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revision 75 by nigel, Sat Feb 24 21:40:37 2007 UTC revision 93 by nigel, Sat Feb 24 21:41:42 2007 UTC
# Line 23  man page, in case the conversion went wr Line 23  man page, in case the conversion went wr
23  <P>  <P>
24  The PCRE library is a set of functions that implement regular expression  The PCRE library is a set of functions that implement regular expression
25  pattern matching using the same syntax and semantics as Perl, with just a few  pattern matching using the same syntax and semantics as Perl, with just a few
26  differences. The current implementation of PCRE (release 5.x) corresponds  differences. (Certain features that appeared in Python and PCRE before they
27  approximately with Perl 5.8, including support for UTF-8 encoded strings and  appeared in Perl are also available using the Python syntax.)
28  Unicode general category properties. However, this support has to be explicitly  </P>
29  enabled; it is not the default.  <P>
30    The current implementation of PCRE (release 7.x) corresponds approximately with
31    Perl 5.10, including support for UTF-8 encoded strings and Unicode general
32    category properties. However, UTF-8 and Unicode support has to be explicitly
33    enabled; it is not the default. The Unicode tables correspond to Unicode
34    release 5.0.0.
35    </P>
36    <P>
37    In addition to the Perl-compatible matching function, PCRE contains an
38    alternative matching function that matches the same compiled patterns in a
39    different way. In certain circumstances, the alternative function has some
40    advantages. For a discussion of the two matching algorithms, see the
41    <a href="pcrematching.html"><b>pcrematching</b></a>
42    page.
43  </P>  </P>
44  <P>  <P>
45  PCRE is written in C and released as a C library. A number of people have  PCRE is written in C and released as a C library. A number of people have
46  written wrappers and interfaces of various kinds. A C++ class is included in  written wrappers and interfaces of various kinds. In particular, Google Inc.
47  these contributions, which can be found in the <i>Contrib</i> directory at the  have provided a comprehensive C++ wrapper. This is now included as part of the
48  primary FTP site, which is:  PCRE distribution. The
49    <a href="pcrecpp.html"><b>pcrecpp</b></a>
50    page has details of this interface. Other people's contributions can be found
51    in the <i>Contrib</i> directory at the primary FTP site, which is:
52  <a href="ftp://ftp.csx.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/programming/pcre">ftp://ftp.csx.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/programming/pcre</a>  <a href="ftp://ftp.csx.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/programming/pcre">ftp://ftp.csx.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/programming/pcre</a>
53  </P>  </P>
54  <P>  <P>
# Line 53  available. The features themselves are d Line 69  available. The features themselves are d
69  page. Documentation about building PCRE for various operating systems can be  page. Documentation about building PCRE for various operating systems can be
70  found in the <b>README</b> file in the source distribution.  found in the <b>README</b> file in the source distribution.
71  </P>  </P>
72    <P>
73    The library contains a number of undocumented internal functions and data
74    tables that are used by more than one of the exported external functions, but
75    which are not intended for use by external callers. Their names all begin with
76    "_pcre_", which hopefully will not provoke any name clashes. In some
77    environments, it is possible to control which external symbols are exported
78    when a shared library is built, and in these cases the undocumented symbols are
79    not exported.
80    </P>
81  <br><a name="SEC2" href="#TOC1">USER DOCUMENTATION</a><br>  <br><a name="SEC2" href="#TOC1">USER DOCUMENTATION</a><br>
82  <P>  <P>
83  The user documentation for PCRE comprises a number of different sections. In  The user documentation for PCRE comprises a number of different sections. In
# Line 62  all the sections are concatenated, for e Line 87  all the sections are concatenated, for e
87  follows:  follows:
88  <pre>  <pre>
89    pcre              this document    pcre              this document
90    pcreapi           details of PCRE's native API    pcreapi           details of PCRE's native C API
91    pcrebuild         options for building PCRE    pcrebuild         options for building PCRE
92    pcrecallout       details of the callout feature    pcrecallout       details of the callout feature
93    pcrecompat        discussion of Perl compatibility    pcrecompat        discussion of Perl compatibility
94      pcrecpp           details of the C++ wrapper
95    pcregrep          description of the <b>pcregrep</b> command    pcregrep          description of the <b>pcregrep</b> command
96      pcrematching      discussion of the two matching algorithms
97    pcrepartial       details of the partial matching facility    pcrepartial       details of the partial matching facility
98    pcrepattern       syntax and semantics of supported regular expressions    pcrepattern       syntax and semantics of supported regular expressions
99    pcreperform       discussion of performance issues    pcreperform       discussion of performance issues
100    pcreposix         the POSIX-compatible API    pcreposix         the POSIX-compatible C API
101    pcreprecompile    details of saving and re-using precompiled patterns    pcreprecompile    details of saving and re-using precompiled patterns
102    pcresample        discussion of the sample program    pcresample        discussion of the sample program
103      pcrestack         discussion of stack usage
104    pcretest          description of the <b>pcretest</b> testing command    pcretest          description of the <b>pcretest</b> testing command
105  </pre>  </pre>
106  In addition, in the "man" and HTML formats, there is a short page for each  In addition, in the "man" and HTML formats, there is a short page for each
107  library function, listing its arguments and results.  C library function, listing its arguments and results.
108  </P>  </P>
109  <br><a name="SEC3" href="#TOC1">LIMITATIONS</a><br>  <br><a name="SEC3" href="#TOC1">LIMITATIONS</a><br>
110  <P>  <P>
# Line 91  internal linkage size of 3 or 4 (see the Line 119  internal linkage size of 3 or 4 (see the
119  distribution and the  distribution and the
120  <a href="pcrebuild.html"><b>pcrebuild</b></a>  <a href="pcrebuild.html"><b>pcrebuild</b></a>
121  documentation for details). In these cases the limit is substantially larger.  documentation for details). In these cases the limit is substantially larger.
122  However, the speed of execution will be slower.  However, the speed of execution is slower.
123  </P>  </P>
124  <P>  <P>
125  All values in repeating quantifiers must be less than 65536.  All values in repeating quantifiers must be less than 65536. The maximum
126  The maximum number of capturing subpatterns is 65535.  compiled length of subpattern with an explicit repeat count is 30000 bytes. The
127    maximum number of capturing subpatterns is 65535.
128  </P>  </P>
129  <P>  <P>
130  There is no limit to the number of non-capturing subpatterns, but the maximum  There is no limit to the number of parenthesized subpatterns, but there can be
131  depth of nesting of all kinds of parenthesized subpattern, including capturing  no more than 65535 capturing subpatterns.
132  subpatterns, assertions, and other types of subpattern, is 200.  </P>
133    <P>
134    The maximum length of name for a named subpattern is 32 characters, and the
135    maximum number of named subpatterns is 10000.
136  </P>  </P>
137  <P>  <P>
138  The maximum length of a subject string is the largest positive number that an  The maximum length of a subject string is the largest positive number that an
139  integer variable can hold. However, PCRE uses recursion to handle subpatterns  integer variable can hold. However, when using the traditional matching
140  and indefinite repetition. This means that the available stack space may limit  function, PCRE uses recursion to handle subpatterns and indefinite repetition.
141  the size of a subject string that can be processed by certain patterns.  This means that the available stack space may limit the size of a subject
142    string that can be processed by certain patterns. For a discussion of stack
143    issues, see the
144    <a href="pcrestack.html"><b>pcrestack</b></a>
145    documentation.
146  <a name="utf8support"></a></P>  <a name="utf8support"></a></P>
147  <br><a name="SEC4" href="#TOC1">UTF-8 AND UNICODE PROPERTY SUPPORT</a><br>  <br><a name="SEC4" href="#TOC1">UTF-8 AND UNICODE PROPERTY SUPPORT</a><br>
148  <P>  <P>
# Line 126  instead of just strings of bytes. Line 162  instead of just strings of bytes.
162  <P>  <P>
163  If you compile PCRE with UTF-8 support, but do not use it at run time, the  If you compile PCRE with UTF-8 support, but do not use it at run time, the
164  library will be a bit bigger, but the additional run time overhead is limited  library will be a bit bigger, but the additional run time overhead is limited
165  to testing the PCRE_UTF8 flag in several places, so should not be very large.  to testing the PCRE_UTF8 flag occasionally, so should not be very big.
166  </P>  </P>
167  <P>  <P>
168  If PCRE is built with Unicode character property support (which implies UTF-8  If PCRE is built with Unicode character property support (which implies UTF-8
169  support), the escape sequences \p{..}, \P{..}, and \X are supported.  support), the escape sequences \p{..}, \P{..}, and \X are supported.
170  The available properties that can be tested are limited to the general  The available properties that can be tested are limited to the general
171  category properties such as Lu for an upper case letter or Nd for a decimal  category properties such as Lu for an upper case letter or Nd for a decimal
172  number. A full list is given in the  number, the Unicode script names such as Arabic or Han, and the derived
173    properties Any and L&. A full list is given in the
174  <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>  <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
175  documentation. The PCRE library is increased in size by about 90K when Unicode  documentation. Only the short names for properties are supported. For example,
176  property support is included.  \p{L} matches a letter. Its Perl synonym, \p{Letter}, is not supported.
177    Furthermore, in Perl, many properties may optionally be prefixed by "Is", for
178    compatibility with Perl 5.6. PCRE does not support this.
179  </P>  </P>
180  <P>  <P>
181  The following comments apply when PCRE is running in UTF-8 mode:  The following comments apply when PCRE is running in UTF-8 mode:
# Line 154  PCRE when PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK is set, the Line 193  PCRE when PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK is set, the
193  may crash.  may crash.
194  </P>  </P>
195  <P>  <P>
196  2. In a pattern, the escape sequence \x{...}, where the contents of the braces  2. An unbraced hexadecimal escape sequence (such as \xb3) matches a two-byte
197  is a string of hexadecimal digits, is interpreted as a UTF-8 character whose  UTF-8 character if the value is greater than 127.
 code number is the given hexadecimal number, for example: \x{1234}. If a  
 non-hexadecimal digit appears between the braces, the item is not recognized.  
 This escape sequence can be used either as a literal, or within a character  
 class.  
198  </P>  </P>
199  <P>  <P>
200  3. The original hexadecimal escape sequence, \xhh, matches a two-byte UTF-8  3. Octal numbers up to \777 are recognized, and match two-byte UTF-8
201  character if the value is greater than 127.  characters for values greater than \177.
202  </P>  </P>
203  <P>  <P>
204  4. Repeat quantifiers apply to complete UTF-8 characters, not to individual  4. Repeat quantifiers apply to complete UTF-8 characters, not to individual
# Line 174  bytes, for example: \x{100}{3}. Line 209  bytes, for example: \x{100}{3}.
209  </P>  </P>
210  <P>  <P>
211  6. The escape sequence \C can be used to match a single byte in UTF-8 mode,  6. The escape sequence \C can be used to match a single byte in UTF-8 mode,
212  but its use can lead to some strange effects.  but its use can lead to some strange effects. This facility is not available in
213    the alternative matching function, <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>.
214  </P>  </P>
215  <P>  <P>
216  7. The character escapes \b, \B, \d, \D, \s, \S, \w, and \W correctly  7. The character escapes \b, \B, \d, \D, \s, \S, \w, and \W correctly
# Line 195  than 128, unless PCRE is built with Unic Line 231  than 128, unless PCRE is built with Unic
231  property support is available, PCRE still uses its own character tables when  property support is available, PCRE still uses its own character tables when
232  checking the case of low-valued characters, so as not to degrade performance.  checking the case of low-valued characters, so as not to degrade performance.
233  The Unicode property information is used only for characters with higher  The Unicode property information is used only for characters with higher
234  values.  values. Even when Unicode property support is available, PCRE supports
235    case-insensitive matching only when there is a one-to-one mapping between a
236    letter's cases. There are a small number of many-to-one mappings in Unicode;
237    these are not supported by PCRE.
238  </P>  </P>
239  <br><a name="SEC5" href="#TOC1">AUTHOR</a><br>  <br><a name="SEC5" href="#TOC1">AUTHOR</a><br>
240  <P>  <P>
241  Philip Hazel &#60;ph10@cam.ac.uk&#62;  Philip Hazel
242  <br>  <br>
243  University Computing Service,  University Computing Service,
244  <br>  <br>
245  Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
246  <br>  </P>
247  Phone: +44 1223 334714  <P>
248  Last updated: 09 September 2004  Putting an actual email address here seems to have been a spam magnet, so I've
249    taken it away. If you want to email me, use my initial and surname, separated
250    by a dot, at the domain ucs.cam.ac.uk.
251    Last updated: 23 November 2006
252  <br>  <br>
253  Copyright &copy; 1997-2004 University of Cambridge.  Copyright &copy; 1997-2006 University of Cambridge.
254  <p>  <p>
255  Return to the <a href="index.html">PCRE index page</a>.  Return to the <a href="index.html">PCRE index page</a>.
256  </p>  </p>

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