download to a zip file that contains the game and a few files it needs to run. After downloading it just extract it anywhere you’d like and enjoy!

*GreenSudoku.zip (360KB)

Green Sudoku Screenshot

*Note: You need to have .NET framework version 2.0 or later installed on your system. If you’re not sure whether you have it you can download and run this small program from Microsoft which will install it if it’s not present on your system.