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I wouldn't call myself a full "regex expert" (I consider some other monks the real experts :-) ), so there might be a better way to do this, but I do know the trick to use a dot and negative lookahead to say "match anything, except this thing I don't want to match", similar to "[^"]+". This works:

use warnings; use strict; use Test::More; my $re = qr{ \b type = "([^"]+)" (?: (?!<\w+TagIwant\b) . )* <(\w+TagIwant\b)? }msx; is_deeply [ q{ <blah1 phase="2" type="MyType" more_keys="Values" <Unwanted/> +<SomeTagIwant><k1="v1"></SomeTagIwant> } =~$re], ['MyType','SomeTagIwant']; is_deeply [ q{ <blah1 phase="2" type="MyType" more_keys="Values" <Unwanted/> +<SomeTagIwant/> } =~$re], ['MyType','SomeTagIwant']; is_deeply [ q{ <blah1 phase="2" type="MyType" more_keys="Values" <Unwanted/> +<SomeTagIwant k3="v3" /> } =~$re], ['MyType','SomeTagIwant']; is_deeply [ q{ <blah1 phase="2" type="MyType" more_keys="Values" <Unwanted/>} =~$re], ['MyType',undef]; done_testing;

Update: Possibly interesting related reading: [OT] Thoughts on Ruby's new absent operator?. Also a few minor edits for clarity.

In reply to Re: Regex Optional capture doesn't by haukex
in thread Regex Optional capture doesn't by NetWallah

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