Finding all href values in a HTML string with C# .NET

Say you’d like to collect all link URLs in a HTML text. E.g.:

     <a href=\"\">Visit fantasticsite!</a>
     <a href=\"\">Read the news</a>

The goal is to find “; and “;. Using an XML parser could be a solution if the HTML code is well formatted XML. This is of course not always the case so the dreaded regular expressions provide a viable alternative.

The following code uses a Regex to find those sections in the input text that match a regular expression:

static void Main(string[] args)
	string input = "<html><p><a href=\"\">Visit fantasticsite!</a></p><div><a href=\"\">Read the news</a></div></html>";
	Console.WriteLine("Main done...");

private static void FindHrefs(string input)
	Regex regex = new Regex("href\\s*=\\s*(?:\"(?<1>[^\"]*)\"|(?<1>\\S+))", RegexOptions.IgnoreCase);
	Match match;
	for (match = regex.Match(input); match.Success; match = match.NextMatch())
		Console.WriteLine("Found a href. Groups: ");
		foreach (Group group in match.Groups)
			Console.WriteLine("Group value: {0}", group);


This gives the following output:

FindHrefs Regexp in action

View all posts related to string and text operations here.

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