RegEx for Finding Open and Closing Tags in HTML

TLDR for <li> </li>:


I’m web scraping with Python and BeautifulSoup on some very unconventional code and I needed to find out how nested a set of unordered lists is. I would think that VSCode has a way of tracking opening and closing HTML tags but I wasn’t seeing it (Let me know if there’s a method or plugin that I’m missing). The next best thing I could think of was to use a regex to search. I haven’t had much practice with Regular Expressions but was able to piece this query together from several Stack Overflow answers and the documentation.

To search for an opening list tag is a straightforward…


If you want opening <li> and closing </li> tags you need…

<[/]*li> (the star ignores anything in the preceding square brackets)

And since some tags have more information like <li class="some-class"> you need to add…


I’ll be totally honest about this last addition [^>]*. My best understanding is that it’s essentially a double-negative. It’s saying match everything ^ except the greater-than > symbol and then the asterisk * after the square brackets tells you to ignore everything you’ve found other than that closing >.

And finally, since some of the opening <li> tags in the code I was searching extended over multiple lines I had to add \n newline characters and return characters \r as other characters to ignore upfront.

So the final code ends up being….


Happy Searching!