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1 <html>
2 <head>
3 <title>pcreapi specification</title>
4 </head>
5 <body bgcolor="#FFFFFF" text="#00005A" link="#0066FF" alink="#3399FF" vlink="#2222BB">
6 <h1>pcreapi man page</h1>
7 <p>
8 Return to the <a href="index.html">PCRE index page</a>.
9 </p>
10 <p>
11 This page is part of the PCRE HTML documentation. It was generated automatically
12 from the original man page. If there is any nonsense in it, please consult the
13 man page, in case the conversion went wrong.
14 <br>
15 <ul>
16 <li><a name="TOC1" href="#SEC1">PCRE NATIVE API</a>
17 <li><a name="TOC2" href="#SEC2">PCRE API OVERVIEW</a>
18 <li><a name="TOC3" href="#SEC3">NEWLINES</a>
19 <li><a name="TOC4" href="#SEC4">MULTITHREADING</a>
21 <li><a name="TOC6" href="#SEC6">CHECKING BUILD-TIME OPTIONS</a>
22 <li><a name="TOC7" href="#SEC7">COMPILING A PATTERN</a>
23 <li><a name="TOC8" href="#SEC8">COMPILATION ERROR CODES</a>
24 <li><a name="TOC9" href="#SEC9">STUDYING A PATTERN</a>
25 <li><a name="TOC10" href="#SEC10">LOCALE SUPPORT</a>
26 <li><a name="TOC11" href="#SEC11">INFORMATION ABOUT A PATTERN</a>
27 <li><a name="TOC12" href="#SEC12">OBSOLETE INFO FUNCTION</a>
28 <li><a name="TOC13" href="#SEC13">REFERENCE COUNTS</a>
32 <li><a name="TOC17" href="#SEC17">DUPLICATE SUBPATTERN NAMES</a>
33 <li><a name="TOC18" href="#SEC18">FINDING ALL POSSIBLE MATCHES</a>
35 <li><a name="TOC20" href="#SEC20">SEE ALSO</a>
36 <li><a name="TOC21" href="#SEC21">AUTHOR</a>
37 <li><a name="TOC22" href="#SEC22">REVISION</a>
38 </ul>
39 <br><a name="SEC1" href="#TOC1">PCRE NATIVE API</a><br>
40 <P>
41 <b>#include &#60;pcre.h&#62;</b>
42 </P>
43 <P>
44 <b>pcre *pcre_compile(const char *<i>pattern</i>, int <i>options</i>,</b>
45 <b>const char **<i>errptr</i>, int *<i>erroffset</i>,</b>
46 <b>const unsigned char *<i>tableptr</i>);</b>
47 </P>
48 <P>
49 <b>pcre *pcre_compile2(const char *<i>pattern</i>, int <i>options</i>,</b>
50 <b>int *<i>errorcodeptr</i>,</b>
51 <b>const char **<i>errptr</i>, int *<i>erroffset</i>,</b>
52 <b>const unsigned char *<i>tableptr</i>);</b>
53 </P>
54 <P>
55 <b>pcre_extra *pcre_study(const pcre *<i>code</i>, int <i>options</i>,</b>
56 <b>const char **<i>errptr</i>);</b>
57 </P>
58 <P>
59 <b>int pcre_exec(const pcre *<i>code</i>, const pcre_extra *<i>extra</i>,</b>
60 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int <i>length</i>, int <i>startoffset</i>,</b>
61 <b>int <i>options</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>, int <i>ovecsize</i>);</b>
62 </P>
63 <P>
64 <b>int pcre_dfa_exec(const pcre *<i>code</i>, const pcre_extra *<i>extra</i>,</b>
65 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int <i>length</i>, int <i>startoffset</i>,</b>
66 <b>int <i>options</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>, int <i>ovecsize</i>,</b>
67 <b>int *<i>workspace</i>, int <i>wscount</i>);</b>
68 </P>
69 <P>
70 <b>int pcre_copy_named_substring(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
71 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
72 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, const char *<i>stringname</i>,</b>
73 <b>char *<i>buffer</i>, int <i>buffersize</i>);</b>
74 </P>
75 <P>
76 <b>int pcre_copy_substring(const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
77 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, int <i>stringnumber</i>, char *<i>buffer</i>,</b>
78 <b>int <i>buffersize</i>);</b>
79 </P>
80 <P>
81 <b>int pcre_get_named_substring(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
82 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
83 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, const char *<i>stringname</i>,</b>
84 <b>const char **<i>stringptr</i>);</b>
85 </P>
86 <P>
87 <b>int pcre_get_stringnumber(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
88 <b>const char *<i>name</i>);</b>
89 </P>
90 <P>
91 <b>int pcre_get_stringtable_entries(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
92 <b>const char *<i>name</i>, char **<i>first</i>, char **<i>last</i>);</b>
93 </P>
94 <P>
95 <b>int pcre_get_substring(const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
96 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, int <i>stringnumber</i>,</b>
97 <b>const char **<i>stringptr</i>);</b>
98 </P>
99 <P>
100 <b>int pcre_get_substring_list(const char *<i>subject</i>,</b>
101 <b>int *<i>ovector</i>, int <i>stringcount</i>, const char ***<i>listptr</i>);</b>
102 </P>
103 <P>
104 <b>void pcre_free_substring(const char *<i>stringptr</i>);</b>
105 </P>
106 <P>
107 <b>void pcre_free_substring_list(const char **<i>stringptr</i>);</b>
108 </P>
109 <P>
110 <b>const unsigned char *pcre_maketables(void);</b>
111 </P>
112 <P>
113 <b>int pcre_fullinfo(const pcre *<i>code</i>, const pcre_extra *<i>extra</i>,</b>
114 <b>int <i>what</i>, void *<i>where</i>);</b>
115 </P>
116 <P>
117 <b>int pcre_info(const pcre *<i>code</i>, int *<i>optptr</i>, int</b>
118 <b>*<i>firstcharptr</i>);</b>
119 </P>
120 <P>
121 <b>int pcre_refcount(pcre *<i>code</i>, int <i>adjust</i>);</b>
122 </P>
123 <P>
124 <b>int pcre_config(int <i>what</i>, void *<i>where</i>);</b>
125 </P>
126 <P>
127 <b>char *pcre_version(void);</b>
128 </P>
129 <P>
130 <b>void *(*pcre_malloc)(size_t);</b>
131 </P>
132 <P>
133 <b>void (*pcre_free)(void *);</b>
134 </P>
135 <P>
136 <b>void *(*pcre_stack_malloc)(size_t);</b>
137 </P>
138 <P>
139 <b>void (*pcre_stack_free)(void *);</b>
140 </P>
141 <P>
142 <b>int (*pcre_callout)(pcre_callout_block *);</b>
143 </P>
144 <br><a name="SEC2" href="#TOC1">PCRE API OVERVIEW</a><br>
145 <P>
146 PCRE has its own native API, which is described in this document. There are
147 also some wrapper functions that correspond to the POSIX regular expression
148 API. These are described in the
149 <a href="pcreposix.html"><b>pcreposix</b></a>
150 documentation. Both of these APIs define a set of C function calls. A C++
151 wrapper is distributed with PCRE. It is documented in the
152 <a href="pcrecpp.html"><b>pcrecpp</b></a>
153 page.
154 </P>
155 <P>
156 The native API C function prototypes are defined in the header file
157 <b>pcre.h</b>, and on Unix systems the library itself is called <b>libpcre</b>.
158 It can normally be accessed by adding <b>-lpcre</b> to the command for linking
159 an application that uses PCRE. The header file defines the macros PCRE_MAJOR
160 and PCRE_MINOR to contain the major and minor release numbers for the library.
161 Applications can use these to include support for different releases of PCRE.
162 </P>
163 <P>
164 The functions <b>pcre_compile()</b>, <b>pcre_compile2()</b>, <b>pcre_study()</b>,
165 and <b>pcre_exec()</b> are used for compiling and matching regular expressions
166 in a Perl-compatible manner. A sample program that demonstrates the simplest
167 way of using them is provided in the file called <i>pcredemo.c</i> in the PCRE
168 source distribution. A listing of this program is given in the
169 <a href="pcredemo.html"><b>pcredemo</b></a>
170 documentation, and the
171 <a href="pcresample.html"><b>pcresample</b></a>
172 documentation describes how to compile and run it.
173 </P>
174 <P>
175 A second matching function, <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>, which is not
176 Perl-compatible, is also provided. This uses a different algorithm for the
177 matching. The alternative algorithm finds all possible matches (at a given
178 point in the subject), and scans the subject just once (unless there are
179 lookbehind assertions). However, this algorithm does not return captured
180 substrings. A description of the two matching algorithms and their advantages
181 and disadvantages is given in the
182 <a href="pcrematching.html"><b>pcrematching</b></a>
183 documentation.
184 </P>
185 <P>
186 In addition to the main compiling and matching functions, there are convenience
187 functions for extracting captured substrings from a subject string that is
188 matched by <b>pcre_exec()</b>. They are:
189 <pre>
190 <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b>
191 <b>pcre_copy_named_substring()</b>
192 <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>
193 <b>pcre_get_named_substring()</b>
194 <b>pcre_get_substring_list()</b>
195 <b>pcre_get_stringnumber()</b>
196 <b>pcre_get_stringtable_entries()</b>
197 </pre>
198 <b>pcre_free_substring()</b> and <b>pcre_free_substring_list()</b> are also
199 provided, to free the memory used for extracted strings.
200 </P>
201 <P>
202 The function <b>pcre_maketables()</b> is used to build a set of character tables
203 in the current locale for passing to <b>pcre_compile()</b>, <b>pcre_exec()</b>,
204 or <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>. This is an optional facility that is provided for
205 specialist use. Most commonly, no special tables are passed, in which case
206 internal tables that are generated when PCRE is built are used.
207 </P>
208 <P>
209 The function <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b> is used to find out information about a
210 compiled pattern; <b>pcre_info()</b> is an obsolete version that returns only
211 some of the available information, but is retained for backwards compatibility.
212 The function <b>pcre_version()</b> returns a pointer to a string containing the
213 version of PCRE and its date of release.
214 </P>
215 <P>
216 The function <b>pcre_refcount()</b> maintains a reference count in a data block
217 containing a compiled pattern. This is provided for the benefit of
218 object-oriented applications.
219 </P>
220 <P>
221 The global variables <b>pcre_malloc</b> and <b>pcre_free</b> initially contain
222 the entry points of the standard <b>malloc()</b> and <b>free()</b> functions,
223 respectively. PCRE calls the memory management functions via these variables,
224 so a calling program can replace them if it wishes to intercept the calls. This
225 should be done before calling any PCRE functions.
226 </P>
227 <P>
228 The global variables <b>pcre_stack_malloc</b> and <b>pcre_stack_free</b> are also
229 indirections to memory management functions. These special functions are used
230 only when PCRE is compiled to use the heap for remembering data, instead of
231 recursive function calls, when running the <b>pcre_exec()</b> function. See the
232 <a href="pcrebuild.html"><b>pcrebuild</b></a>
233 documentation for details of how to do this. It is a non-standard way of
234 building PCRE, for use in environments that have limited stacks. Because of the
235 greater use of memory management, it runs more slowly. Separate functions are
236 provided so that special-purpose external code can be used for this case. When
237 used, these functions are always called in a stack-like manner (last obtained,
238 first freed), and always for memory blocks of the same size. There is a
239 discussion about PCRE's stack usage in the
240 <a href="pcrestack.html"><b>pcrestack</b></a>
241 documentation.
242 </P>
243 <P>
244 The global variable <b>pcre_callout</b> initially contains NULL. It can be set
245 by the caller to a "callout" function, which PCRE will then call at specified
246 points during a matching operation. Details are given in the
247 <a href="pcrecallout.html"><b>pcrecallout</b></a>
248 documentation.
249 <a name="newlines"></a></P>
250 <br><a name="SEC3" href="#TOC1">NEWLINES</a><br>
251 <P>
252 PCRE supports five different conventions for indicating line breaks in
253 strings: a single CR (carriage return) character, a single LF (linefeed)
254 character, the two-character sequence CRLF, any of the three preceding, or any
255 Unicode newline sequence. The Unicode newline sequences are the three just
256 mentioned, plus the single characters VT (vertical tab, U+000B), FF (formfeed,
257 U+000C), NEL (next line, U+0085), LS (line separator, U+2028), and PS
258 (paragraph separator, U+2029).
259 </P>
260 <P>
261 Each of the first three conventions is used by at least one operating system as
262 its standard newline sequence. When PCRE is built, a default can be specified.
263 The default default is LF, which is the Unix standard. When PCRE is run, the
264 default can be overridden, either when a pattern is compiled, or when it is
265 matched.
266 </P>
267 <P>
268 At compile time, the newline convention can be specified by the <i>options</i>
269 argument of <b>pcre_compile()</b>, or it can be specified by special text at the
270 start of the pattern itself; this overrides any other settings. See the
271 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
272 page for details of the special character sequences.
273 </P>
274 <P>
275 In the PCRE documentation the word "newline" is used to mean "the character or
276 pair of characters that indicate a line break". The choice of newline
277 convention affects the handling of the dot, circumflex, and dollar
278 metacharacters, the handling of #-comments in /x mode, and, when CRLF is a
279 recognized line ending sequence, the match position advancement for a
280 non-anchored pattern. There is more detail about this in the
281 <a href="#execoptions">section on <b>pcre_exec()</b> options</a>
282 below.
283 </P>
284 <P>
285 The choice of newline convention does not affect the interpretation of
286 the \n or \r escape sequences, nor does it affect what \R matches, which is
287 controlled in a similar way, but by separate options.
288 </P>
289 <br><a name="SEC4" href="#TOC1">MULTITHREADING</a><br>
290 <P>
291 The PCRE functions can be used in multi-threading applications, with the
292 proviso that the memory management functions pointed to by <b>pcre_malloc</b>,
293 <b>pcre_free</b>, <b>pcre_stack_malloc</b>, and <b>pcre_stack_free</b>, and the
294 callout function pointed to by <b>pcre_callout</b>, are shared by all threads.
295 </P>
296 <P>
297 The compiled form of a regular expression is not altered during matching, so
298 the same compiled pattern can safely be used by several threads at once.
299 </P>
300 <br><a name="SEC5" href="#TOC1">SAVING PRECOMPILED PATTERNS FOR LATER USE</a><br>
301 <P>
302 The compiled form of a regular expression can be saved and re-used at a later
303 time, possibly by a different program, and even on a host other than the one on
304 which it was compiled. Details are given in the
305 <a href="pcreprecompile.html"><b>pcreprecompile</b></a>
306 documentation. However, compiling a regular expression with one version of PCRE
307 for use with a different version is not guaranteed to work and may cause
308 crashes.
309 </P>
310 <br><a name="SEC6" href="#TOC1">CHECKING BUILD-TIME OPTIONS</a><br>
311 <P>
312 <b>int pcre_config(int <i>what</i>, void *<i>where</i>);</b>
313 </P>
314 <P>
315 The function <b>pcre_config()</b> makes it possible for a PCRE client to
316 discover which optional features have been compiled into the PCRE library. The
317 <a href="pcrebuild.html"><b>pcrebuild</b></a>
318 documentation has more details about these optional features.
319 </P>
320 <P>
321 The first argument for <b>pcre_config()</b> is an integer, specifying which
322 information is required; the second argument is a pointer to a variable into
323 which the information is placed. The following information is available:
324 <pre>
326 </pre>
327 The output is an integer that is set to one if UTF-8 support is available;
328 otherwise it is set to zero.
329 <pre>
331 </pre>
332 The output is an integer that is set to one if support for Unicode character
333 properties is available; otherwise it is set to zero.
334 <pre>
336 </pre>
337 The output is an integer whose value specifies the default character sequence
338 that is recognized as meaning "newline". The four values that are supported
339 are: 10 for LF, 13 for CR, 3338 for CRLF, -2 for ANYCRLF, and -1 for ANY.
340 Though they are derived from ASCII, the same values are returned in EBCDIC
341 environments. The default should normally correspond to the standard sequence
342 for your operating system.
343 <pre>
345 </pre>
346 The output is an integer whose value indicates what character sequences the \R
347 escape sequence matches by default. A value of 0 means that \R matches any
348 Unicode line ending sequence; a value of 1 means that \R matches only CR, LF,
349 or CRLF. The default can be overridden when a pattern is compiled or matched.
350 <pre>
352 </pre>
353 The output is an integer that contains the number of bytes used for internal
354 linkage in compiled regular expressions. The value is 2, 3, or 4. Larger values
355 allow larger regular expressions to be compiled, at the expense of slower
356 matching. The default value of 2 is sufficient for all but the most massive
357 patterns, since it allows the compiled pattern to be up to 64K in size.
358 <pre>
360 </pre>
361 The output is an integer that contains the threshold above which the POSIX
362 interface uses <b>malloc()</b> for output vectors. Further details are given in
363 the
364 <a href="pcreposix.html"><b>pcreposix</b></a>
365 documentation.
366 <pre>
368 </pre>
369 The output is a long integer that gives the default limit for the number of
370 internal matching function calls in a <b>pcre_exec()</b> execution. Further
371 details are given with <b>pcre_exec()</b> below.
372 <pre>
374 </pre>
375 The output is a long integer that gives the default limit for the depth of
376 recursion when calling the internal matching function in a <b>pcre_exec()</b>
377 execution. Further details are given with <b>pcre_exec()</b> below.
378 <pre>
380 </pre>
381 The output is an integer that is set to one if internal recursion when running
382 <b>pcre_exec()</b> is implemented by recursive function calls that use the stack
383 to remember their state. This is the usual way that PCRE is compiled. The
384 output is zero if PCRE was compiled to use blocks of data on the heap instead
385 of recursive function calls. In this case, <b>pcre_stack_malloc</b> and
386 <b>pcre_stack_free</b> are called to manage memory blocks on the heap, thus
387 avoiding the use of the stack.
388 </P>
389 <br><a name="SEC7" href="#TOC1">COMPILING A PATTERN</a><br>
390 <P>
391 <b>pcre *pcre_compile(const char *<i>pattern</i>, int <i>options</i>,</b>
392 <b>const char **<i>errptr</i>, int *<i>erroffset</i>,</b>
393 <b>const unsigned char *<i>tableptr</i>);</b>
394 <b>pcre *pcre_compile2(const char *<i>pattern</i>, int <i>options</i>,</b>
395 <b>int *<i>errorcodeptr</i>,</b>
396 <b>const char **<i>errptr</i>, int *<i>erroffset</i>,</b>
397 <b>const unsigned char *<i>tableptr</i>);</b>
398 </P>
399 <P>
400 Either of the functions <b>pcre_compile()</b> or <b>pcre_compile2()</b> can be
401 called to compile a pattern into an internal form. The only difference between
402 the two interfaces is that <b>pcre_compile2()</b> has an additional argument,
403 <i>errorcodeptr</i>, via which a numerical error code can be returned. To avoid
404 too much repetition, we refer just to <b>pcre_compile()</b> below, but the
405 information applies equally to <b>pcre_compile2()</b>.
406 </P>
407 <P>
408 The pattern is a C string terminated by a binary zero, and is passed in the
409 <i>pattern</i> argument. A pointer to a single block of memory that is obtained
410 via <b>pcre_malloc</b> is returned. This contains the compiled code and related
411 data. The <b>pcre</b> type is defined for the returned block; this is a typedef
412 for a structure whose contents are not externally defined. It is up to the
413 caller to free the memory (via <b>pcre_free</b>) when it is no longer required.
414 </P>
415 <P>
416 Although the compiled code of a PCRE regex is relocatable, that is, it does not
417 depend on memory location, the complete <b>pcre</b> data block is not
418 fully relocatable, because it may contain a copy of the <i>tableptr</i>
419 argument, which is an address (see below).
420 </P>
421 <P>
422 The <i>options</i> argument contains various bit settings that affect the
423 compilation. It should be zero if no options are required. The available
424 options are described below. Some of them (in particular, those that are
425 compatible with Perl, but some others as well) can also be set and unset from
426 within the pattern (see the detailed description in the
427 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
428 documentation). For those options that can be different in different parts of
429 the pattern, the contents of the <i>options</i> argument specifies their
430 settings at the start of compilation and execution. The PCRE_ANCHORED,
431 PCRE_BSR_<i>xxx</i>, and PCRE_NEWLINE_<i>xxx</i> options can be set at the time
432 of matching as well as at compile time.
433 </P>
434 <P>
435 If <i>errptr</i> is NULL, <b>pcre_compile()</b> returns NULL immediately.
436 Otherwise, if compilation of a pattern fails, <b>pcre_compile()</b> returns
437 NULL, and sets the variable pointed to by <i>errptr</i> to point to a textual
438 error message. This is a static string that is part of the library. You must
439 not try to free it. The byte offset from the start of the pattern to the
440 character that was being processed when the error was discovered is placed in
441 the variable pointed to by <i>erroffset</i>, which must not be NULL. If it is,
442 an immediate error is given. Some errors are not detected until checks are
443 carried out when the whole pattern has been scanned; in this case the offset is
444 set to the end of the pattern.
445 </P>
446 <P>
447 If <b>pcre_compile2()</b> is used instead of <b>pcre_compile()</b>, and the
448 <i>errorcodeptr</i> argument is not NULL, a non-zero error code number is
449 returned via this argument in the event of an error. This is in addition to the
450 textual error message. Error codes and messages are listed below.
451 </P>
452 <P>
453 If the final argument, <i>tableptr</i>, is NULL, PCRE uses a default set of
454 character tables that are built when PCRE is compiled, using the default C
455 locale. Otherwise, <i>tableptr</i> must be an address that is the result of a
456 call to <b>pcre_maketables()</b>. This value is stored with the compiled
457 pattern, and used again by <b>pcre_exec()</b>, unless another table pointer is
458 passed to it. For more discussion, see the section on locale support below.
459 </P>
460 <P>
461 This code fragment shows a typical straightforward call to <b>pcre_compile()</b>:
462 <pre>
463 pcre *re;
464 const char *error;
465 int erroffset;
466 re = pcre_compile(
467 "^A.*Z", /* the pattern */
468 0, /* default options */
469 &error, /* for error message */
470 &erroffset, /* for error offset */
471 NULL); /* use default character tables */
472 </pre>
473 The following names for option bits are defined in the <b>pcre.h</b> header
474 file:
475 <pre>
477 </pre>
478 If this bit is set, the pattern is forced to be "anchored", that is, it is
479 constrained to match only at the first matching point in the string that is
480 being searched (the "subject string"). This effect can also be achieved by
481 appropriate constructs in the pattern itself, which is the only way to do it in
482 Perl.
483 <pre>
485 </pre>
486 If this bit is set, <b>pcre_compile()</b> automatically inserts callout items,
487 all with number 255, before each pattern item. For discussion of the callout
488 facility, see the
489 <a href="pcrecallout.html"><b>pcrecallout</b></a>
490 documentation.
491 <pre>
494 </pre>
495 These options (which are mutually exclusive) control what the \R escape
496 sequence matches. The choice is either to match only CR, LF, or CRLF, or to
497 match any Unicode newline sequence. The default is specified when PCRE is
498 built. It can be overridden from within the pattern, or by setting an option
499 when a compiled pattern is matched.
500 <pre>
502 </pre>
503 If this bit is set, letters in the pattern match both upper and lower case
504 letters. It is equivalent to Perl's /i option, and it can be changed within a
505 pattern by a (?i) option setting. In UTF-8 mode, PCRE always understands the
506 concept of case for characters whose values are less than 128, so caseless
507 matching is always possible. For characters with higher values, the concept of
508 case is supported if PCRE is compiled with Unicode property support, but not
509 otherwise. If you want to use caseless matching for characters 128 and above,
510 you must ensure that PCRE is compiled with Unicode property support as well as
511 with UTF-8 support.
512 <pre>
514 </pre>
515 If this bit is set, a dollar metacharacter in the pattern matches only at the
516 end of the subject string. Without this option, a dollar also matches
517 immediately before a newline at the end of the string (but not before any other
518 newlines). The PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY option is ignored if PCRE_MULTILINE is set.
519 There is no equivalent to this option in Perl, and no way to set it within a
520 pattern.
521 <pre>
523 </pre>
524 If this bit is set, a dot metacharater in the pattern matches all characters,
525 including those that indicate newline. Without it, a dot does not match when
526 the current position is at a newline. This option is equivalent to Perl's /s
527 option, and it can be changed within a pattern by a (?s) option setting. A
528 negative class such as [^a] always matches newline characters, independent of
529 the setting of this option.
530 <pre>
532 </pre>
533 If this bit is set, names used to identify capturing subpatterns need not be
534 unique. This can be helpful for certain types of pattern when it is known that
535 only one instance of the named subpattern can ever be matched. There are more
536 details of named subpatterns below; see also the
537 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
538 documentation.
539 <pre>
541 </pre>
542 If this bit is set, whitespace data characters in the pattern are totally
543 ignored except when escaped or inside a character class. Whitespace does not
544 include the VT character (code 11). In addition, characters between an
545 unescaped # outside a character class and the next newline, inclusive, are also
546 ignored. This is equivalent to Perl's /x option, and it can be changed within a
547 pattern by a (?x) option setting.
548 </P>
549 <P>
550 This option makes it possible to include comments inside complicated patterns.
551 Note, however, that this applies only to data characters. Whitespace characters
552 may never appear within special character sequences in a pattern, for example
553 within the sequence (?( which introduces a conditional subpattern.
554 <pre>
556 </pre>
557 This option was invented in order to turn on additional functionality of PCRE
558 that is incompatible with Perl, but it is currently of very little use. When
559 set, any backslash in a pattern that is followed by a letter that has no
560 special meaning causes an error, thus reserving these combinations for future
561 expansion. By default, as in Perl, a backslash followed by a letter with no
562 special meaning is treated as a literal. (Perl can, however, be persuaded to
563 give an error for this, by running it with the -w option.) There are at present
564 no other features controlled by this option. It can also be set by a (?X)
565 option setting within a pattern.
566 <pre>
568 </pre>
569 If this option is set, an unanchored pattern is required to match before or at
570 the first newline in the subject string, though the matched text may continue
571 over the newline.
572 <pre>
574 </pre>
575 If this option is set, PCRE's behaviour is changed in some ways so that it is
576 compatible with JavaScript rather than Perl. The changes are as follows:
577 </P>
578 <P>
579 (1) A lone closing square bracket in a pattern causes a compile-time error,
580 because this is illegal in JavaScript (by default it is treated as a data
581 character). Thus, the pattern AB]CD becomes illegal when this option is set.
582 </P>
583 <P>
584 (2) At run time, a back reference to an unset subpattern group matches an empty
585 string (by default this causes the current matching alternative to fail). A
586 pattern such as (\1)(a) succeeds when this option is set (assuming it can find
587 an "a" in the subject), whereas it fails by default, for Perl compatibility.
588 <pre>
590 </pre>
591 By default, PCRE treats the subject string as consisting of a single line of
592 characters (even if it actually contains newlines). The "start of line"
593 metacharacter (^) matches only at the start of the string, while the "end of
594 line" metacharacter ($) matches only at the end of the string, or before a
595 terminating newline (unless PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY is set). This is the same as
596 Perl.
597 </P>
598 <P>
599 When PCRE_MULTILINE it is set, the "start of line" and "end of line" constructs
600 match immediately following or immediately before internal newlines in the
601 subject string, respectively, as well as at the very start and end. This is
602 equivalent to Perl's /m option, and it can be changed within a pattern by a
603 (?m) option setting. If there are no newlines in a subject string, or no
604 occurrences of ^ or $ in a pattern, setting PCRE_MULTILINE has no effect.
605 <pre>
611 </pre>
612 These options override the default newline definition that was chosen when PCRE
613 was built. Setting the first or the second specifies that a newline is
614 indicated by a single character (CR or LF, respectively). Setting
615 PCRE_NEWLINE_CRLF specifies that a newline is indicated by the two-character
616 CRLF sequence. Setting PCRE_NEWLINE_ANYCRLF specifies that any of the three
617 preceding sequences should be recognized. Setting PCRE_NEWLINE_ANY specifies
618 that any Unicode newline sequence should be recognized. The Unicode newline
619 sequences are the three just mentioned, plus the single characters VT (vertical
620 tab, U+000B), FF (formfeed, U+000C), NEL (next line, U+0085), LS (line
621 separator, U+2028), and PS (paragraph separator, U+2029). The last two are
622 recognized only in UTF-8 mode.
623 </P>
624 <P>
625 The newline setting in the options word uses three bits that are treated
626 as a number, giving eight possibilities. Currently only six are used (default
627 plus the five values above). This means that if you set more than one newline
628 option, the combination may or may not be sensible. For example,
630 other combinations may yield unused numbers and cause an error.
631 </P>
632 <P>
633 The only time that a line break is specially recognized when compiling a
634 pattern is if PCRE_EXTENDED is set, and an unescaped # outside a character
635 class is encountered. This indicates a comment that lasts until after the next
636 line break sequence. In other circumstances, line break sequences are treated
637 as literal data, except that in PCRE_EXTENDED mode, both CR and LF are treated
638 as whitespace characters and are therefore ignored.
639 </P>
640 <P>
641 The newline option that is set at compile time becomes the default that is used
642 for <b>pcre_exec()</b> and <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>, but it can be overridden.
643 <pre>
645 </pre>
646 If this option is set, it disables the use of numbered capturing parentheses in
647 the pattern. Any opening parenthesis that is not followed by ? behaves as if it
648 were followed by ?: but named parentheses can still be used for capturing (and
649 they acquire numbers in the usual way). There is no equivalent of this option
650 in Perl.
651 <pre>
653 </pre>
654 This option inverts the "greediness" of the quantifiers so that they are not
655 greedy by default, but become greedy if followed by "?". It is not compatible
656 with Perl. It can also be set by a (?U) option setting within the pattern.
657 <pre>
659 </pre>
660 This option causes PCRE to regard both the pattern and the subject as strings
661 of UTF-8 characters instead of single-byte character strings. However, it is
662 available only when PCRE is built to include UTF-8 support. If not, the use
663 of this option provokes an error. Details of how this option changes the
664 behaviour of PCRE are given in the
665 <a href="pcre.html#utf8support">section on UTF-8 support</a>
666 in the main
667 <a href="pcre.html"><b>pcre</b></a>
668 page.
669 <pre>
671 </pre>
672 When PCRE_UTF8 is set, the validity of the pattern as a UTF-8 string is
673 automatically checked. There is a discussion about the
674 <a href="pcre.html#utf8strings">validity of UTF-8 strings</a>
675 in the main
676 <a href="pcre.html"><b>pcre</b></a>
677 page. If an invalid UTF-8 sequence of bytes is found, <b>pcre_compile()</b>
678 returns an error. If you already know that your pattern is valid, and you want
679 to skip this check for performance reasons, you can set the PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK
680 option. When it is set, the effect of passing an invalid UTF-8 string as a
681 pattern is undefined. It may cause your program to crash. Note that this option
682 can also be passed to <b>pcre_exec()</b> and <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>, to suppress
683 the UTF-8 validity checking of subject strings.
684 </P>
685 <br><a name="SEC8" href="#TOC1">COMPILATION ERROR CODES</a><br>
686 <P>
687 The following table lists the error codes than may be returned by
688 <b>pcre_compile2()</b>, along with the error messages that may be returned by
689 both compiling functions. As PCRE has developed, some error codes have fallen
690 out of use. To avoid confusion, they have not been re-used.
691 <pre>
692 0 no error
693 1 \ at end of pattern
694 2 \c at end of pattern
695 3 unrecognized character follows \
696 4 numbers out of order in {} quantifier
697 5 number too big in {} quantifier
698 6 missing terminating ] for character class
699 7 invalid escape sequence in character class
700 8 range out of order in character class
701 9 nothing to repeat
702 10 [this code is not in use]
703 11 internal error: unexpected repeat
704 12 unrecognized character after (? or (?-
705 13 POSIX named classes are supported only within a class
706 14 missing )
707 15 reference to non-existent subpattern
708 16 erroffset passed as NULL
709 17 unknown option bit(s) set
710 18 missing ) after comment
711 19 [this code is not in use]
712 20 regular expression is too large
713 21 failed to get memory
714 22 unmatched parentheses
715 23 internal error: code overflow
716 24 unrecognized character after (?&#60;
717 25 lookbehind assertion is not fixed length
718 26 malformed number or name after (?(
719 27 conditional group contains more than two branches
720 28 assertion expected after (?(
721 29 (?R or (?[+-]digits must be followed by )
722 30 unknown POSIX class name
723 31 POSIX collating elements are not supported
724 32 this version of PCRE is not compiled with PCRE_UTF8 support
725 33 [this code is not in use]
726 34 character value in \x{...} sequence is too large
727 35 invalid condition (?(0)
728 36 \C not allowed in lookbehind assertion
729 37 PCRE does not support \L, \l, \N, \U, or \u
730 38 number after (?C is &#62; 255
731 39 closing ) for (?C expected
732 40 recursive call could loop indefinitely
733 41 unrecognized character after (?P
734 42 syntax error in subpattern name (missing terminator)
735 43 two named subpatterns have the same name
736 44 invalid UTF-8 string
737 45 support for \P, \p, and \X has not been compiled
738 46 malformed \P or \p sequence
739 47 unknown property name after \P or \p
740 48 subpattern name is too long (maximum 32 characters)
741 49 too many named subpatterns (maximum 10000)
742 50 [this code is not in use]
743 51 octal value is greater than \377 (not in UTF-8 mode)
744 52 internal error: overran compiling workspace
745 53 internal error: previously-checked referenced subpattern not found
746 54 DEFINE group contains more than one branch
747 55 repeating a DEFINE group is not allowed
748 56 inconsistent NEWLINE options
749 57 \g is not followed by a braced, angle-bracketed, or quoted
750 name/number or by a plain number
751 58 a numbered reference must not be zero
752 59 an argument is not allowed for (*ACCEPT), (*FAIL), or (*COMMIT)
753 60 (*VERB) not recognized
754 61 number is too big
755 62 subpattern name expected
756 63 digit expected after (?+
757 64 ] is an invalid data character in JavaScript compatibility mode
758 65 different names for subpatterns of the same number are not allowed
759 66 (*MARK) must have an argument
760 </pre>
761 The numbers 32 and 10000 in errors 48 and 49 are defaults; different values may
762 be used if the limits were changed when PCRE was built.
763 </P>
764 <br><a name="SEC9" href="#TOC1">STUDYING A PATTERN</a><br>
765 <P>
766 <b>pcre_extra *pcre_study(const pcre *<i>code</i>, int <i>options</i></b>
767 <b>const char **<i>errptr</i>);</b>
768 </P>
769 <P>
770 If a compiled pattern is going to be used several times, it is worth spending
771 more time analyzing it in order to speed up the time taken for matching. The
772 function <b>pcre_study()</b> takes a pointer to a compiled pattern as its first
773 argument. If studying the pattern produces additional information that will
774 help speed up matching, <b>pcre_study()</b> returns a pointer to a
775 <b>pcre_extra</b> block, in which the <i>study_data</i> field points to the
776 results of the study.
777 </P>
778 <P>
779 The returned value from <b>pcre_study()</b> can be passed directly to
780 <b>pcre_exec()</b> or <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>. However, a <b>pcre_extra</b> block
781 also contains other fields that can be set by the caller before the block is
782 passed; these are described
783 <a href="#extradata">below</a>
784 in the section on matching a pattern.
785 </P>
786 <P>
787 If studying the pattern does not produce any useful information,
788 <b>pcre_study()</b> returns NULL. In that circumstance, if the calling program
789 wants to pass any of the other fields to <b>pcre_exec()</b> or
790 <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>, it must set up its own <b>pcre_extra</b> block.
791 </P>
792 <P>
793 The second argument of <b>pcre_study()</b> contains option bits. At present, no
794 options are defined, and this argument should always be zero.
795 </P>
796 <P>
797 The third argument for <b>pcre_study()</b> is a pointer for an error message. If
798 studying succeeds (even if no data is returned), the variable it points to is
799 set to NULL. Otherwise it is set to point to a textual error message. This is a
800 static string that is part of the library. You must not try to free it. You
801 should test the error pointer for NULL after calling <b>pcre_study()</b>, to be
802 sure that it has run successfully.
803 </P>
804 <P>
805 This is a typical call to <b>pcre_study</b>():
806 <pre>
807 pcre_extra *pe;
808 pe = pcre_study(
809 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
810 0, /* no options exist */
811 &error); /* set to NULL or points to a message */
812 </pre>
813 Studying a pattern does two things: first, a lower bound for the length of
814 subject string that is needed to match the pattern is computed. This does not
815 mean that there are any strings of that length that match, but it does
816 guarantee that no shorter strings match. The value is used by
817 <b>pcre_exec()</b> and <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> to avoid wasting time by trying to
818 match strings that are shorter than the lower bound. You can find out the value
819 in a calling program via the <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b> function.
820 </P>
821 <P>
822 Studying a pattern is also useful for non-anchored patterns that do not have a
823 single fixed starting character. A bitmap of possible starting bytes is
824 created. This speeds up finding a position in the subject at which to start
825 matching.
826 <a name="localesupport"></a></P>
827 <br><a name="SEC10" href="#TOC1">LOCALE SUPPORT</a><br>
828 <P>
829 PCRE handles caseless matching, and determines whether characters are letters,
830 digits, or whatever, by reference to a set of tables, indexed by character
831 value. When running in UTF-8 mode, this applies only to characters with codes
832 less than 128. Higher-valued codes never match escapes such as \w or \d, but
833 can be tested with \p if PCRE is built with Unicode character property
834 support. The use of locales with Unicode is discouraged. If you are handling
835 characters with codes greater than 128, you should either use UTF-8 and
836 Unicode, or use locales, but not try to mix the two.
837 </P>
838 <P>
839 PCRE contains an internal set of tables that are used when the final argument
840 of <b>pcre_compile()</b> is NULL. These are sufficient for many applications.
841 Normally, the internal tables recognize only ASCII characters. However, when
842 PCRE is built, it is possible to cause the internal tables to be rebuilt in the
843 default "C" locale of the local system, which may cause them to be different.
844 </P>
845 <P>
846 The internal tables can always be overridden by tables supplied by the
847 application that calls PCRE. These may be created in a different locale from
848 the default. As more and more applications change to using Unicode, the need
849 for this locale support is expected to die away.
850 </P>
851 <P>
852 External tables are built by calling the <b>pcre_maketables()</b> function,
853 which has no arguments, in the relevant locale. The result can then be passed
854 to <b>pcre_compile()</b> or <b>pcre_exec()</b> as often as necessary. For
855 example, to build and use tables that are appropriate for the French locale
856 (where accented characters with values greater than 128 are treated as letters),
857 the following code could be used:
858 <pre>
859 setlocale(LC_CTYPE, "fr_FR");
860 tables = pcre_maketables();
861 re = pcre_compile(..., tables);
862 </pre>
863 The locale name "fr_FR" is used on Linux and other Unix-like systems; if you
864 are using Windows, the name for the French locale is "french".
865 </P>
866 <P>
867 When <b>pcre_maketables()</b> runs, the tables are built in memory that is
868 obtained via <b>pcre_malloc</b>. It is the caller's responsibility to ensure
869 that the memory containing the tables remains available for as long as it is
870 needed.
871 </P>
872 <P>
873 The pointer that is passed to <b>pcre_compile()</b> is saved with the compiled
874 pattern, and the same tables are used via this pointer by <b>pcre_study()</b>
875 and normally also by <b>pcre_exec()</b>. Thus, by default, for any single
876 pattern, compilation, studying and matching all happen in the same locale, but
877 different patterns can be compiled in different locales.
878 </P>
879 <P>
880 It is possible to pass a table pointer or NULL (indicating the use of the
881 internal tables) to <b>pcre_exec()</b>. Although not intended for this purpose,
882 this facility could be used to match a pattern in a different locale from the
883 one in which it was compiled. Passing table pointers at run time is discussed
884 below in the section on matching a pattern.
885 </P>
886 <br><a name="SEC11" href="#TOC1">INFORMATION ABOUT A PATTERN</a><br>
887 <P>
888 <b>int pcre_fullinfo(const pcre *<i>code</i>, const pcre_extra *<i>extra</i>,</b>
889 <b>int <i>what</i>, void *<i>where</i>);</b>
890 </P>
891 <P>
892 The <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b> function returns information about a compiled
893 pattern. It replaces the obsolete <b>pcre_info()</b> function, which is
894 nevertheless retained for backwards compability (and is documented below).
895 </P>
896 <P>
897 The first argument for <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b> is a pointer to the compiled
898 pattern. The second argument is the result of <b>pcre_study()</b>, or NULL if
899 the pattern was not studied. The third argument specifies which piece of
900 information is required, and the fourth argument is a pointer to a variable
901 to receive the data. The yield of the function is zero for success, or one of
902 the following negative numbers:
903 <pre>
904 PCRE_ERROR_NULL the argument <i>code</i> was NULL
905 the argument <i>where</i> was NULL
906 PCRE_ERROR_BADMAGIC the "magic number" was not found
907 PCRE_ERROR_BADOPTION the value of <i>what</i> was invalid
908 </pre>
909 The "magic number" is placed at the start of each compiled pattern as an simple
910 check against passing an arbitrary memory pointer. Here is a typical call of
911 <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b>, to obtain the length of the compiled pattern:
912 <pre>
913 int rc;
914 size_t length;
915 rc = pcre_fullinfo(
916 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
917 pe, /* result of pcre_study(), or NULL */
918 PCRE_INFO_SIZE, /* what is required */
919 &length); /* where to put the data */
920 </pre>
921 The possible values for the third argument are defined in <b>pcre.h</b>, and are
922 as follows:
923 <pre>
925 </pre>
926 Return the number of the highest back reference in the pattern. The fourth
927 argument should point to an <b>int</b> variable. Zero is returned if there are
928 no back references.
929 <pre>
931 </pre>
932 Return the number of capturing subpatterns in the pattern. The fourth argument
933 should point to an <b>int</b> variable.
934 <pre>
936 </pre>
937 Return a pointer to the internal default character tables within PCRE. The
938 fourth argument should point to an <b>unsigned char *</b> variable. This
939 information call is provided for internal use by the <b>pcre_study()</b>
940 function. External callers can cause PCRE to use its internal tables by passing
941 a NULL table pointer.
942 <pre>
944 </pre>
945 Return information about the first byte of any matched string, for a
946 non-anchored pattern. The fourth argument should point to an <b>int</b>
947 variable. (This option used to be called PCRE_INFO_FIRSTCHAR; the old name is
948 still recognized for backwards compatibility.)
949 </P>
950 <P>
951 If there is a fixed first byte, for example, from a pattern such as
952 (cat|cow|coyote), its value is returned. Otherwise, if either
953 <br>
954 <br>
955 (a) the pattern was compiled with the PCRE_MULTILINE option, and every branch
956 starts with "^", or
957 <br>
958 <br>
959 (b) every branch of the pattern starts with ".*" and PCRE_DOTALL is not set
960 (if it were set, the pattern would be anchored),
961 <br>
962 <br>
963 -1 is returned, indicating that the pattern matches only at the start of a
964 subject string or after any newline within the string. Otherwise -2 is
965 returned. For anchored patterns, -2 is returned.
966 <pre>
968 </pre>
969 If the pattern was studied, and this resulted in the construction of a 256-bit
970 table indicating a fixed set of bytes for the first byte in any matching
971 string, a pointer to the table is returned. Otherwise NULL is returned. The
972 fourth argument should point to an <b>unsigned char *</b> variable.
973 <pre>
975 </pre>
976 Return 1 if the pattern contains any explicit matches for CR or LF characters,
977 otherwise 0. The fourth argument should point to an <b>int</b> variable. An
978 explicit match is either a literal CR or LF character, or \r or \n.
979 <pre>
981 </pre>
982 Return 1 if the (?J) or (?-J) option setting is used in the pattern, otherwise
983 0. The fourth argument should point to an <b>int</b> variable. (?J) and
984 (?-J) set and unset the local PCRE_DUPNAMES option, respectively.
985 <pre>
987 </pre>
988 Return the value of the rightmost literal byte that must exist in any matched
989 string, other than at its start, if such a byte has been recorded. The fourth
990 argument should point to an <b>int</b> variable. If there is no such byte, -1 is
991 returned. For anchored patterns, a last literal byte is recorded only if it
992 follows something of variable length. For example, for the pattern
993 /^a\d+z\d+/ the returned value is "z", but for /^a\dz\d/ the returned value
994 is -1.
995 <pre>
997 </pre>
998 If the pattern was studied and a minimum length for matching subject strings
999 was computed, its value is returned. Otherwise the returned value is -1. The
1000 value is a number of characters, not bytes (this may be relevant in UTF-8
1001 mode). The fourth argument should point to an <b>int</b> variable. A
1002 non-negative value is a lower bound to the length of any matching string. There
1003 may not be any strings of that length that do actually match, but every string
1004 that does match is at least that long.
1005 <pre>
1009 </pre>
1010 PCRE supports the use of named as well as numbered capturing parentheses. The
1011 names are just an additional way of identifying the parentheses, which still
1012 acquire numbers. Several convenience functions such as
1013 <b>pcre_get_named_substring()</b> are provided for extracting captured
1014 substrings by name. It is also possible to extract the data directly, by first
1015 converting the name to a number in order to access the correct pointers in the
1016 output vector (described with <b>pcre_exec()</b> below). To do the conversion,
1017 you need to use the name-to-number map, which is described by these three
1018 values.
1019 </P>
1020 <P>
1021 The map consists of a number of fixed-size entries. PCRE_INFO_NAMECOUNT gives
1022 the number of entries, and PCRE_INFO_NAMEENTRYSIZE gives the size of each
1023 entry; both of these return an <b>int</b> value. The entry size depends on the
1024 length of the longest name. PCRE_INFO_NAMETABLE returns a pointer to the first
1025 entry of the table (a pointer to <b>char</b>). The first two bytes of each entry
1026 are the number of the capturing parenthesis, most significant byte first. The
1027 rest of the entry is the corresponding name, zero terminated.
1028 </P>
1029 <P>
1030 The names are in alphabetical order. Duplicate names may appear if (?| is used
1031 to create multiple groups with the same number, as described in the
1032 <a href="pcrepattern.html#dupsubpatternnumber">section on duplicate subpattern numbers</a>
1033 in the
1034 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
1035 page. Duplicate names for subpatterns with different numbers are permitted only
1036 if PCRE_DUPNAMES is set. In all cases of duplicate names, they appear in the
1037 table in the order in which they were found in the pattern. In the absence of
1038 (?| this is the order of increasing number; when (?| is used this is not
1039 necessarily the case because later subpatterns may have lower numbers.
1040 </P>
1041 <P>
1042 As a simple example of the name/number table, consider the following pattern
1043 (assume PCRE_EXTENDED is set, so white space - including newlines - is
1044 ignored):
1045 <pre>
1046 (?&#60;date&#62; (?&#60;year&#62;(\d\d)?\d\d) - (?&#60;month&#62;\d\d) - (?&#60;day&#62;\d\d) )
1047 </pre>
1048 There are four named subpatterns, so the table has four entries, and each entry
1049 in the table is eight bytes long. The table is as follows, with non-printing
1050 bytes shows in hexadecimal, and undefined bytes shown as ??:
1051 <pre>
1052 00 01 d a t e 00 ??
1053 00 05 d a y 00 ?? ??
1054 00 04 m o n t h 00
1055 00 02 y e a r 00 ??
1056 </pre>
1057 When writing code to extract data from named subpatterns using the
1058 name-to-number map, remember that the length of the entries is likely to be
1059 different for each compiled pattern.
1060 <pre>
1062 </pre>
1063 Return 1 if the pattern can be used for partial matching with
1064 <b>pcre_exec()</b>, otherwise 0. The fourth argument should point to an
1065 <b>int</b> variable. From release 8.00, this always returns 1, because the
1066 restrictions that previously applied to partial matching have been lifted. The
1067 <a href="pcrepartial.html"><b>pcrepartial</b></a>
1068 documentation gives details of partial matching.
1069 <pre>
1071 </pre>
1072 Return a copy of the options with which the pattern was compiled. The fourth
1073 argument should point to an <b>unsigned long int</b> variable. These option bits
1074 are those specified in the call to <b>pcre_compile()</b>, modified by any
1075 top-level option settings at the start of the pattern itself. In other words,
1076 they are the options that will be in force when matching starts. For example,
1077 if the pattern /(?im)abc(?-i)d/ is compiled with the PCRE_EXTENDED option, the
1079 </P>
1080 <P>
1081 A pattern is automatically anchored by PCRE if all of its top-level
1082 alternatives begin with one of the following:
1083 <pre>
1084 ^ unless PCRE_MULTILINE is set
1085 \A always
1086 \G always
1087 .* if PCRE_DOTALL is set and there are no back references to the subpattern in which .* appears
1088 </pre>
1089 For such patterns, the PCRE_ANCHORED bit is set in the options returned by
1090 <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b>.
1091 <pre>
1093 </pre>
1094 Return the size of the compiled pattern, that is, the value that was passed as
1095 the argument to <b>pcre_malloc()</b> when PCRE was getting memory in which to
1096 place the compiled data. The fourth argument should point to a <b>size_t</b>
1097 variable.
1098 <pre>
1100 </pre>
1101 Return the size of the data block pointed to by the <i>study_data</i> field in
1102 a <b>pcre_extra</b> block. That is, it is the value that was passed to
1103 <b>pcre_malloc()</b> when PCRE was getting memory into which to place the data
1104 created by <b>pcre_study()</b>. If <b>pcre_extra</b> is NULL, or there is no
1105 study data, zero is returned. The fourth argument should point to a
1106 <b>size_t</b> variable.
1107 </P>
1108 <br><a name="SEC12" href="#TOC1">OBSOLETE INFO FUNCTION</a><br>
1109 <P>
1110 <b>int pcre_info(const pcre *<i>code</i>, int *<i>optptr</i>, int</b>
1111 <b>*<i>firstcharptr</i>);</b>
1112 </P>
1113 <P>
1114 The <b>pcre_info()</b> function is now obsolete because its interface is too
1115 restrictive to return all the available data about a compiled pattern. New
1116 programs should use <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b> instead. The yield of
1117 <b>pcre_info()</b> is the number of capturing subpatterns, or one of the
1118 following negative numbers:
1119 <pre>
1120 PCRE_ERROR_NULL the argument <i>code</i> was NULL
1121 PCRE_ERROR_BADMAGIC the "magic number" was not found
1122 </pre>
1123 If the <i>optptr</i> argument is not NULL, a copy of the options with which the
1124 pattern was compiled is placed in the integer it points to (see
1125 PCRE_INFO_OPTIONS above).
1126 </P>
1127 <P>
1128 If the pattern is not anchored and the <i>firstcharptr</i> argument is not NULL,
1129 it is used to pass back information about the first character of any matched
1130 string (see PCRE_INFO_FIRSTBYTE above).
1131 </P>
1132 <br><a name="SEC13" href="#TOC1">REFERENCE COUNTS</a><br>
1133 <P>
1134 <b>int pcre_refcount(pcre *<i>code</i>, int <i>adjust</i>);</b>
1135 </P>
1136 <P>
1137 The <b>pcre_refcount()</b> function is used to maintain a reference count in the
1138 data block that contains a compiled pattern. It is provided for the benefit of
1139 applications that operate in an object-oriented manner, where different parts
1140 of the application may be using the same compiled pattern, but you want to free
1141 the block when they are all done.
1142 </P>
1143 <P>
1144 When a pattern is compiled, the reference count field is initialized to zero.
1145 It is changed only by calling this function, whose action is to add the
1146 <i>adjust</i> value (which may be positive or negative) to it. The yield of the
1147 function is the new value. However, the value of the count is constrained to
1148 lie between 0 and 65535, inclusive. If the new value is outside these limits,
1149 it is forced to the appropriate limit value.
1150 </P>
1151 <P>
1152 Except when it is zero, the reference count is not correctly preserved if a
1153 pattern is compiled on one host and then transferred to a host whose byte-order
1154 is different. (This seems a highly unlikely scenario.)
1155 </P>
1156 <br><a name="SEC14" href="#TOC1">MATCHING A PATTERN: THE TRADITIONAL FUNCTION</a><br>
1157 <P>
1158 <b>int pcre_exec(const pcre *<i>code</i>, const pcre_extra *<i>extra</i>,</b>
1159 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int <i>length</i>, int <i>startoffset</i>,</b>
1160 <b>int <i>options</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>, int <i>ovecsize</i>);</b>
1161 </P>
1162 <P>
1163 The function <b>pcre_exec()</b> is called to match a subject string against a
1164 compiled pattern, which is passed in the <i>code</i> argument. If the
1165 pattern was studied, the result of the study should be passed in the
1166 <i>extra</i> argument. This function is the main matching facility of the
1167 library, and it operates in a Perl-like manner. For specialist use there is
1168 also an alternative matching function, which is described
1169 <a href="#dfamatch">below</a>
1170 in the section about the <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> function.
1171 </P>
1172 <P>
1173 In most applications, the pattern will have been compiled (and optionally
1174 studied) in the same process that calls <b>pcre_exec()</b>. However, it is
1175 possible to save compiled patterns and study data, and then use them later
1176 in different processes, possibly even on different hosts. For a discussion
1177 about this, see the
1178 <a href="pcreprecompile.html"><b>pcreprecompile</b></a>
1179 documentation.
1180 </P>
1181 <P>
1182 Here is an example of a simple call to <b>pcre_exec()</b>:
1183 <pre>
1184 int rc;
1185 int ovector[30];
1186 rc = pcre_exec(
1187 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
1188 NULL, /* we didn't study the pattern */
1189 "some string", /* the subject string */
1190 11, /* the length of the subject string */
1191 0, /* start at offset 0 in the subject */
1192 0, /* default options */
1193 ovector, /* vector of integers for substring information */
1194 30); /* number of elements (NOT size in bytes) */
1195 <a name="extradata"></a></PRE>
1196 </P>
1197 <br><b>
1198 Extra data for <b>pcre_exec()</b>
1199 </b><br>
1200 <P>
1201 If the <i>extra</i> argument is not NULL, it must point to a <b>pcre_extra</b>
1202 data block. The <b>pcre_study()</b> function returns such a block (when it
1203 doesn't return NULL), but you can also create one for yourself, and pass
1204 additional information in it. The <b>pcre_extra</b> block contains the following
1205 fields (not necessarily in this order):
1206 <pre>
1207 unsigned long int <i>flags</i>;
1208 void *<i>study_data</i>;
1209 unsigned long int <i>match_limit</i>;
1210 unsigned long int <i>match_limit_recursion</i>;
1211 void *<i>callout_data</i>;
1212 const unsigned char *<i>tables</i>;
1213 unsigned char **<i>mark</i>;
1214 </pre>
1215 The <i>flags</i> field is a bitmap that specifies which of the other fields
1216 are set. The flag bits are:
1217 <pre>
1224 </pre>
1225 Other flag bits should be set to zero. The <i>study_data</i> field is set in the
1226 <b>pcre_extra</b> block that is returned by <b>pcre_study()</b>, together with
1227 the appropriate flag bit. You should not set this yourself, but you may add to
1228 the block by setting the other fields and their corresponding flag bits.
1229 </P>
1230 <P>
1231 The <i>match_limit</i> field provides a means of preventing PCRE from using up a
1232 vast amount of resources when running patterns that are not going to match,
1233 but which have a very large number of possibilities in their search trees. The
1234 classic example is a pattern that uses nested unlimited repeats.
1235 </P>
1236 <P>
1237 Internally, PCRE uses a function called <b>match()</b> which it calls repeatedly
1238 (sometimes recursively). The limit set by <i>match_limit</i> is imposed on the
1239 number of times this function is called during a match, which has the effect of
1240 limiting the amount of backtracking that can take place. For patterns that are
1241 not anchored, the count restarts from zero for each position in the subject
1242 string.
1243 </P>
1244 <P>
1245 The default value for the limit can be set when PCRE is built; the default
1246 default is 10 million, which handles all but the most extreme cases. You can
1247 override the default by suppling <b>pcre_exec()</b> with a <b>pcre_extra</b>
1248 block in which <i>match_limit</i> is set, and PCRE_EXTRA_MATCH_LIMIT is set in
1249 the <i>flags</i> field. If the limit is exceeded, <b>pcre_exec()</b> returns
1251 </P>
1252 <P>
1253 The <i>match_limit_recursion</i> field is similar to <i>match_limit</i>, but
1254 instead of limiting the total number of times that <b>match()</b> is called, it
1255 limits the depth of recursion. The recursion depth is a smaller number than the
1256 total number of calls, because not all calls to <b>match()</b> are recursive.
1257 This limit is of use only if it is set smaller than <i>match_limit</i>.
1258 </P>
1259 <P>
1260 Limiting the recursion depth limits the amount of stack that can be used, or,
1261 when PCRE has been compiled to use memory on the heap instead of the stack, the
1262 amount of heap memory that can be used.
1263 </P>
1264 <P>
1265 The default value for <i>match_limit_recursion</i> can be set when PCRE is
1266 built; the default default is the same value as the default for
1267 <i>match_limit</i>. You can override the default by suppling <b>pcre_exec()</b>
1268 with a <b>pcre_extra</b> block in which <i>match_limit_recursion</i> is set, and
1269 PCRE_EXTRA_MATCH_LIMIT_RECURSION is set in the <i>flags</i> field. If the limit
1270 is exceeded, <b>pcre_exec()</b> returns PCRE_ERROR_RECURSIONLIMIT.
1271 </P>
1272 <P>
1273 The <i>callout_data</i> field is used in conjunction with the "callout" feature,
1274 and is described in the
1275 <a href="pcrecallout.html"><b>pcrecallout</b></a>
1276 documentation.
1277 </P>
1278 <P>
1279 The <i>tables</i> field is used to pass a character tables pointer to
1280 <b>pcre_exec()</b>; this overrides the value that is stored with the compiled
1281 pattern. A non-NULL value is stored with the compiled pattern only if custom
1282 tables were supplied to <b>pcre_compile()</b> via its <i>tableptr</i> argument.
1283 If NULL is passed to <b>pcre_exec()</b> using this mechanism, it forces PCRE's
1284 internal tables to be used. This facility is helpful when re-using patterns
1285 that have been saved after compiling with an external set of tables, because
1286 the external tables might be at a different address when <b>pcre_exec()</b> is
1287 called. See the
1288 <a href="pcreprecompile.html"><b>pcreprecompile</b></a>
1289 documentation for a discussion of saving compiled patterns for later use.
1290 </P>
1291 <P>
1292 If PCRE_EXTRA_MARK is set in the <i>flags</i> field, the <i>mark</i> field must
1293 be set to point to a <b>char *</b> variable. If the pattern contains any
1294 backtracking control verbs such as (*MARK:NAME), and the execution ends up with
1295 a name to pass back, a pointer to the name string (zero terminated) is placed
1296 in the variable pointed to by the <i>mark</i> field. The names are within the
1297 compiled pattern; if you wish to retain such a name you must copy it before
1298 freeing the memory of a compiled pattern. If there is no name to pass back, the
1299 variable pointed to by the <i>mark</i> field set to NULL. For details of the
1300 backtracking control verbs, see the section entitled
1301 <a href="pcrepattern#backtrackcontrol">"Backtracking control"</a>
1302 in the
1303 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
1304 documentation.
1305 <a name="execoptions"></a></P>
1306 <br><b>
1307 Option bits for <b>pcre_exec()</b>
1308 </b><br>
1309 <P>
1310 The unused bits of the <i>options</i> argument for <b>pcre_exec()</b> must be
1311 zero. The only bits that may be set are PCRE_ANCHORED, PCRE_NEWLINE_<i>xxx</i>,
1315 <pre>
1317 </pre>
1318 The PCRE_ANCHORED option limits <b>pcre_exec()</b> to matching at the first
1319 matching position. If a pattern was compiled with PCRE_ANCHORED, or turned out
1320 to be anchored by virtue of its contents, it cannot be made unachored at
1321 matching time.
1322 <pre>
1325 </pre>
1326 These options (which are mutually exclusive) control what the \R escape
1327 sequence matches. The choice is either to match only CR, LF, or CRLF, or to
1328 match any Unicode newline sequence. These options override the choice that was
1329 made or defaulted when the pattern was compiled.
1330 <pre>
1336 </pre>
1337 These options override the newline definition that was chosen or defaulted when
1338 the pattern was compiled. For details, see the description of
1339 <b>pcre_compile()</b> above. During matching, the newline choice affects the
1340 behaviour of the dot, circumflex, and dollar metacharacters. It may also alter
1341 the way the match position is advanced after a match failure for an unanchored
1342 pattern.
1343 </P>
1344 <P>
1346 match attempt for an unanchored pattern fails when the current position is at a
1347 CRLF sequence, and the pattern contains no explicit matches for CR or LF
1348 characters, the match position is advanced by two characters instead of one, in
1349 other words, to after the CRLF.
1350 </P>
1351 <P>
1352 The above rule is a compromise that makes the most common cases work as
1353 expected. For example, if the pattern is .+A (and the PCRE_DOTALL option is not
1354 set), it does not match the string "\r\nA" because, after failing at the
1355 start, it skips both the CR and the LF before retrying. However, the pattern
1356 [\r\n]A does match that string, because it contains an explicit CR or LF
1357 reference, and so advances only by one character after the first failure.
1358 </P>
1359 <P>
1360 An explicit match for CR of LF is either a literal appearance of one of those
1361 characters, or one of the \r or \n escape sequences. Implicit matches such as
1362 [^X] do not count, nor does \s (which includes CR and LF in the characters
1363 that it matches).
1364 </P>
1365 <P>
1366 Notwithstanding the above, anomalous effects may still occur when CRLF is a
1367 valid newline sequence and explicit \r or \n escapes appear in the pattern.
1368 <pre>
1370 </pre>
1371 This option specifies that first character of the subject string is not the
1372 beginning of a line, so the circumflex metacharacter should not match before
1373 it. Setting this without PCRE_MULTILINE (at compile time) causes circumflex
1374 never to match. This option affects only the behaviour of the circumflex
1375 metacharacter. It does not affect \A.
1376 <pre>
1378 </pre>
1379 This option specifies that the end of the subject string is not the end of a
1380 line, so the dollar metacharacter should not match it nor (except in multiline
1381 mode) a newline immediately before it. Setting this without PCRE_MULTILINE (at
1382 compile time) causes dollar never to match. This option affects only the
1383 behaviour of the dollar metacharacter. It does not affect \Z or \z.
1384 <pre>
1386 </pre>
1387 An empty string is not considered to be a valid match if this option is set. If
1388 there are alternatives in the pattern, they are tried. If all the alternatives
1389 match the empty string, the entire match fails. For example, if the pattern
1390 <pre>
1391 a?b?
1392 </pre>
1393 is applied to a string not beginning with "a" or "b", it matches an empty
1394 string at the start of the subject. With PCRE_NOTEMPTY set, this match is not
1395 valid, so PCRE searches further into the string for occurrences of "a" or "b".
1396 <pre>
1398 </pre>
1399 This is like PCRE_NOTEMPTY, except that an empty string match that is not at
1400 the start of the subject is permitted. If the pattern is anchored, such a match
1401 can occur only if the pattern contains \K.
1402 </P>
1403 <P>
1404 Perl has no direct equivalent of PCRE_NOTEMPTY or PCRE_NOTEMPTY_ATSTART, but it
1405 does make a special case of a pattern match of the empty string within its
1406 <b>split()</b> function, and when using the /g modifier. It is possible to
1407 emulate Perl's behaviour after matching a null string by first trying the match
1408 again at the same offset with PCRE_NOTEMPTY_ATSTART and PCRE_ANCHORED, and then
1409 if that fails, by advancing the starting offset (see below) and trying an
1410 ordinary match again. There is some code that demonstrates how to do this in
1411 the
1412 <a href="pcredemo.html"><b>pcredemo</b></a>
1413 sample program.
1414 <pre>
1416 </pre>
1417 There are a number of optimizations that <b>pcre_exec()</b> uses at the start of
1418 a match, in order to speed up the process. For example, if it is known that a
1419 match must start with a specific character, it searches the subject for that
1420 character, and fails immediately if it cannot find it, without actually running
1421 the main matching function. When callouts are in use, these optimizations can
1422 cause them to be skipped. This option disables the "start-up" optimizations,
1423 causing performance to suffer, but ensuring that the callouts do occur.
1424 <pre>
1426 </pre>
1427 When PCRE_UTF8 is set at compile time, the validity of the subject as a UTF-8
1428 string is automatically checked when <b>pcre_exec()</b> is subsequently called.
1429 The value of <i>startoffset</i> is also checked to ensure that it points to the
1430 start of a UTF-8 character. There is a discussion about the validity of UTF-8
1431 strings in the
1432 <a href="pcre.html#utf8strings">section on UTF-8 support</a>
1433 in the main
1434 <a href="pcre.html"><b>pcre</b></a>
1435 page. If an invalid UTF-8 sequence of bytes is found, <b>pcre_exec()</b> returns
1436 the error PCRE_ERROR_BADUTF8. If <i>startoffset</i> contains an invalid value,
1437 PCRE_ERROR_BADUTF8_OFFSET is returned.
1438 </P>
1439 <P>
1440 If you already know that your subject is valid, and you want to skip these
1441 checks for performance reasons, you can set the PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK option when
1442 calling <b>pcre_exec()</b>. You might want to do this for the second and
1443 subsequent calls to <b>pcre_exec()</b> if you are making repeated calls to find
1444 all the matches in a single subject string. However, you should be sure that
1445 the value of <i>startoffset</i> points to the start of a UTF-8 character. When
1446 PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK is set, the effect of passing an invalid UTF-8 string as a
1447 subject, or a value of <i>startoffset</i> that does not point to the start of a
1448 UTF-8 character, is undefined. Your program may crash.
1449 <pre>
1452 </pre>
1453 These options turn on the partial matching feature. For backwards
1454 compatibility, PCRE_PARTIAL is a synonym for PCRE_PARTIAL_SOFT. A partial match
1455 occurs if the end of the subject string is reached successfully, but there are
1456 not enough subject characters to complete the match. If this happens when
1457 PCRE_PARTIAL_HARD is set, <b>pcre_exec()</b> immediately returns
1458 PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL. Otherwise, if PCRE_PARTIAL_SOFT is set, matching continues
1459 by testing any other alternatives. Only if they all fail is PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL
1460 returned (instead of PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH). The portion of the string that
1461 was inspected when the partial match was found is set as the first matching
1462 string. There is a more detailed discussion in the
1463 <a href="pcrepartial.html"><b>pcrepartial</b></a>
1464 documentation.
1465 </P>
1466 <br><b>
1467 The string to be matched by <b>pcre_exec()</b>
1468 </b><br>
1469 <P>
1470 The subject string is passed to <b>pcre_exec()</b> as a pointer in
1471 <i>subject</i>, a length (in bytes) in <i>length</i>, and a starting byte offset
1472 in <i>startoffset</i>. In UTF-8 mode, the byte offset must point to the start of
1473 a UTF-8 character. Unlike the pattern string, the subject may contain binary
1474 zero bytes. When the starting offset is zero, the search for a match starts at
1475 the beginning of the subject, and this is by far the most common case.
1476 </P>
1477 <P>
1478 A non-zero starting offset is useful when searching for another match in the
1479 same subject by calling <b>pcre_exec()</b> again after a previous success.
1480 Setting <i>startoffset</i> differs from just passing over a shortened string and
1481 setting PCRE_NOTBOL in the case of a pattern that begins with any kind of
1482 lookbehind. For example, consider the pattern
1483 <pre>
1484 \Biss\B
1485 </pre>
1486 which finds occurrences of "iss" in the middle of words. (\B matches only if
1487 the current position in the subject is not a word boundary.) When applied to
1488 the string "Mississipi" the first call to <b>pcre_exec()</b> finds the first
1489 occurrence. If <b>pcre_exec()</b> is called again with just the remainder of the
1490 subject, namely "issipi", it does not match, because \B is always false at the
1491 start of the subject, which is deemed to be a word boundary. However, if
1492 <b>pcre_exec()</b> is passed the entire string again, but with <i>startoffset</i>
1493 set to 4, it finds the second occurrence of "iss" because it is able to look
1494 behind the starting point to discover that it is preceded by a letter.
1495 </P>
1496 <P>
1497 If a non-zero starting offset is passed when the pattern is anchored, one
1498 attempt to match at the given offset is made. This can only succeed if the
1499 pattern does not require the match to be at the start of the subject.
1500 </P>
1501 <br><b>
1502 How <b>pcre_exec()</b> returns captured substrings
1503 </b><br>
1504 <P>
1505 In general, a pattern matches a certain portion of the subject, and in
1506 addition, further substrings from the subject may be picked out by parts of the
1507 pattern. Following the usage in Jeffrey Friedl's book, this is called
1508 "capturing" in what follows, and the phrase "capturing subpattern" is used for
1509 a fragment of a pattern that picks out a substring. PCRE supports several other
1510 kinds of parenthesized subpattern that do not cause substrings to be captured.
1511 </P>
1512 <P>
1513 Captured substrings are returned to the caller via a vector of integers whose
1514 address is passed in <i>ovector</i>. The number of elements in the vector is
1515 passed in <i>ovecsize</i>, which must be a non-negative number. <b>Note</b>: this
1516 argument is NOT the size of <i>ovector</i> in bytes.
1517 </P>
1518 <P>
1519 The first two-thirds of the vector is used to pass back captured substrings,
1520 each substring using a pair of integers. The remaining third of the vector is
1521 used as workspace by <b>pcre_exec()</b> while matching capturing subpatterns,
1522 and is not available for passing back information. The number passed in
1523 <i>ovecsize</i> should always be a multiple of three. If it is not, it is
1524 rounded down.
1525 </P>
1526 <P>
1527 When a match is successful, information about captured substrings is returned
1528 in pairs of integers, starting at the beginning of <i>ovector</i>, and
1529 continuing up to two-thirds of its length at the most. The first element of
1530 each pair is set to the byte offset of the first character in a substring, and
1531 the second is set to the byte offset of the first character after the end of a
1532 substring. <b>Note</b>: these values are always byte offsets, even in UTF-8
1533 mode. They are not character counts.
1534 </P>
1535 <P>
1536 The first pair of integers, <i>ovector[0]</i> and <i>ovector[1]</i>, identify the
1537 portion of the subject string matched by the entire pattern. The next pair is
1538 used for the first capturing subpattern, and so on. The value returned by
1539 <b>pcre_exec()</b> is one more than the highest numbered pair that has been set.
1540 For example, if two substrings have been captured, the returned value is 3. If
1541 there are no capturing subpatterns, the return value from a successful match is
1542 1, indicating that just the first pair of offsets has been set.
1543 </P>
1544 <P>
1545 If a capturing subpattern is matched repeatedly, it is the last portion of the
1546 string that it matched that is returned.
1547 </P>
1548 <P>
1549 If the vector is too small to hold all the captured substring offsets, it is
1550 used as far as possible (up to two-thirds of its length), and the function
1551 returns a value of zero. If the substring offsets are not of interest,
1552 <b>pcre_exec()</b> may be called with <i>ovector</i> passed as NULL and
1553 <i>ovecsize</i> as zero. However, if the pattern contains back references and
1554 the <i>ovector</i> is not big enough to remember the related substrings, PCRE
1555 has to get additional memory for use during matching. Thus it is usually
1556 advisable to supply an <i>ovector</i>.
1557 </P>
1558 <P>
1559 The <b>pcre_fullinfo()</b> function can be used to find out how many capturing
1560 subpatterns there are in a compiled pattern. The smallest size for
1561 <i>ovector</i> that will allow for <i>n</i> captured substrings, in addition to
1562 the offsets of the substring matched by the whole pattern, is (<i>n</i>+1)*3.
1563 </P>
1564 <P>
1565 It is possible for capturing subpattern number <i>n+1</i> to match some part of
1566 the subject when subpattern <i>n</i> has not been used at all. For example, if
1567 the string "abc" is matched against the pattern (a|(z))(bc) the return from the
1568 function is 4, and subpatterns 1 and 3 are matched, but 2 is not. When this
1569 happens, both values in the offset pairs corresponding to unused subpatterns
1570 are set to -1.
1571 </P>
1572 <P>
1573 Offset values that correspond to unused subpatterns at the end of the
1574 expression are also set to -1. For example, if the string "abc" is matched
1575 against the pattern (abc)(x(yz)?)? subpatterns 2 and 3 are not matched. The
1576 return from the function is 2, because the highest used capturing subpattern
1577 number is 1. However, you can refer to the offsets for the second and third
1578 capturing subpatterns if you wish (assuming the vector is large enough, of
1579 course).
1580 </P>
1581 <P>
1582 Some convenience functions are provided for extracting the captured substrings
1583 as separate strings. These are described below.
1584 <a name="errorlist"></a></P>
1585 <br><b>
1586 Error return values from <b>pcre_exec()</b>
1587 </b><br>
1588 <P>
1589 If <b>pcre_exec()</b> fails, it returns a negative number. The following are
1590 defined in the header file:
1591 <pre>
1593 </pre>
1594 The subject string did not match the pattern.
1595 <pre>
1597 </pre>
1598 Either <i>code</i> or <i>subject</i> was passed as NULL, or <i>ovector</i> was
1599 NULL and <i>ovecsize</i> was not zero.
1600 <pre>
1602 </pre>
1603 An unrecognized bit was set in the <i>options</i> argument.
1604 <pre>
1606 </pre>
1607 PCRE stores a 4-byte "magic number" at the start of the compiled code, to catch
1608 the case when it is passed a junk pointer and to detect when a pattern that was
1609 compiled in an environment of one endianness is run in an environment with the
1610 other endianness. This is the error that PCRE gives when the magic number is
1611 not present.
1612 <pre>
1614 </pre>
1615 While running the pattern match, an unknown item was encountered in the
1616 compiled pattern. This error could be caused by a bug in PCRE or by overwriting
1617 of the compiled pattern.
1618 <pre>
1620 </pre>
1621 If a pattern contains back references, but the <i>ovector</i> that is passed to
1622 <b>pcre_exec()</b> is not big enough to remember the referenced substrings, PCRE
1623 gets a block of memory at the start of matching to use for this purpose. If the
1624 call via <b>pcre_malloc()</b> fails, this error is given. The memory is
1625 automatically freed at the end of matching.
1626 <pre>
1628 </pre>
1629 This error is used by the <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b>,
1630 <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>, and <b>pcre_get_substring_list()</b> functions (see
1631 below). It is never returned by <b>pcre_exec()</b>.
1632 <pre>
1634 </pre>
1635 The backtracking limit, as specified by the <i>match_limit</i> field in a
1636 <b>pcre_extra</b> structure (or defaulted) was reached. See the description
1637 above.
1638 <pre>
1640 </pre>
1641 This error is never generated by <b>pcre_exec()</b> itself. It is provided for
1642 use by callout functions that want to yield a distinctive error code. See the
1643 <a href="pcrecallout.html"><b>pcrecallout</b></a>
1644 documentation for details.
1645 <pre>
1647 </pre>
1648 A string that contains an invalid UTF-8 byte sequence was passed as a subject.
1649 <pre>
1651 </pre>
1652 The UTF-8 byte sequence that was passed as a subject was valid, but the value
1653 of <i>startoffset</i> did not point to the beginning of a UTF-8 character.
1654 <pre>
1656 </pre>
1657 The subject string did not match, but it did match partially. See the
1658 <a href="pcrepartial.html"><b>pcrepartial</b></a>
1659 documentation for details of partial matching.
1660 <pre>
1662 </pre>
1663 This code is no longer in use. It was formerly returned when the PCRE_PARTIAL
1664 option was used with a compiled pattern containing items that were not
1665 supported for partial matching. From release 8.00 onwards, there are no
1666 restrictions on partial matching.
1667 <pre>
1669 </pre>
1670 An unexpected internal error has occurred. This error could be caused by a bug
1671 in PCRE or by overwriting of the compiled pattern.
1672 <pre>
1674 </pre>
1675 This error is given if the value of the <i>ovecsize</i> argument is negative.
1676 <pre>
1678 </pre>
1679 The internal recursion limit, as specified by the <i>match_limit_recursion</i>
1680 field in a <b>pcre_extra</b> structure (or defaulted) was reached. See the
1681 description above.
1682 <pre>
1684 </pre>
1685 An invalid combination of PCRE_NEWLINE_<i>xxx</i> options was given.
1686 </P>
1687 <P>
1688 Error numbers -16 to -20 and -22 are not used by <b>pcre_exec()</b>.
1689 </P>
1690 <br><a name="SEC15" href="#TOC1">EXTRACTING CAPTURED SUBSTRINGS BY NUMBER</a><br>
1691 <P>
1692 <b>int pcre_copy_substring(const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
1693 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, int <i>stringnumber</i>, char *<i>buffer</i>,</b>
1694 <b>int <i>buffersize</i>);</b>
1695 </P>
1696 <P>
1697 <b>int pcre_get_substring(const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
1698 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, int <i>stringnumber</i>,</b>
1699 <b>const char **<i>stringptr</i>);</b>
1700 </P>
1701 <P>
1702 <b>int pcre_get_substring_list(const char *<i>subject</i>,</b>
1703 <b>int *<i>ovector</i>, int <i>stringcount</i>, const char ***<i>listptr</i>);</b>
1704 </P>
1705 <P>
1706 Captured substrings can be accessed directly by using the offsets returned by
1707 <b>pcre_exec()</b> in <i>ovector</i>. For convenience, the functions
1708 <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b>, <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>, and
1709 <b>pcre_get_substring_list()</b> are provided for extracting captured substrings
1710 as new, separate, zero-terminated strings. These functions identify substrings
1711 by number. The next section describes functions for extracting named
1712 substrings.
1713 </P>
1714 <P>
1715 A substring that contains a binary zero is correctly extracted and has a
1716 further zero added on the end, but the result is not, of course, a C string.
1717 However, you can process such a string by referring to the length that is
1718 returned by <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b> and <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>.
1719 Unfortunately, the interface to <b>pcre_get_substring_list()</b> is not adequate
1720 for handling strings containing binary zeros, because the end of the final
1721 string is not independently indicated.
1722 </P>
1723 <P>
1724 The first three arguments are the same for all three of these functions:
1725 <i>subject</i> is the subject string that has just been successfully matched,
1726 <i>ovector</i> is a pointer to the vector of integer offsets that was passed to
1727 <b>pcre_exec()</b>, and <i>stringcount</i> is the number of substrings that were
1728 captured by the match, including the substring that matched the entire regular
1729 expression. This is the value returned by <b>pcre_exec()</b> if it is greater
1730 than zero. If <b>pcre_exec()</b> returned zero, indicating that it ran out of
1731 space in <i>ovector</i>, the value passed as <i>stringcount</i> should be the
1732 number of elements in the vector divided by three.
1733 </P>
1734 <P>
1735 The functions <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b> and <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>
1736 extract a single substring, whose number is given as <i>stringnumber</i>. A
1737 value of zero extracts the substring that matched the entire pattern, whereas
1738 higher values extract the captured substrings. For <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b>,
1739 the string is placed in <i>buffer</i>, whose length is given by
1740 <i>buffersize</i>, while for <b>pcre_get_substring()</b> a new block of memory is
1741 obtained via <b>pcre_malloc</b>, and its address is returned via
1742 <i>stringptr</i>. The yield of the function is the length of the string, not
1743 including the terminating zero, or one of these error codes:
1744 <pre>
1746 </pre>
1747 The buffer was too small for <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b>, or the attempt to get
1748 memory failed for <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>.
1749 <pre>
1751 </pre>
1752 There is no substring whose number is <i>stringnumber</i>.
1753 </P>
1754 <P>
1755 The <b>pcre_get_substring_list()</b> function extracts all available substrings
1756 and builds a list of pointers to them. All this is done in a single block of
1757 memory that is obtained via <b>pcre_malloc</b>. The address of the memory block
1758 is returned via <i>listptr</i>, which is also the start of the list of string
1759 pointers. The end of the list is marked by a NULL pointer. The yield of the
1760 function is zero if all went well, or the error code
1761 <pre>
1763 </pre>
1764 if the attempt to get the memory block failed.
1765 </P>
1766 <P>
1767 When any of these functions encounter a substring that is unset, which can
1768 happen when capturing subpattern number <i>n+1</i> matches some part of the
1769 subject, but subpattern <i>n</i> has not been used at all, they return an empty
1770 string. This can be distinguished from a genuine zero-length substring by
1771 inspecting the appropriate offset in <i>ovector</i>, which is negative for unset
1772 substrings.
1773 </P>
1774 <P>
1775 The two convenience functions <b>pcre_free_substring()</b> and
1776 <b>pcre_free_substring_list()</b> can be used to free the memory returned by
1777 a previous call of <b>pcre_get_substring()</b> or
1778 <b>pcre_get_substring_list()</b>, respectively. They do nothing more than call
1779 the function pointed to by <b>pcre_free</b>, which of course could be called
1780 directly from a C program. However, PCRE is used in some situations where it is
1781 linked via a special interface to another programming language that cannot use
1782 <b>pcre_free</b> directly; it is for these cases that the functions are
1783 provided.
1784 </P>
1785 <br><a name="SEC16" href="#TOC1">EXTRACTING CAPTURED SUBSTRINGS BY NAME</a><br>
1786 <P>
1787 <b>int pcre_get_stringnumber(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
1788 <b>const char *<i>name</i>);</b>
1789 </P>
1790 <P>
1791 <b>int pcre_copy_named_substring(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
1792 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
1793 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, const char *<i>stringname</i>,</b>
1794 <b>char *<i>buffer</i>, int <i>buffersize</i>);</b>
1795 </P>
1796 <P>
1797 <b>int pcre_get_named_substring(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
1798 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>,</b>
1799 <b>int <i>stringcount</i>, const char *<i>stringname</i>,</b>
1800 <b>const char **<i>stringptr</i>);</b>
1801 </P>
1802 <P>
1803 To extract a substring by name, you first have to find associated number.
1804 For example, for this pattern
1805 <pre>
1806 (a+)b(?&#60;xxx&#62;\d+)...
1807 </pre>
1808 the number of the subpattern called "xxx" is 2. If the name is known to be
1809 unique (PCRE_DUPNAMES was not set), you can find the number from the name by
1810 calling <b>pcre_get_stringnumber()</b>. The first argument is the compiled
1811 pattern, and the second is the name. The yield of the function is the
1812 subpattern number, or PCRE_ERROR_NOSUBSTRING (-7) if there is no subpattern of
1813 that name.
1814 </P>
1815 <P>
1816 Given the number, you can extract the substring directly, or use one of the
1817 functions described in the previous section. For convenience, there are also
1818 two functions that do the whole job.
1819 </P>
1820 <P>
1821 Most of the arguments of <b>pcre_copy_named_substring()</b> and
1822 <b>pcre_get_named_substring()</b> are the same as those for the similarly named
1823 functions that extract by number. As these are described in the previous
1824 section, they are not re-described here. There are just two differences:
1825 </P>
1826 <P>
1827 First, instead of a substring number, a substring name is given. Second, there
1828 is an extra argument, given at the start, which is a pointer to the compiled
1829 pattern. This is needed in order to gain access to the name-to-number
1830 translation table.
1831 </P>
1832 <P>
1833 These functions call <b>pcre_get_stringnumber()</b>, and if it succeeds, they
1834 then call <b>pcre_copy_substring()</b> or <b>pcre_get_substring()</b>, as
1835 appropriate. <b>NOTE:</b> If PCRE_DUPNAMES is set and there are duplicate names,
1836 the behaviour may not be what you want (see the next section).
1837 </P>
1838 <P>
1839 <b>Warning:</b> If the pattern uses the (?| feature to set up multiple
1840 subpatterns with the same number, as described in the
1841 <a href="pcrepattern.html#dupsubpatternnumber">section on duplicate subpattern numbers</a>
1842 in the
1843 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
1844 page, you cannot use names to distinguish the different subpatterns, because
1845 names are not included in the compiled code. The matching process uses only
1846 numbers. For this reason, the use of different names for subpatterns of the
1847 same number causes an error at compile time.
1848 </P>
1849 <br><a name="SEC17" href="#TOC1">DUPLICATE SUBPATTERN NAMES</a><br>
1850 <P>
1851 <b>int pcre_get_stringtable_entries(const pcre *<i>code</i>,</b>
1852 <b>const char *<i>name</i>, char **<i>first</i>, char **<i>last</i>);</b>
1853 </P>
1854 <P>
1855 When a pattern is compiled with the PCRE_DUPNAMES option, names for subpatterns
1856 are not required to be unique. (Duplicate names are always allowed for
1857 subpatterns with the same number, created by using the (?| feature. Indeed, if
1858 such subpatterns are named, they are required to use the same names.)
1859 </P>
1860 <P>
1861 Normally, patterns with duplicate names are such that in any one match, only
1862 one of the named subpatterns participates. An example is shown in the
1863 <a href="pcrepattern.html"><b>pcrepattern</b></a>
1864 documentation.
1865 </P>
1866 <P>
1867 When duplicates are present, <b>pcre_copy_named_substring()</b> and
1868 <b>pcre_get_named_substring()</b> return the first substring corresponding to
1869 the given name that is set. If none are set, PCRE_ERROR_NOSUBSTRING (-7) is
1870 returned; no data is returned. The <b>pcre_get_stringnumber()</b> function
1871 returns one of the numbers that are associated with the name, but it is not
1872 defined which it is.
1873 </P>
1874 <P>
1875 If you want to get full details of all captured substrings for a given name,
1876 you must use the <b>pcre_get_stringtable_entries()</b> function. The first
1877 argument is the compiled pattern, and the second is the name. The third and
1878 fourth are pointers to variables which are updated by the function. After it
1879 has run, they point to the first and last entries in the name-to-number table
1880 for the given name. The function itself returns the length of each entry, or
1881 PCRE_ERROR_NOSUBSTRING (-7) if there are none. The format of the table is
1882 described above in the section entitled <i>Information about a pattern</i>.
1883 Given all the relevant entries for the name, you can extract each of their
1884 numbers, and hence the captured data, if any.
1885 </P>
1886 <br><a name="SEC18" href="#TOC1">FINDING ALL POSSIBLE MATCHES</a><br>
1887 <P>
1888 The traditional matching function uses a similar algorithm to Perl, which stops
1889 when it finds the first match, starting at a given point in the subject. If you
1890 want to find all possible matches, or the longest possible match, consider
1891 using the alternative matching function (see below) instead. If you cannot use
1892 the alternative function, but still need to find all possible matches, you
1893 can kludge it up by making use of the callout facility, which is described in
1894 the
1895 <a href="pcrecallout.html"><b>pcrecallout</b></a>
1896 documentation.
1897 </P>
1898 <P>
1899 What you have to do is to insert a callout right at the end of the pattern.
1900 When your callout function is called, extract and save the current matched
1901 substring. Then return 1, which forces <b>pcre_exec()</b> to backtrack and try
1902 other alternatives. Ultimately, when it runs out of matches, <b>pcre_exec()</b>
1903 will yield PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH.
1904 <a name="dfamatch"></a></P>
1905 <br><a name="SEC19" href="#TOC1">MATCHING A PATTERN: THE ALTERNATIVE FUNCTION</a><br>
1906 <P>
1907 <b>int pcre_dfa_exec(const pcre *<i>code</i>, const pcre_extra *<i>extra</i>,</b>
1908 <b>const char *<i>subject</i>, int <i>length</i>, int <i>startoffset</i>,</b>
1909 <b>int <i>options</i>, int *<i>ovector</i>, int <i>ovecsize</i>,</b>
1910 <b>int *<i>workspace</i>, int <i>wscount</i>);</b>
1911 </P>
1912 <P>
1913 The function <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> is called to match a subject string against
1914 a compiled pattern, using a matching algorithm that scans the subject string
1915 just once, and does not backtrack. This has different characteristics to the
1916 normal algorithm, and is not compatible with Perl. Some of the features of PCRE
1917 patterns are not supported. Nevertheless, there are times when this kind of
1918 matching can be useful. For a discussion of the two matching algorithms, and a
1919 list of features that <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> does not support, see the
1920 <a href="pcrematching.html"><b>pcrematching</b></a>
1921 documentation.
1922 </P>
1923 <P>
1924 The arguments for the <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> function are the same as for
1925 <b>pcre_exec()</b>, plus two extras. The <i>ovector</i> argument is used in a
1926 different way, and this is described below. The other common arguments are used
1927 in the same way as for <b>pcre_exec()</b>, so their description is not repeated
1928 here.
1929 </P>
1930 <P>
1931 The two additional arguments provide workspace for the function. The workspace
1932 vector should contain at least 20 elements. It is used for keeping track of
1933 multiple paths through the pattern tree. More workspace will be needed for
1934 patterns and subjects where there are a lot of potential matches.
1935 </P>
1936 <P>
1937 Here is an example of a simple call to <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>:
1938 <pre>
1939 int rc;
1940 int ovector[10];
1941 int wspace[20];
1942 rc = pcre_dfa_exec(
1943 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
1944 NULL, /* we didn't study the pattern */
1945 "some string", /* the subject string */
1946 11, /* the length of the subject string */
1947 0, /* start at offset 0 in the subject */
1948 0, /* default options */
1949 ovector, /* vector of integers for substring information */
1950 10, /* number of elements (NOT size in bytes) */
1951 wspace, /* working space vector */
1952 20); /* number of elements (NOT size in bytes) */
1953 </PRE>
1954 </P>
1955 <br><b>
1956 Option bits for <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>
1957 </b><br>
1958 <P>
1959 The unused bits of the <i>options</i> argument for <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> must be
1960 zero. The only bits that may be set are PCRE_ANCHORED, PCRE_NEWLINE_<i>xxx</i>,
1963 and PCRE_DFA_RESTART. All but the last four of these are exactly the same as
1964 for <b>pcre_exec()</b>, so their description is not repeated here.
1965 <pre>
1968 </pre>
1969 These have the same general effect as they do for <b>pcre_exec()</b>, but the
1970 details are slightly different. When PCRE_PARTIAL_HARD is set for
1971 <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>, it returns PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL if the end of the subject
1972 is reached and there is still at least one matching possibility that requires
1973 additional characters. This happens even if some complete matches have also
1974 been found. When PCRE_PARTIAL_SOFT is set, the return code PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH
1975 is converted into PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL if the end of the subject is reached,
1976 there have been no complete matches, but there is still at least one matching
1977 possibility. The portion of the string that was inspected when the longest
1978 partial match was found is set as the first matching string in both cases.
1979 <pre>
1981 </pre>
1982 Setting the PCRE_DFA_SHORTEST option causes the matching algorithm to stop as
1983 soon as it has found one match. Because of the way the alternative algorithm
1984 works, this is necessarily the shortest possible match at the first possible
1985 matching point in the subject string.
1986 <pre>
1988 </pre>
1989 When <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> returns a partial match, it is possible to call it
1990 again, with additional subject characters, and have it continue with the same
1991 match. The PCRE_DFA_RESTART option requests this action; when it is set, the
1992 <i>workspace</i> and <i>wscount</i> options must reference the same vector as
1993 before because data about the match so far is left in them after a partial
1994 match. There is more discussion of this facility in the
1995 <a href="pcrepartial.html"><b>pcrepartial</b></a>
1996 documentation.
1997 </P>
1998 <br><b>
1999 Successful returns from <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>
2000 </b><br>
2001 <P>
2002 When <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> succeeds, it may have matched more than one
2003 substring in the subject. Note, however, that all the matches from one run of
2004 the function start at the same point in the subject. The shorter matches are
2005 all initial substrings of the longer matches. For example, if the pattern
2006 <pre>
2007 &#60;.*&#62;
2008 </pre>
2009 is matched against the string
2010 <pre>
2011 This is &#60;something&#62; &#60;something else&#62; &#60;something further&#62; no more
2012 </pre>
2013 the three matched strings are
2014 <pre>
2015 &#60;something&#62;
2016 &#60;something&#62; &#60;something else&#62;
2017 &#60;something&#62; &#60;something else&#62; &#60;something further&#62;
2018 </pre>
2019 On success, the yield of the function is a number greater than zero, which is
2020 the number of matched substrings. The substrings themselves are returned in
2021 <i>ovector</i>. Each string uses two elements; the first is the offset to the
2022 start, and the second is the offset to the end. In fact, all the strings have
2023 the same start offset. (Space could have been saved by giving this only once,
2024 but it was decided to retain some compatibility with the way <b>pcre_exec()</b>
2025 returns data, even though the meaning of the strings is different.)
2026 </P>
2027 <P>
2028 The strings are returned in reverse order of length; that is, the longest
2029 matching string is given first. If there were too many matches to fit into
2030 <i>ovector</i>, the yield of the function is zero, and the vector is filled with
2031 the longest matches.
2032 </P>
2033 <br><b>
2034 Error returns from <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>
2035 </b><br>
2036 <P>
2037 The <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> function returns a negative number when it fails.
2038 Many of the errors are the same as for <b>pcre_exec()</b>, and these are
2039 described
2040 <a href="#errorlist">above.</a>
2041 There are in addition the following errors that are specific to
2042 <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b>:
2043 <pre>
2045 </pre>
2046 This return is given if <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> encounters an item in the pattern
2047 that it does not support, for instance, the use of \C or a back reference.
2048 <pre>
2050 </pre>
2051 This return is given if <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> encounters a condition item that
2052 uses a back reference for the condition, or a test for recursion in a specific
2053 group. These are not supported.
2054 <pre>
2056 </pre>
2057 This return is given if <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> is called with an <i>extra</i>
2058 block that contains a setting of the <i>match_limit</i> field. This is not
2059 supported (it is meaningless).
2060 <pre>
2062 </pre>
2063 This return is given if <b>pcre_dfa_exec()</b> runs out of space in the
2064 <i>workspace</i> vector.
2065 <pre>
2067 </pre>
2068 When a recursive subpattern is processed, the matching function calls itself
2069 recursively, using private vectors for <i>ovector</i> and <i>workspace</i>. This
2070 error is given if the output vector is not large enough. This should be
2071 extremely rare, as a vector of size 1000 is used.
2072 </P>
2073 <br><a name="SEC20" href="#TOC1">SEE ALSO</a><br>
2074 <P>
2075 <b>pcrebuild</b>(3), <b>pcrecallout</b>(3), <b>pcrecpp(3)</b>(3),
2076 <b>pcrematching</b>(3), <b>pcrepartial</b>(3), <b>pcreposix</b>(3),
2077 <b>pcreprecompile</b>(3), <b>pcresample</b>(3), <b>pcrestack</b>(3).
2078 </P>
2079 <br><a name="SEC21" href="#TOC1">AUTHOR</a><br>
2080 <P>
2081 Philip Hazel
2082 <br>
2083 University Computing Service
2084 <br>
2085 Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
2086 <br>
2087 </P>
2088 <br><a name="SEC22" href="#TOC1">REVISION</a><br>
2089 <P>
2090 Last updated: 03 May 2010
2091 <br>
2092 Copyright &copy; 1997-2010 University of Cambridge.
2093 <br>
2094 <p>
2095 Return to the <a href="index.html">PCRE index page</a>.
2096 </p>


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