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3 PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressions
5 .rs
6 .sp
7 .B #include <pcre.h>
8 .PP
9 .SM
10 .B pcre *pcre_compile(const char *\fIpattern\fP, int \fIoptions\fP,
11 .ti +5n
12 .B const char **\fIerrptr\fP, int *\fIerroffset\fP,
13 .ti +5n
14 .B const unsigned char *\fItableptr\fP);
15 .PP
16 .B pcre *pcre_compile2(const char *\fIpattern\fP, int \fIoptions\fP,
17 .ti +5n
18 .B int *\fIerrorcodeptr\fP,
19 .ti +5n
20 .B const char **\fIerrptr\fP, int *\fIerroffset\fP,
21 .ti +5n
22 .B const unsigned char *\fItableptr\fP);
23 .PP
24 .B pcre_extra *pcre_study(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, int \fIoptions\fP,
25 .ti +5n
26 .B const char **\fIerrptr\fP);
27 .PP
28 .B int pcre_exec(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, "const pcre_extra *\fIextra\fP,"
29 .ti +5n
30 .B "const char *\fIsubject\fP," int \fIlength\fP, int \fIstartoffset\fP,
31 .ti +5n
32 .B int \fIoptions\fP, int *\fIovector\fP, int \fIovecsize\fP);
33 .PP
34 .B int pcre_dfa_exec(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, "const pcre_extra *\fIextra\fP,"
35 .ti +5n
36 .B "const char *\fIsubject\fP," int \fIlength\fP, int \fIstartoffset\fP,
37 .ti +5n
38 .B int \fIoptions\fP, int *\fIovector\fP, int \fIovecsize\fP,
39 .ti +5n
40 .B int *\fIworkspace\fP, int \fIwscount\fP);
41 .PP
42 .B int pcre_copy_named_substring(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
43 .ti +5n
44 .B const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
45 .ti +5n
46 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, const char *\fIstringname\fP,
47 .ti +5n
48 .B char *\fIbuffer\fP, int \fIbuffersize\fP);
49 .PP
50 .B int pcre_copy_substring(const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
51 .ti +5n
52 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, int \fIstringnumber\fP, char *\fIbuffer\fP,
53 .ti +5n
54 .B int \fIbuffersize\fP);
55 .PP
56 .B int pcre_get_named_substring(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
57 .ti +5n
58 .B const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
59 .ti +5n
60 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, const char *\fIstringname\fP,
61 .ti +5n
62 .B const char **\fIstringptr\fP);
63 .PP
64 .B int pcre_get_stringnumber(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
65 .ti +5n
66 .B const char *\fIname\fP);
67 .PP
68 .B int pcre_get_stringtable_entries(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
69 .ti +5n
70 .B const char *\fIname\fP, char **\fIfirst\fP, char **\fIlast\fP);
71 .PP
72 .B int pcre_get_substring(const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
73 .ti +5n
74 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, int \fIstringnumber\fP,
75 .ti +5n
76 .B const char **\fIstringptr\fP);
77 .PP
78 .B int pcre_get_substring_list(const char *\fIsubject\fP,
79 .ti +5n
80 .B int *\fIovector\fP, int \fIstringcount\fP, "const char ***\fIlistptr\fP);"
81 .PP
82 .B void pcre_free_substring(const char *\fIstringptr\fP);
83 .PP
84 .B void pcre_free_substring_list(const char **\fIstringptr\fP);
85 .PP
86 .B const unsigned char *pcre_maketables(void);
87 .PP
88 .B int pcre_fullinfo(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, "const pcre_extra *\fIextra\fP,"
89 .ti +5n
90 .B int \fIwhat\fP, void *\fIwhere\fP);
91 .PP
92 .B int pcre_info(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, int *\fIoptptr\fP, int
93 .B *\fIfirstcharptr\fP);
94 .PP
95 .B int pcre_refcount(pcre *\fIcode\fP, int \fIadjust\fP);
96 .PP
97 .B int pcre_config(int \fIwhat\fP, void *\fIwhere\fP);
98 .PP
99 .B char *pcre_version(void);
100 .PP
101 .B void *(*pcre_malloc)(size_t);
102 .PP
103 .B void (*pcre_free)(void *);
104 .PP
105 .B void *(*pcre_stack_malloc)(size_t);
106 .PP
107 .B void (*pcre_stack_free)(void *);
108 .PP
109 .B int (*pcre_callout)(pcre_callout_block *);
110 .
111 .
113 .rs
114 .sp
115 PCRE has its own native API, which is described in this document. There are
116 also some wrapper functions that correspond to the POSIX regular expression
117 API. These are described in the
118 .\" HREF
119 \fBpcreposix\fP
120 .\"
121 documentation. Both of these APIs define a set of C function calls. A C++
122 wrapper is distributed with PCRE. It is documented in the
123 .\" HREF
124 \fBpcrecpp\fP
125 .\"
126 page.
127 .P
128 The native API C function prototypes are defined in the header file
129 \fBpcre.h\fP, and on Unix systems the library itself is called \fBlibpcre\fP.
130 It can normally be accessed by adding \fB-lpcre\fP to the command for linking
131 an application that uses PCRE. The header file defines the macros PCRE_MAJOR
132 and PCRE_MINOR to contain the major and minor release numbers for the library.
133 Applications can use these to include support for different releases of PCRE.
134 .P
135 The functions \fBpcre_compile()\fP, \fBpcre_compile2()\fP, \fBpcre_study()\fP,
136 and \fBpcre_exec()\fP are used for compiling and matching regular expressions
137 in a Perl-compatible manner. A sample program that demonstrates the simplest
138 way of using them is provided in the file called \fIpcredemo.c\fP in the source
139 distribution. The
140 .\" HREF
141 \fBpcresample\fP
142 .\"
143 documentation describes how to run it.
144 .P
145 A second matching function, \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP, which is not
146 Perl-compatible, is also provided. This uses a different algorithm for the
147 matching. The alternative algorithm finds all possible matches (at a given
148 point in the subject), and scans the subject just once. However, this algorithm
149 does not return captured substrings. A description of the two matching
150 algorithms and their advantages and disadvantages is given in the
151 .\" HREF
152 \fBpcrematching\fP
153 .\"
154 documentation.
155 .P
156 In addition to the main compiling and matching functions, there are convenience
157 functions for extracting captured substrings from a subject string that is
158 matched by \fBpcre_exec()\fP. They are:
159 .sp
160 \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP
161 \fBpcre_copy_named_substring()\fP
162 \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP
163 \fBpcre_get_named_substring()\fP
164 \fBpcre_get_substring_list()\fP
165 \fBpcre_get_stringnumber()\fP
166 \fBpcre_get_stringtable_entries()\fP
167 .sp
168 \fBpcre_free_substring()\fP and \fBpcre_free_substring_list()\fP are also
169 provided, to free the memory used for extracted strings.
170 .P
171 The function \fBpcre_maketables()\fP is used to build a set of character tables
172 in the current locale for passing to \fBpcre_compile()\fP, \fBpcre_exec()\fP,
173 or \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP. This is an optional facility that is provided for
174 specialist use. Most commonly, no special tables are passed, in which case
175 internal tables that are generated when PCRE is built are used.
176 .P
177 The function \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP is used to find out information about a
178 compiled pattern; \fBpcre_info()\fP is an obsolete version that returns only
179 some of the available information, but is retained for backwards compatibility.
180 The function \fBpcre_version()\fP returns a pointer to a string containing the
181 version of PCRE and its date of release.
182 .P
183 The function \fBpcre_refcount()\fP maintains a reference count in a data block
184 containing a compiled pattern. This is provided for the benefit of
185 object-oriented applications.
186 .P
187 The global variables \fBpcre_malloc\fP and \fBpcre_free\fP initially contain
188 the entry points of the standard \fBmalloc()\fP and \fBfree()\fP functions,
189 respectively. PCRE calls the memory management functions via these variables,
190 so a calling program can replace them if it wishes to intercept the calls. This
191 should be done before calling any PCRE functions.
192 .P
193 The global variables \fBpcre_stack_malloc\fP and \fBpcre_stack_free\fP are also
194 indirections to memory management functions. These special functions are used
195 only when PCRE is compiled to use the heap for remembering data, instead of
196 recursive function calls, when running the \fBpcre_exec()\fP function. See the
197 .\" HREF
198 \fBpcrebuild\fP
199 .\"
200 documentation for details of how to do this. It is a non-standard way of
201 building PCRE, for use in environments that have limited stacks. Because of the
202 greater use of memory management, it runs more slowly. Separate functions are
203 provided so that special-purpose external code can be used for this case. When
204 used, these functions are always called in a stack-like manner (last obtained,
205 first freed), and always for memory blocks of the same size. There is a
206 discussion about PCRE's stack usage in the
207 .\" HREF
208 \fBpcrestack\fP
209 .\"
210 documentation.
211 .P
212 The global variable \fBpcre_callout\fP initially contains NULL. It can be set
213 by the caller to a "callout" function, which PCRE will then call at specified
214 points during a matching operation. Details are given in the
215 .\" HREF
216 \fBpcrecallout\fP
217 .\"
218 documentation.
219 .
220 .
222 .rs
223 .sp
224 PCRE supports five different conventions for indicating line breaks in
225 strings: a single CR (carriage return) character, a single LF (linefeed)
226 character, the two-character sequence CRLF, any of the three preceding, or any
227 Unicode newline sequence. The Unicode newline sequences are the three just
228 mentioned, plus the single characters VT (vertical tab, U+000B), FF (formfeed,
229 U+000C), NEL (next line, U+0085), LS (line separator, U+2028), and PS
230 (paragraph separator, U+2029).
231 .P
232 Each of the first three conventions is used by at least one operating system as
233 its standard newline sequence. When PCRE is built, a default can be specified.
234 The default default is LF, which is the Unix standard. When PCRE is run, the
235 default can be overridden, either when a pattern is compiled, or when it is
236 matched.
237 .P
238 In the PCRE documentation the word "newline" is used to mean "the character or
239 pair of characters that indicate a line break". The choice of newline
240 convention affects the handling of the dot, circumflex, and dollar
241 metacharacters, the handling of #-comments in /x mode, and, when CRLF is a
242 recognized line ending sequence, the match position advancement for a
243 non-anchored pattern. The choice of newline convention does not affect the
244 interpretation of the \en or \er escape sequences.
245 .
246 .
248 .rs
249 .sp
250 The PCRE functions can be used in multi-threading applications, with the
251 proviso that the memory management functions pointed to by \fBpcre_malloc\fP,
252 \fBpcre_free\fP, \fBpcre_stack_malloc\fP, and \fBpcre_stack_free\fP, and the
253 callout function pointed to by \fBpcre_callout\fP, are shared by all threads.
254 .P
255 The compiled form of a regular expression is not altered during matching, so
256 the same compiled pattern can safely be used by several threads at once.
257 .
258 .
260 .rs
261 .sp
262 The compiled form of a regular expression can be saved and re-used at a later
263 time, possibly by a different program, and even on a host other than the one on
264 which it was compiled. Details are given in the
265 .\" HREF
266 \fBpcreprecompile\fP
267 .\"
268 documentation. However, compiling a regular expression with one version of PCRE
269 for use with a different version is not guaranteed to work and may cause
270 crashes.
271 .
272 .
274 .rs
275 .sp
276 .B int pcre_config(int \fIwhat\fP, void *\fIwhere\fP);
277 .PP
278 The function \fBpcre_config()\fP makes it possible for a PCRE client to
279 discover which optional features have been compiled into the PCRE library. The
280 .\" HREF
281 \fBpcrebuild\fP
282 .\"
283 documentation has more details about these optional features.
284 .P
285 The first argument for \fBpcre_config()\fP is an integer, specifying which
286 information is required; the second argument is a pointer to a variable into
287 which the information is placed. The following information is available:
288 .sp
290 .sp
291 The output is an integer that is set to one if UTF-8 support is available;
292 otherwise it is set to zero.
293 .sp
295 .sp
296 The output is an integer that is set to one if support for Unicode character
297 properties is available; otherwise it is set to zero.
298 .sp
300 .sp
301 The output is an integer whose value specifies the default character sequence
302 that is recognized as meaning "newline". The four values that are supported
303 are: 10 for LF, 13 for CR, 3338 for CRLF, -2 for ANYCRLF, and -1 for ANY. The
304 default should normally be the standard sequence for your operating system.
305 .sp
307 .sp
308 The output is an integer that contains the number of bytes used for internal
309 linkage in compiled regular expressions. The value is 2, 3, or 4. Larger values
310 allow larger regular expressions to be compiled, at the expense of slower
311 matching. The default value of 2 is sufficient for all but the most massive
312 patterns, since it allows the compiled pattern to be up to 64K in size.
313 .sp
315 .sp
316 The output is an integer that contains the threshold above which the POSIX
317 interface uses \fBmalloc()\fP for output vectors. Further details are given in
318 the
319 .\" HREF
320 \fBpcreposix\fP
321 .\"
322 documentation.
323 .sp
325 .sp
326 The output is an integer that gives the default limit for the number of
327 internal matching function calls in a \fBpcre_exec()\fP execution. Further
328 details are given with \fBpcre_exec()\fP below.
329 .sp
331 .sp
332 The output is an integer that gives the default limit for the depth of
333 recursion when calling the internal matching function in a \fBpcre_exec()\fP
334 execution. Further details are given with \fBpcre_exec()\fP below.
335 .sp
337 .sp
338 The output is an integer that is set to one if internal recursion when running
339 \fBpcre_exec()\fP is implemented by recursive function calls that use the stack
340 to remember their state. This is the usual way that PCRE is compiled. The
341 output is zero if PCRE was compiled to use blocks of data on the heap instead
342 of recursive function calls. In this case, \fBpcre_stack_malloc\fP and
343 \fBpcre_stack_free\fP are called to manage memory blocks on the heap, thus
344 avoiding the use of the stack.
345 .
346 .
348 .rs
349 .sp
350 .B pcre *pcre_compile(const char *\fIpattern\fP, int \fIoptions\fP,
351 .ti +5n
352 .B const char **\fIerrptr\fP, int *\fIerroffset\fP,
353 .ti +5n
354 .B const unsigned char *\fItableptr\fP);
355 .sp
356 .B pcre *pcre_compile2(const char *\fIpattern\fP, int \fIoptions\fP,
357 .ti +5n
358 .B int *\fIerrorcodeptr\fP,
359 .ti +5n
360 .B const char **\fIerrptr\fP, int *\fIerroffset\fP,
361 .ti +5n
362 .B const unsigned char *\fItableptr\fP);
363 .P
364 Either of the functions \fBpcre_compile()\fP or \fBpcre_compile2()\fP can be
365 called to compile a pattern into an internal form. The only difference between
366 the two interfaces is that \fBpcre_compile2()\fP has an additional argument,
367 \fIerrorcodeptr\fP, via which a numerical error code can be returned.
368 .P
369 The pattern is a C string terminated by a binary zero, and is passed in the
370 \fIpattern\fP argument. A pointer to a single block of memory that is obtained
371 via \fBpcre_malloc\fP is returned. This contains the compiled code and related
372 data. The \fBpcre\fP type is defined for the returned block; this is a typedef
373 for a structure whose contents are not externally defined. It is up to the
374 caller to free the memory (via \fBpcre_free\fP) when it is no longer required.
375 .P
376 Although the compiled code of a PCRE regex is relocatable, that is, it does not
377 depend on memory location, the complete \fBpcre\fP data block is not
378 fully relocatable, because it may contain a copy of the \fItableptr\fP
379 argument, which is an address (see below).
380 .P
381 The \fIoptions\fP argument contains various bit settings that affect the
382 compilation. It should be zero if no options are required. The available
383 options are described below. Some of them, in particular, those that are
384 compatible with Perl, can also be set and unset from within the pattern (see
385 the detailed description in the
386 .\" HREF
387 \fBpcrepattern\fP
388 .\"
389 documentation). For these options, the contents of the \fIoptions\fP argument
390 specifies their initial settings at the start of compilation and execution. The
391 PCRE_ANCHORED and PCRE_NEWLINE_\fIxxx\fP options can be set at the time of
392 matching as well as at compile time.
393 .P
394 If \fIerrptr\fP is NULL, \fBpcre_compile()\fP returns NULL immediately.
395 Otherwise, if compilation of a pattern fails, \fBpcre_compile()\fP returns
396 NULL, and sets the variable pointed to by \fIerrptr\fP to point to a textual
397 error message. This is a static string that is part of the library. You must
398 not try to free it. The offset from the start of the pattern to the character
399 where the error was discovered is placed in the variable pointed to by
400 \fIerroffset\fP, which must not be NULL. If it is, an immediate error is given.
401 .P
402 If \fBpcre_compile2()\fP is used instead of \fBpcre_compile()\fP, and the
403 \fIerrorcodeptr\fP argument is not NULL, a non-zero error code number is
404 returned via this argument in the event of an error. This is in addition to the
405 textual error message. Error codes and messages are listed below.
406 .P
407 If the final argument, \fItableptr\fP, is NULL, PCRE uses a default set of
408 character tables that are built when PCRE is compiled, using the default C
409 locale. Otherwise, \fItableptr\fP must be an address that is the result of a
410 call to \fBpcre_maketables()\fP. This value is stored with the compiled
411 pattern, and used again by \fBpcre_exec()\fP, unless another table pointer is
412 passed to it. For more discussion, see the section on locale support below.
413 .P
414 This code fragment shows a typical straightforward call to \fBpcre_compile()\fP:
415 .sp
416 pcre *re;
417 const char *error;
418 int erroffset;
419 re = pcre_compile(
420 "^A.*Z", /* the pattern */
421 0, /* default options */
422 &error, /* for error message */
423 &erroffset, /* for error offset */
424 NULL); /* use default character tables */
425 .sp
426 The following names for option bits are defined in the \fBpcre.h\fP header
427 file:
428 .sp
430 .sp
431 If this bit is set, the pattern is forced to be "anchored", that is, it is
432 constrained to match only at the first matching point in the string that is
433 being searched (the "subject string"). This effect can also be achieved by
434 appropriate constructs in the pattern itself, which is the only way to do it in
435 Perl.
436 .sp
438 .sp
439 If this bit is set, \fBpcre_compile()\fP automatically inserts callout items,
440 all with number 255, before each pattern item. For discussion of the callout
441 facility, see the
442 .\" HREF
443 \fBpcrecallout\fP
444 .\"
445 documentation.
446 .sp
448 .sp
449 If this bit is set, letters in the pattern match both upper and lower case
450 letters. It is equivalent to Perl's /i option, and it can be changed within a
451 pattern by a (?i) option setting. In UTF-8 mode, PCRE always understands the
452 concept of case for characters whose values are less than 128, so caseless
453 matching is always possible. For characters with higher values, the concept of
454 case is supported if PCRE is compiled with Unicode property support, but not
455 otherwise. If you want to use caseless matching for characters 128 and above,
456 you must ensure that PCRE is compiled with Unicode property support as well as
457 with UTF-8 support.
458 .sp
460 .sp
461 If this bit is set, a dollar metacharacter in the pattern matches only at the
462 end of the subject string. Without this option, a dollar also matches
463 immediately before a newline at the end of the string (but not before any other
464 newlines). The PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY option is ignored if PCRE_MULTILINE is set.
465 There is no equivalent to this option in Perl, and no way to set it within a
466 pattern.
467 .sp
469 .sp
470 If this bit is set, a dot metacharater in the pattern matches all characters,
471 including those that indicate newline. Without it, a dot does not match when
472 the current position is at a newline. This option is equivalent to Perl's /s
473 option, and it can be changed within a pattern by a (?s) option setting. A
474 negative class such as [^a] always matches newline characters, independent of
475 the setting of this option.
476 .sp
478 .sp
479 If this bit is set, names used to identify capturing subpatterns need not be
480 unique. This can be helpful for certain types of pattern when it is known that
481 only one instance of the named subpattern can ever be matched. There are more
482 details of named subpatterns below; see also the
483 .\" HREF
484 \fBpcrepattern\fP
485 .\"
486 documentation.
487 .sp
489 .sp
490 If this bit is set, whitespace data characters in the pattern are totally
491 ignored except when escaped or inside a character class. Whitespace does not
492 include the VT character (code 11). In addition, characters between an
493 unescaped # outside a character class and the next newline, inclusive, are also
494 ignored. This is equivalent to Perl's /x option, and it can be changed within a
495 pattern by a (?x) option setting.
496 .P
497 This option makes it possible to include comments inside complicated patterns.
498 Note, however, that this applies only to data characters. Whitespace characters
499 may never appear within special character sequences in a pattern, for example
500 within the sequence (?( which introduces a conditional subpattern.
501 .sp
503 .sp
504 This option was invented in order to turn on additional functionality of PCRE
505 that is incompatible with Perl, but it is currently of very little use. When
506 set, any backslash in a pattern that is followed by a letter that has no
507 special meaning causes an error, thus reserving these combinations for future
508 expansion. By default, as in Perl, a backslash followed by a letter with no
509 special meaning is treated as a literal. (Perl can, however, be persuaded to
510 give a warning for this.) There are at present no other features controlled by
511 this option. It can also be set by a (?X) option setting within a pattern.
512 .sp
514 .sp
515 If this option is set, an unanchored pattern is required to match before or at
516 the first newline in the subject string, though the matched text may continue
517 over the newline.
518 .sp
520 .sp
521 By default, PCRE treats the subject string as consisting of a single line of
522 characters (even if it actually contains newlines). The "start of line"
523 metacharacter (^) matches only at the start of the string, while the "end of
524 line" metacharacter ($) matches only at the end of the string, or before a
525 terminating newline (unless PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY is set). This is the same as
526 Perl.
527 .P
528 When PCRE_MULTILINE it is set, the "start of line" and "end of line" constructs
529 match immediately following or immediately before internal newlines in the
530 subject string, respectively, as well as at the very start and end. This is
531 equivalent to Perl's /m option, and it can be changed within a pattern by a
532 (?m) option setting. If there are no newlines in a subject string, or no
533 occurrences of ^ or $ in a pattern, setting PCRE_MULTILINE has no effect.
534 .sp
540 .sp
541 These options override the default newline definition that was chosen when PCRE
542 was built. Setting the first or the second specifies that a newline is
543 indicated by a single character (CR or LF, respectively). Setting
544 PCRE_NEWLINE_CRLF specifies that a newline is indicated by the two-character
545 CRLF sequence. Setting PCRE_NEWLINE_ANYCRLF specifies that any of the three
546 preceding sequences should be recognized. Setting PCRE_NEWLINE_ANY specifies
547 that any Unicode newline sequence should be recognized. The Unicode newline
548 sequences are the three just mentioned, plus the single characters VT (vertical
549 tab, U+000B), FF (formfeed, U+000C), NEL (next line, U+0085), LS (line
550 separator, U+2028), and PS (paragraph separator, U+2029). The last two are
551 recognized only in UTF-8 mode.
552 .P
553 The newline setting in the options word uses three bits that are treated
554 as a number, giving eight possibilities. Currently only six are used (default
555 plus the five values above). This means that if you set more than one newline
556 option, the combination may or may not be sensible. For example,
558 other combinations may yield unused numbers and cause an error.
559 .P
560 The only time that a line break is specially recognized when compiling a
561 pattern is if PCRE_EXTENDED is set, and an unescaped # outside a character
562 class is encountered. This indicates a comment that lasts until after the next
563 line break sequence. In other circumstances, line break sequences are treated
564 as literal data, except that in PCRE_EXTENDED mode, both CR and LF are treated
565 as whitespace characters and are therefore ignored.
566 .P
567 The newline option that is set at compile time becomes the default that is used
568 for \fBpcre_exec()\fP and \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP, but it can be overridden.
569 .sp
571 .sp
572 If this option is set, it disables the use of numbered capturing parentheses in
573 the pattern. Any opening parenthesis that is not followed by ? behaves as if it
574 were followed by ?: but named parentheses can still be used for capturing (and
575 they acquire numbers in the usual way). There is no equivalent of this option
576 in Perl.
577 .sp
579 .sp
580 This option inverts the "greediness" of the quantifiers so that they are not
581 greedy by default, but become greedy if followed by "?". It is not compatible
582 with Perl. It can also be set by a (?U) option setting within the pattern.
583 .sp
585 .sp
586 This option causes PCRE to regard both the pattern and the subject as strings
587 of UTF-8 characters instead of single-byte character strings. However, it is
588 available only when PCRE is built to include UTF-8 support. If not, the use
589 of this option provokes an error. Details of how this option changes the
590 behaviour of PCRE are given in the
591 .\" HTML <a href="pcre.html#utf8support">
592 .\" </a>
593 section on UTF-8 support
594 .\"
595 in the main
596 .\" HREF
597 \fBpcre\fP
598 .\"
599 page.
600 .sp
602 .sp
603 When PCRE_UTF8 is set, the validity of the pattern as a UTF-8 string is
604 automatically checked. There is a discussion about the
605 .\" HTML <a href="pcre.html#utf8strings">
606 .\" </a>
607 validity of UTF-8 strings
608 .\"
609 in the main
610 .\" HREF
611 \fBpcre\fP
612 .\"
613 page. If an invalid UTF-8 sequence of bytes is found, \fBpcre_compile()\fP
614 returns an error. If you already know that your pattern is valid, and you want
615 to skip this check for performance reasons, you can set the PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK
616 option. When it is set, the effect of passing an invalid UTF-8 string as a
617 pattern is undefined. It may cause your program to crash. Note that this option
618 can also be passed to \fBpcre_exec()\fP and \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP, to suppress
619 the UTF-8 validity checking of subject strings.
620 .
621 .
623 .rs
624 .sp
625 The following table lists the error codes than may be returned by
626 \fBpcre_compile2()\fP, along with the error messages that may be returned by
627 both compiling functions. As PCRE has developed, some error codes have fallen
628 out of use. To avoid confusion, they have not been re-used.
629 .sp
630 0 no error
631 1 \e at end of pattern
632 2 \ec at end of pattern
633 3 unrecognized character follows \e
634 4 numbers out of order in {} quantifier
635 5 number too big in {} quantifier
636 6 missing terminating ] for character class
637 7 invalid escape sequence in character class
638 8 range out of order in character class
639 9 nothing to repeat
640 10 [this code is not in use]
641 11 internal error: unexpected repeat
642 12 unrecognized character after (?
643 13 POSIX named classes are supported only within a class
644 14 missing )
645 15 reference to non-existent subpattern
646 16 erroffset passed as NULL
647 17 unknown option bit(s) set
648 18 missing ) after comment
649 19 [this code is not in use]
650 20 regular expression too large
651 21 failed to get memory
652 22 unmatched parentheses
653 23 internal error: code overflow
654 24 unrecognized character after (?<
655 25 lookbehind assertion is not fixed length
656 26 malformed number or name after (?(
657 27 conditional group contains more than two branches
658 28 assertion expected after (?(
659 29 (?R or (?[+-]digits must be followed by )
660 30 unknown POSIX class name
661 31 POSIX collating elements are not supported
662 32 this version of PCRE is not compiled with PCRE_UTF8 support
663 33 [this code is not in use]
664 34 character value in \ex{...} sequence is too large
665 35 invalid condition (?(0)
666 36 \eC not allowed in lookbehind assertion
667 37 PCRE does not support \eL, \el, \eN, \eU, or \eu
668 38 number after (?C is > 255
669 39 closing ) for (?C expected
670 40 recursive call could loop indefinitely
671 41 unrecognized character after (?P
672 42 syntax error in subpattern name (missing terminator)
673 43 two named subpatterns have the same name
674 44 invalid UTF-8 string
675 45 support for \eP, \ep, and \eX has not been compiled
676 46 malformed \eP or \ep sequence
677 47 unknown property name after \eP or \ep
678 48 subpattern name is too long (maximum 32 characters)
679 49 too many named subpatterns (maximum 10,000)
680 50 [this code is not in use]
681 51 octal value is greater than \e377 (not in UTF-8 mode)
682 52 internal error: overran compiling workspace
683 53 internal error: previously-checked referenced subpattern not found
684 54 DEFINE group contains more than one branch
685 55 repeating a DEFINE group is not allowed
686 56 inconsistent NEWLINE options"
687 57 \eg is not followed by a braced name or an optionally braced
688 non-zero number
689 58 (?+ or (?- or (?(+ or (?(- must be followed by a non-zero number
690 .
691 .
693 .rs
694 .sp
695 .B pcre_extra *pcre_study(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, int \fIoptions\fP
696 .ti +5n
697 .B const char **\fIerrptr\fP);
698 .PP
699 If a compiled pattern is going to be used several times, it is worth spending
700 more time analyzing it in order to speed up the time taken for matching. The
701 function \fBpcre_study()\fP takes a pointer to a compiled pattern as its first
702 argument. If studying the pattern produces additional information that will
703 help speed up matching, \fBpcre_study()\fP returns a pointer to a
704 \fBpcre_extra\fP block, in which the \fIstudy_data\fP field points to the
705 results of the study.
706 .P
707 The returned value from \fBpcre_study()\fP can be passed directly to
708 \fBpcre_exec()\fP. However, a \fBpcre_extra\fP block also contains other
709 fields that can be set by the caller before the block is passed; these are
710 described
711 .\" HTML <a href="#extradata">
712 .\" </a>
713 below
714 .\"
715 in the section on matching a pattern.
716 .P
717 If studying the pattern does not produce any additional information
718 \fBpcre_study()\fP returns NULL. In that circumstance, if the calling program
719 wants to pass any of the other fields to \fBpcre_exec()\fP, it must set up its
720 own \fBpcre_extra\fP block.
721 .P
722 The second argument of \fBpcre_study()\fP contains option bits. At present, no
723 options are defined, and this argument should always be zero.
724 .P
725 The third argument for \fBpcre_study()\fP is a pointer for an error message. If
726 studying succeeds (even if no data is returned), the variable it points to is
727 set to NULL. Otherwise it is set to point to a textual error message. This is a
728 static string that is part of the library. You must not try to free it. You
729 should test the error pointer for NULL after calling \fBpcre_study()\fP, to be
730 sure that it has run successfully.
731 .P
732 This is a typical call to \fBpcre_study\fP():
733 .sp
734 pcre_extra *pe;
735 pe = pcre_study(
736 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
737 0, /* no options exist */
738 &error); /* set to NULL or points to a message */
739 .sp
740 At present, studying a pattern is useful only for non-anchored patterns that do
741 not have a single fixed starting character. A bitmap of possible starting
742 bytes is created.
743 .
744 .
745 .\" HTML <a name="localesupport"></a>
747 .rs
748 .sp
749 PCRE handles caseless matching, and determines whether characters are letters,
750 digits, or whatever, by reference to a set of tables, indexed by character
751 value. When running in UTF-8 mode, this applies only to characters with codes
752 less than 128. Higher-valued codes never match escapes such as \ew or \ed, but
753 can be tested with \ep if PCRE is built with Unicode character property
754 support. The use of locales with Unicode is discouraged. If you are handling
755 characters with codes greater than 128, you should either use UTF-8 and
756 Unicode, or use locales, but not try to mix the two.
757 .P
758 PCRE contains an internal set of tables that are used when the final argument
759 of \fBpcre_compile()\fP is NULL. These are sufficient for many applications.
760 Normally, the internal tables recognize only ASCII characters. However, when
761 PCRE is built, it is possible to cause the internal tables to be rebuilt in the
762 default "C" locale of the local system, which may cause them to be different.
763 .P
764 The internal tables can always be overridden by tables supplied by the
765 application that calls PCRE. These may be created in a different locale from
766 the default. As more and more applications change to using Unicode, the need
767 for this locale support is expected to die away.
768 .P
769 External tables are built by calling the \fBpcre_maketables()\fP function,
770 which has no arguments, in the relevant locale. The result can then be passed
771 to \fBpcre_compile()\fP or \fBpcre_exec()\fP as often as necessary. For
772 example, to build and use tables that are appropriate for the French locale
773 (where accented characters with values greater than 128 are treated as letters),
774 the following code could be used:
775 .sp
776 setlocale(LC_CTYPE, "fr_FR");
777 tables = pcre_maketables();
778 re = pcre_compile(..., tables);
779 .sp
780 The locale name "fr_FR" is used on Linux and other Unix-like systems; if you
781 are using Windows, the name for the French locale is "french".
782 .P
783 When \fBpcre_maketables()\fP runs, the tables are built in memory that is
784 obtained via \fBpcre_malloc\fP. It is the caller's responsibility to ensure
785 that the memory containing the tables remains available for as long as it is
786 needed.
787 .P
788 The pointer that is passed to \fBpcre_compile()\fP is saved with the compiled
789 pattern, and the same tables are used via this pointer by \fBpcre_study()\fP
790 and normally also by \fBpcre_exec()\fP. Thus, by default, for any single
791 pattern, compilation, studying and matching all happen in the same locale, but
792 different patterns can be compiled in different locales.
793 .P
794 It is possible to pass a table pointer or NULL (indicating the use of the
795 internal tables) to \fBpcre_exec()\fP. Although not intended for this purpose,
796 this facility could be used to match a pattern in a different locale from the
797 one in which it was compiled. Passing table pointers at run time is discussed
798 below in the section on matching a pattern.
799 .
800 .
802 .rs
803 .sp
804 .B int pcre_fullinfo(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, "const pcre_extra *\fIextra\fP,"
805 .ti +5n
806 .B int \fIwhat\fP, void *\fIwhere\fP);
807 .PP
808 The \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP function returns information about a compiled
809 pattern. It replaces the obsolete \fBpcre_info()\fP function, which is
810 nevertheless retained for backwards compability (and is documented below).
811 .P
812 The first argument for \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP is a pointer to the compiled
813 pattern. The second argument is the result of \fBpcre_study()\fP, or NULL if
814 the pattern was not studied. The third argument specifies which piece of
815 information is required, and the fourth argument is a pointer to a variable
816 to receive the data. The yield of the function is zero for success, or one of
817 the following negative numbers:
818 .sp
819 PCRE_ERROR_NULL the argument \fIcode\fP was NULL
820 the argument \fIwhere\fP was NULL
821 PCRE_ERROR_BADMAGIC the "magic number" was not found
822 PCRE_ERROR_BADOPTION the value of \fIwhat\fP was invalid
823 .sp
824 The "magic number" is placed at the start of each compiled pattern as an simple
825 check against passing an arbitrary memory pointer. Here is a typical call of
826 \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP, to obtain the length of the compiled pattern:
827 .sp
828 int rc;
829 size_t length;
830 rc = pcre_fullinfo(
831 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
832 pe, /* result of pcre_study(), or NULL */
833 PCRE_INFO_SIZE, /* what is required */
834 &length); /* where to put the data */
835 .sp
836 The possible values for the third argument are defined in \fBpcre.h\fP, and are
837 as follows:
838 .sp
840 .sp
841 Return the number of the highest back reference in the pattern. The fourth
842 argument should point to an \fBint\fP variable. Zero is returned if there are
843 no back references.
844 .sp
846 .sp
847 Return the number of capturing subpatterns in the pattern. The fourth argument
848 should point to an \fBint\fP variable.
849 .sp
851 .sp
852 Return a pointer to the internal default character tables within PCRE. The
853 fourth argument should point to an \fBunsigned char *\fP variable. This
854 information call is provided for internal use by the \fBpcre_study()\fP
855 function. External callers can cause PCRE to use its internal tables by passing
856 a NULL table pointer.
857 .sp
859 .sp
860 Return information about the first byte of any matched string, for a
861 non-anchored pattern. The fourth argument should point to an \fBint\fP
862 variable. (This option used to be called PCRE_INFO_FIRSTCHAR; the old name is
863 still recognized for backwards compatibility.)
864 .P
865 If there is a fixed first byte, for example, from a pattern such as
866 (cat|cow|coyote), its value is returned. Otherwise, if either
867 .sp
868 (a) the pattern was compiled with the PCRE_MULTILINE option, and every branch
869 starts with "^", or
870 .sp
871 (b) every branch of the pattern starts with ".*" and PCRE_DOTALL is not set
872 (if it were set, the pattern would be anchored),
873 .sp
874 -1 is returned, indicating that the pattern matches only at the start of a
875 subject string or after any newline within the string. Otherwise -2 is
876 returned. For anchored patterns, -2 is returned.
877 .sp
879 .sp
880 If the pattern was studied, and this resulted in the construction of a 256-bit
881 table indicating a fixed set of bytes for the first byte in any matching
882 string, a pointer to the table is returned. Otherwise NULL is returned. The
883 fourth argument should point to an \fBunsigned char *\fP variable.
884 .sp
886 .sp
887 Return 1 if the (?J) option setting is used in the pattern, otherwise 0. The
888 fourth argument should point to an \fBint\fP variable. The (?J) internal option
889 setting changes the local PCRE_DUPNAMES option.
890 .sp
892 .sp
893 Return the value of the rightmost literal byte that must exist in any matched
894 string, other than at its start, if such a byte has been recorded. The fourth
895 argument should point to an \fBint\fP variable. If there is no such byte, -1 is
896 returned. For anchored patterns, a last literal byte is recorded only if it
897 follows something of variable length. For example, for the pattern
898 /^a\ed+z\ed+/ the returned value is "z", but for /^a\edz\ed/ the returned value
899 is -1.
900 .sp
904 .sp
905 PCRE supports the use of named as well as numbered capturing parentheses. The
906 names are just an additional way of identifying the parentheses, which still
907 acquire numbers. Several convenience functions such as
908 \fBpcre_get_named_substring()\fP are provided for extracting captured
909 substrings by name. It is also possible to extract the data directly, by first
910 converting the name to a number in order to access the correct pointers in the
911 output vector (described with \fBpcre_exec()\fP below). To do the conversion,
912 you need to use the name-to-number map, which is described by these three
913 values.
914 .P
915 The map consists of a number of fixed-size entries. PCRE_INFO_NAMECOUNT gives
916 the number of entries, and PCRE_INFO_NAMEENTRYSIZE gives the size of each
917 entry; both of these return an \fBint\fP value. The entry size depends on the
918 length of the longest name. PCRE_INFO_NAMETABLE returns a pointer to the first
919 entry of the table (a pointer to \fBchar\fP). The first two bytes of each entry
920 are the number of the capturing parenthesis, most significant byte first. The
921 rest of the entry is the corresponding name, zero terminated. The names are in
922 alphabetical order. When PCRE_DUPNAMES is set, duplicate names are in order of
923 their parentheses numbers. For example, consider the following pattern (assume
924 PCRE_EXTENDED is set, so white space - including newlines - is ignored):
925 .sp
926 .\" JOIN
927 (?<date> (?<year>(\ed\ed)?\ed\ed) -
928 (?<month>\ed\ed) - (?<day>\ed\ed) )
929 .sp
930 There are four named subpatterns, so the table has four entries, and each entry
931 in the table is eight bytes long. The table is as follows, with non-printing
932 bytes shows in hexadecimal, and undefined bytes shown as ??:
933 .sp
934 00 01 d a t e 00 ??
935 00 05 d a y 00 ?? ??
936 00 04 m o n t h 00
937 00 02 y e a r 00 ??
938 .sp
939 When writing code to extract data from named subpatterns using the
940 name-to-number map, remember that the length of the entries is likely to be
941 different for each compiled pattern.
942 .sp
944 .sp
945 Return 1 if the pattern can be used for partial matching, otherwise 0. The
946 fourth argument should point to an \fBint\fP variable. The
947 .\" HREF
948 \fBpcrepartial\fP
949 .\"
950 documentation lists the restrictions that apply to patterns when partial
951 matching is used.
952 .sp
954 .sp
955 Return a copy of the options with which the pattern was compiled. The fourth
956 argument should point to an \fBunsigned long int\fP variable. These option bits
957 are those specified in the call to \fBpcre_compile()\fP, modified by any
958 top-level option settings at the start of the pattern itself. In other words,
959 they are the options that will be in force when matching starts. For example,
960 if the pattern /(?im)abc(?-i)d/ is compiled with the PCRE_EXTENDED option, the
962 .P
963 A pattern is automatically anchored by PCRE if all of its top-level
964 alternatives begin with one of the following:
965 .sp
966 ^ unless PCRE_MULTILINE is set
967 \eA always
968 \eG always
969 .\" JOIN
970 .* if PCRE_DOTALL is set and there are no back
971 references to the subpattern in which .* appears
972 .sp
973 For such patterns, the PCRE_ANCHORED bit is set in the options returned by
974 \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP.
975 .sp
977 .sp
978 Return the size of the compiled pattern, that is, the value that was passed as
979 the argument to \fBpcre_malloc()\fP when PCRE was getting memory in which to
980 place the compiled data. The fourth argument should point to a \fBsize_t\fP
981 variable.
982 .sp
984 .sp
985 Return the size of the data block pointed to by the \fIstudy_data\fP field in
986 a \fBpcre_extra\fP block. That is, it is the value that was passed to
987 \fBpcre_malloc()\fP when PCRE was getting memory into which to place the data
988 created by \fBpcre_study()\fP. The fourth argument should point to a
989 \fBsize_t\fP variable.
990 .
991 .
993 .rs
994 .sp
995 .B int pcre_info(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, int *\fIoptptr\fP, int
996 .B *\fIfirstcharptr\fP);
997 .PP
998 The \fBpcre_info()\fP function is now obsolete because its interface is too
999 restrictive to return all the available data about a compiled pattern. New
1000 programs should use \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP instead. The yield of
1001 \fBpcre_info()\fP is the number of capturing subpatterns, or one of the
1002 following negative numbers:
1003 .sp
1004 PCRE_ERROR_NULL the argument \fIcode\fP was NULL
1005 PCRE_ERROR_BADMAGIC the "magic number" was not found
1006 .sp
1007 If the \fIoptptr\fP argument is not NULL, a copy of the options with which the
1008 pattern was compiled is placed in the integer it points to (see
1009 PCRE_INFO_OPTIONS above).
1010 .P
1011 If the pattern is not anchored and the \fIfirstcharptr\fP argument is not NULL,
1012 it is used to pass back information about the first character of any matched
1013 string (see PCRE_INFO_FIRSTBYTE above).
1014 .
1015 .
1017 .rs
1018 .sp
1019 .B int pcre_refcount(pcre *\fIcode\fP, int \fIadjust\fP);
1020 .PP
1021 The \fBpcre_refcount()\fP function is used to maintain a reference count in the
1022 data block that contains a compiled pattern. It is provided for the benefit of
1023 applications that operate in an object-oriented manner, where different parts
1024 of the application may be using the same compiled pattern, but you want to free
1025 the block when they are all done.
1026 .P
1027 When a pattern is compiled, the reference count field is initialized to zero.
1028 It is changed only by calling this function, whose action is to add the
1029 \fIadjust\fP value (which may be positive or negative) to it. The yield of the
1030 function is the new value. However, the value of the count is constrained to
1031 lie between 0 and 65535, inclusive. If the new value is outside these limits,
1032 it is forced to the appropriate limit value.
1033 .P
1034 Except when it is zero, the reference count is not correctly preserved if a
1035 pattern is compiled on one host and then transferred to a host whose byte-order
1036 is different. (This seems a highly unlikely scenario.)
1037 .
1038 .
1040 .rs
1041 .sp
1042 .B int pcre_exec(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, "const pcre_extra *\fIextra\fP,"
1043 .ti +5n
1044 .B "const char *\fIsubject\fP," int \fIlength\fP, int \fIstartoffset\fP,
1045 .ti +5n
1046 .B int \fIoptions\fP, int *\fIovector\fP, int \fIovecsize\fP);
1047 .P
1048 The function \fBpcre_exec()\fP is called to match a subject string against a
1049 compiled pattern, which is passed in the \fIcode\fP argument. If the
1050 pattern has been studied, the result of the study should be passed in the
1051 \fIextra\fP argument. This function is the main matching facility of the
1052 library, and it operates in a Perl-like manner. For specialist use there is
1053 also an alternative matching function, which is described
1054 .\" HTML <a href="#dfamatch">
1055 .\" </a>
1056 below
1057 .\"
1058 in the section about the \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP function.
1059 .P
1060 In most applications, the pattern will have been compiled (and optionally
1061 studied) in the same process that calls \fBpcre_exec()\fP. However, it is
1062 possible to save compiled patterns and study data, and then use them later
1063 in different processes, possibly even on different hosts. For a discussion
1064 about this, see the
1065 .\" HREF
1066 \fBpcreprecompile\fP
1067 .\"
1068 documentation.
1069 .P
1070 Here is an example of a simple call to \fBpcre_exec()\fP:
1071 .sp
1072 int rc;
1073 int ovector[30];
1074 rc = pcre_exec(
1075 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
1076 NULL, /* we didn't study the pattern */
1077 "some string", /* the subject string */
1078 11, /* the length of the subject string */
1079 0, /* start at offset 0 in the subject */
1080 0, /* default options */
1081 ovector, /* vector of integers for substring information */
1082 30); /* number of elements (NOT size in bytes) */
1083 .
1084 .\" HTML <a name="extradata"></a>
1085 .SS "Extra data for \fBpcre_exec()\fR"
1086 .rs
1087 .sp
1088 If the \fIextra\fP argument is not NULL, it must point to a \fBpcre_extra\fP
1089 data block. The \fBpcre_study()\fP function returns such a block (when it
1090 doesn't return NULL), but you can also create one for yourself, and pass
1091 additional information in it. The \fBpcre_extra\fP block contains the following
1092 fields (not necessarily in this order):
1093 .sp
1094 unsigned long int \fIflags\fP;
1095 void *\fIstudy_data\fP;
1096 unsigned long int \fImatch_limit\fP;
1097 unsigned long int \fImatch_limit_recursion\fP;
1098 void *\fIcallout_data\fP;
1099 const unsigned char *\fItables\fP;
1100 .sp
1101 The \fIflags\fP field is a bitmap that specifies which of the other fields
1102 are set. The flag bits are:
1103 .sp
1109 .sp
1110 Other flag bits should be set to zero. The \fIstudy_data\fP field is set in the
1111 \fBpcre_extra\fP block that is returned by \fBpcre_study()\fP, together with
1112 the appropriate flag bit. You should not set this yourself, but you may add to
1113 the block by setting the other fields and their corresponding flag bits.
1114 .P
1115 The \fImatch_limit\fP field provides a means of preventing PCRE from using up a
1116 vast amount of resources when running patterns that are not going to match,
1117 but which have a very large number of possibilities in their search trees. The
1118 classic example is the use of nested unlimited repeats.
1119 .P
1120 Internally, PCRE uses a function called \fBmatch()\fP which it calls repeatedly
1121 (sometimes recursively). The limit set by \fImatch_limit\fP is imposed on the
1122 number of times this function is called during a match, which has the effect of
1123 limiting the amount of backtracking that can take place. For patterns that are
1124 not anchored, the count restarts from zero for each position in the subject
1125 string.
1126 .P
1127 The default value for the limit can be set when PCRE is built; the default
1128 default is 10 million, which handles all but the most extreme cases. You can
1129 override the default by suppling \fBpcre_exec()\fP with a \fBpcre_extra\fP
1130 block in which \fImatch_limit\fP is set, and PCRE_EXTRA_MATCH_LIMIT is set in
1131 the \fIflags\fP field. If the limit is exceeded, \fBpcre_exec()\fP returns
1133 .P
1134 The \fImatch_limit_recursion\fP field is similar to \fImatch_limit\fP, but
1135 instead of limiting the total number of times that \fBmatch()\fP is called, it
1136 limits the depth of recursion. The recursion depth is a smaller number than the
1137 total number of calls, because not all calls to \fBmatch()\fP are recursive.
1138 This limit is of use only if it is set smaller than \fImatch_limit\fP.
1139 .P
1140 Limiting the recursion depth limits the amount of stack that can be used, or,
1141 when PCRE has been compiled to use memory on the heap instead of the stack, the
1142 amount of heap memory that can be used.
1143 .P
1144 The default value for \fImatch_limit_recursion\fP can be set when PCRE is
1145 built; the default default is the same value as the default for
1146 \fImatch_limit\fP. You can override the default by suppling \fBpcre_exec()\fP
1147 with a \fBpcre_extra\fP block in which \fImatch_limit_recursion\fP is set, and
1148 PCRE_EXTRA_MATCH_LIMIT_RECURSION is set in the \fIflags\fP field. If the limit
1149 is exceeded, \fBpcre_exec()\fP returns PCRE_ERROR_RECURSIONLIMIT.
1150 .P
1151 The \fIpcre_callout\fP field is used in conjunction with the "callout" feature,
1152 which is described in the
1153 .\" HREF
1154 \fBpcrecallout\fP
1155 .\"
1156 documentation.
1157 .P
1158 The \fItables\fP field is used to pass a character tables pointer to
1159 \fBpcre_exec()\fP; this overrides the value that is stored with the compiled
1160 pattern. A non-NULL value is stored with the compiled pattern only if custom
1161 tables were supplied to \fBpcre_compile()\fP via its \fItableptr\fP argument.
1162 If NULL is passed to \fBpcre_exec()\fP using this mechanism, it forces PCRE's
1163 internal tables to be used. This facility is helpful when re-using patterns
1164 that have been saved after compiling with an external set of tables, because
1165 the external tables might be at a different address when \fBpcre_exec()\fP is
1166 called. See the
1167 .\" HREF
1168 \fBpcreprecompile\fP
1169 .\"
1170 documentation for a discussion of saving compiled patterns for later use.
1171 .
1172 .SS "Option bits for \fBpcre_exec()\fP"
1173 .rs
1174 .sp
1175 The unused bits of the \fIoptions\fP argument for \fBpcre_exec()\fP must be
1176 zero. The only bits that may be set are PCRE_ANCHORED, PCRE_NEWLINE_\fIxxx\fP,
1178 .sp
1180 .sp
1181 The PCRE_ANCHORED option limits \fBpcre_exec()\fP to matching at the first
1182 matching position. If a pattern was compiled with PCRE_ANCHORED, or turned out
1183 to be anchored by virtue of its contents, it cannot be made unachored at
1184 matching time.
1185 .sp
1191 .sp
1192 These options override the newline definition that was chosen or defaulted when
1193 the pattern was compiled. For details, see the description of
1194 \fBpcre_compile()\fP above. During matching, the newline choice affects the
1195 behaviour of the dot, circumflex, and dollar metacharacters. It may also alter
1196 the way the match position is advanced after a match failure for an unanchored
1198 set, and a match attempt fails when the current position is at a CRLF sequence,
1199 the match position is advanced by two characters instead of one, in other
1200 words, to after the CRLF.
1201 .P
1202 Anomalous effects can occur when CRLF is a valid newline sequence and explicit
1203 \er or \en escapes appear in the pattern. For example, the string "\er\enA"
1204 matches the unanchored pattern \enA but not [X\en]A. This happens because, in
1205 the first case, PCRE knows that the match must start with \en, and so it skips
1206 there before trying to match. In the second case, it has no knowledge about the
1207 starting character, so it starts matching at the beginning of the string, and
1208 on failing, skips over the CRLF as described above. However, if the pattern is
1209 studied, the match succeeds, because then PCRE once again knows where to start.
1210 .sp
1212 .sp
1213 This option specifies that first character of the subject string is not the
1214 beginning of a line, so the circumflex metacharacter should not match before
1215 it. Setting this without PCRE_MULTILINE (at compile time) causes circumflex
1216 never to match. This option affects only the behaviour of the circumflex
1217 metacharacter. It does not affect \eA.
1218 .sp
1220 .sp
1221 This option specifies that the end of the subject string is not the end of a
1222 line, so the dollar metacharacter should not match it nor (except in multiline
1223 mode) a newline immediately before it. Setting this without PCRE_MULTILINE (at
1224 compile time) causes dollar never to match. This option affects only the
1225 behaviour of the dollar metacharacter. It does not affect \eZ or \ez.
1226 .sp
1228 .sp
1229 An empty string is not considered to be a valid match if this option is set. If
1230 there are alternatives in the pattern, they are tried. If all the alternatives
1231 match the empty string, the entire match fails. For example, if the pattern
1232 .sp
1233 a?b?
1234 .sp
1235 is applied to a string not beginning with "a" or "b", it matches the empty
1236 string at the start of the subject. With PCRE_NOTEMPTY set, this match is not
1237 valid, so PCRE searches further into the string for occurrences of "a" or "b".
1238 .P
1239 Perl has no direct equivalent of PCRE_NOTEMPTY, but it does make a special case
1240 of a pattern match of the empty string within its \fBsplit()\fP function, and
1241 when using the /g modifier. It is possible to emulate Perl's behaviour after
1242 matching a null string by first trying the match again at the same offset with
1243 PCRE_NOTEMPTY and PCRE_ANCHORED, and then if that fails by advancing the
1244 starting offset (see below) and trying an ordinary match again. There is some
1245 code that demonstrates how to do this in the \fIpcredemo.c\fP sample program.
1246 .sp
1248 .sp
1249 When PCRE_UTF8 is set at compile time, the validity of the subject as a UTF-8
1250 string is automatically checked when \fBpcre_exec()\fP is subsequently called.
1251 The value of \fIstartoffset\fP is also checked to ensure that it points to the
1252 start of a UTF-8 character. There is a discussion about the validity of UTF-8
1253 strings in the
1254 .\" HTML <a href="pcre.html#utf8strings">
1255 .\" </a>
1256 section on UTF-8 support
1257 .\"
1258 in the main
1259 .\" HREF
1260 \fBpcre\fP
1261 .\"
1262 page. If an invalid UTF-8 sequence of bytes is found, \fBpcre_exec()\fP returns
1263 the error PCRE_ERROR_BADUTF8. If \fIstartoffset\fP contains an invalid value,
1264 PCRE_ERROR_BADUTF8_OFFSET is returned.
1265 .P
1266 If you already know that your subject is valid, and you want to skip these
1267 checks for performance reasons, you can set the PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK option when
1268 calling \fBpcre_exec()\fP. You might want to do this for the second and
1269 subsequent calls to \fBpcre_exec()\fP if you are making repeated calls to find
1270 all the matches in a single subject string. However, you should be sure that
1271 the value of \fIstartoffset\fP points to the start of a UTF-8 character. When
1272 PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK is set, the effect of passing an invalid UTF-8 string as a
1273 subject, or a value of \fIstartoffset\fP that does not point to the start of a
1274 UTF-8 character, is undefined. Your program may crash.
1275 .sp
1277 .sp
1278 This option turns on the partial matching feature. If the subject string fails
1279 to match the pattern, but at some point during the matching process the end of
1280 the subject was reached (that is, the subject partially matches the pattern and
1281 the failure to match occurred only because there were not enough subject
1282 characters), \fBpcre_exec()\fP returns PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL instead of
1283 PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH. When PCRE_PARTIAL is used, there are restrictions on what
1284 may appear in the pattern. These are discussed in the
1285 .\" HREF
1286 \fBpcrepartial\fP
1287 .\"
1288 documentation.
1289 .
1290 .SS "The string to be matched by \fBpcre_exec()\fP"
1291 .rs
1292 .sp
1293 The subject string is passed to \fBpcre_exec()\fP as a pointer in
1294 \fIsubject\fP, a length in \fIlength\fP, and a starting byte offset in
1295 \fIstartoffset\fP. In UTF-8 mode, the byte offset must point to the start of a
1296 UTF-8 character. Unlike the pattern string, the subject may contain binary zero
1297 bytes. When the starting offset is zero, the search for a match starts at the
1298 beginning of the subject, and this is by far the most common case.
1299 .P
1300 A non-zero starting offset is useful when searching for another match in the
1301 same subject by calling \fBpcre_exec()\fP again after a previous success.
1302 Setting \fIstartoffset\fP differs from just passing over a shortened string and
1303 setting PCRE_NOTBOL in the case of a pattern that begins with any kind of
1304 lookbehind. For example, consider the pattern
1305 .sp
1306 \eBiss\eB
1307 .sp
1308 which finds occurrences of "iss" in the middle of words. (\eB matches only if
1309 the current position in the subject is not a word boundary.) When applied to
1310 the string "Mississipi" the first call to \fBpcre_exec()\fP finds the first
1311 occurrence. If \fBpcre_exec()\fP is called again with just the remainder of the
1312 subject, namely "issipi", it does not match, because \eB is always false at the
1313 start of the subject, which is deemed to be a word boundary. However, if
1314 \fBpcre_exec()\fP is passed the entire string again, but with \fIstartoffset\fP
1315 set to 4, it finds the second occurrence of "iss" because it is able to look
1316 behind the starting point to discover that it is preceded by a letter.
1317 .P
1318 If a non-zero starting offset is passed when the pattern is anchored, one
1319 attempt to match at the given offset is made. This can only succeed if the
1320 pattern does not require the match to be at the start of the subject.
1321 .
1322 .SS "How \fBpcre_exec()\fP returns captured substrings"
1323 .rs
1324 .sp
1325 In general, a pattern matches a certain portion of the subject, and in
1326 addition, further substrings from the subject may be picked out by parts of the
1327 pattern. Following the usage in Jeffrey Friedl's book, this is called
1328 "capturing" in what follows, and the phrase "capturing subpattern" is used for
1329 a fragment of a pattern that picks out a substring. PCRE supports several other
1330 kinds of parenthesized subpattern that do not cause substrings to be captured.
1331 .P
1332 Captured substrings are returned to the caller via a vector of integer offsets
1333 whose address is passed in \fIovector\fP. The number of elements in the vector
1334 is passed in \fIovecsize\fP, which must be a non-negative number. \fBNote\fP:
1335 this argument is NOT the size of \fIovector\fP in bytes.
1336 .P
1337 The first two-thirds of the vector is used to pass back captured substrings,
1338 each substring using a pair of integers. The remaining third of the vector is
1339 used as workspace by \fBpcre_exec()\fP while matching capturing subpatterns,
1340 and is not available for passing back information. The length passed in
1341 \fIovecsize\fP should always be a multiple of three. If it is not, it is
1342 rounded down.
1343 .P
1344 When a match is successful, information about captured substrings is returned
1345 in pairs of integers, starting at the beginning of \fIovector\fP, and
1346 continuing up to two-thirds of its length at the most. The first element of a
1347 pair is set to the offset of the first character in a substring, and the second
1348 is set to the offset of the first character after the end of a substring. The
1349 first pair, \fIovector[0]\fP and \fIovector[1]\fP, identify the portion of the
1350 subject string matched by the entire pattern. The next pair is used for the
1351 first capturing subpattern, and so on. The value returned by \fBpcre_exec()\fP
1352 is one more than the highest numbered pair that has been set. For example, if
1353 two substrings have been captured, the returned value is 3. If there are no
1354 capturing subpatterns, the return value from a successful match is 1,
1355 indicating that just the first pair of offsets has been set.
1356 .P
1357 If a capturing subpattern is matched repeatedly, it is the last portion of the
1358 string that it matched that is returned.
1359 .P
1360 If the vector is too small to hold all the captured substring offsets, it is
1361 used as far as possible (up to two-thirds of its length), and the function
1362 returns a value of zero. In particular, if the substring offsets are not of
1363 interest, \fBpcre_exec()\fP may be called with \fIovector\fP passed as NULL and
1364 \fIovecsize\fP as zero. However, if the pattern contains back references and
1365 the \fIovector\fP is not big enough to remember the related substrings, PCRE
1366 has to get additional memory for use during matching. Thus it is usually
1367 advisable to supply an \fIovector\fP.
1368 .P
1369 The \fBpcre_info()\fP function can be used to find out how many capturing
1370 subpatterns there are in a compiled pattern. The smallest size for
1371 \fIovector\fP that will allow for \fIn\fP captured substrings, in addition to
1372 the offsets of the substring matched by the whole pattern, is (\fIn\fP+1)*3.
1373 .P
1374 It is possible for capturing subpattern number \fIn+1\fP to match some part of
1375 the subject when subpattern \fIn\fP has not been used at all. For example, if
1376 the string "abc" is matched against the pattern (a|(z))(bc) the return from the
1377 function is 4, and subpatterns 1 and 3 are matched, but 2 is not. When this
1378 happens, both values in the offset pairs corresponding to unused subpatterns
1379 are set to -1.
1380 .P
1381 Offset values that correspond to unused subpatterns at the end of the
1382 expression are also set to -1. For example, if the string "abc" is matched
1383 against the pattern (abc)(x(yz)?)? subpatterns 2 and 3 are not matched. The
1384 return from the function is 2, because the highest used capturing subpattern
1385 number is 1. However, you can refer to the offsets for the second and third
1386 capturing subpatterns if you wish (assuming the vector is large enough, of
1387 course).
1388 .P
1389 Some convenience functions are provided for extracting the captured substrings
1390 as separate strings. These are described below.
1391 .
1392 .\" HTML <a name="errorlist"></a>
1393 .SS "Error return values from \fBpcre_exec()\fP"
1394 .rs
1395 .sp
1396 If \fBpcre_exec()\fP fails, it returns a negative number. The following are
1397 defined in the header file:
1398 .sp
1400 .sp
1401 The subject string did not match the pattern.
1402 .sp
1404 .sp
1405 Either \fIcode\fP or \fIsubject\fP was passed as NULL, or \fIovector\fP was
1406 NULL and \fIovecsize\fP was not zero.
1407 .sp
1409 .sp
1410 An unrecognized bit was set in the \fIoptions\fP argument.
1411 .sp
1413 .sp
1414 PCRE stores a 4-byte "magic number" at the start of the compiled code, to catch
1415 the case when it is passed a junk pointer and to detect when a pattern that was
1416 compiled in an environment of one endianness is run in an environment with the
1417 other endianness. This is the error that PCRE gives when the magic number is
1418 not present.
1419 .sp
1421 .sp
1422 While running the pattern match, an unknown item was encountered in the
1423 compiled pattern. This error could be caused by a bug in PCRE or by overwriting
1424 of the compiled pattern.
1425 .sp
1427 .sp
1428 If a pattern contains back references, but the \fIovector\fP that is passed to
1429 \fBpcre_exec()\fP is not big enough to remember the referenced substrings, PCRE
1430 gets a block of memory at the start of matching to use for this purpose. If the
1431 call via \fBpcre_malloc()\fP fails, this error is given. The memory is
1432 automatically freed at the end of matching.
1433 .sp
1435 .sp
1436 This error is used by the \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP,
1437 \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP, and \fBpcre_get_substring_list()\fP functions (see
1438 below). It is never returned by \fBpcre_exec()\fP.
1439 .sp
1441 .sp
1442 The backtracking limit, as specified by the \fImatch_limit\fP field in a
1443 \fBpcre_extra\fP structure (or defaulted) was reached. See the description
1444 above.
1445 .sp
1447 .sp
1448 This error is never generated by \fBpcre_exec()\fP itself. It is provided for
1449 use by callout functions that want to yield a distinctive error code. See the
1450 .\" HREF
1451 \fBpcrecallout\fP
1452 .\"
1453 documentation for details.
1454 .sp
1456 .sp
1457 A string that contains an invalid UTF-8 byte sequence was passed as a subject.
1458 .sp
1460 .sp
1461 The UTF-8 byte sequence that was passed as a subject was valid, but the value
1462 of \fIstartoffset\fP did not point to the beginning of a UTF-8 character.
1463 .sp
1465 .sp
1466 The subject string did not match, but it did match partially. See the
1467 .\" HREF
1468 \fBpcrepartial\fP
1469 .\"
1470 documentation for details of partial matching.
1471 .sp
1473 .sp
1474 The PCRE_PARTIAL option was used with a compiled pattern containing items that
1475 are not supported for partial matching. See the
1476 .\" HREF
1477 \fBpcrepartial\fP
1478 .\"
1479 documentation for details of partial matching.
1480 .sp
1482 .sp
1483 An unexpected internal error has occurred. This error could be caused by a bug
1484 in PCRE or by overwriting of the compiled pattern.
1485 .sp
1487 .sp
1488 This error is given if the value of the \fIovecsize\fP argument is negative.
1489 .sp
1491 .sp
1492 The internal recursion limit, as specified by the \fImatch_limit_recursion\fP
1493 field in a \fBpcre_extra\fP structure (or defaulted) was reached. See the
1494 description above.
1495 .sp
1497 .sp
1498 An invalid combination of PCRE_NEWLINE_\fIxxx\fP options was given.
1499 .P
1500 Error numbers -16 to -20 and -22 are not used by \fBpcre_exec()\fP.
1501 .
1502 .
1504 .rs
1505 .sp
1506 .B int pcre_copy_substring(const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
1507 .ti +5n
1508 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, int \fIstringnumber\fP, char *\fIbuffer\fP,
1509 .ti +5n
1510 .B int \fIbuffersize\fP);
1511 .PP
1512 .B int pcre_get_substring(const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
1513 .ti +5n
1514 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, int \fIstringnumber\fP,
1515 .ti +5n
1516 .B const char **\fIstringptr\fP);
1517 .PP
1518 .B int pcre_get_substring_list(const char *\fIsubject\fP,
1519 .ti +5n
1520 .B int *\fIovector\fP, int \fIstringcount\fP, "const char ***\fIlistptr\fP);"
1521 .PP
1522 Captured substrings can be accessed directly by using the offsets returned by
1523 \fBpcre_exec()\fP in \fIovector\fP. For convenience, the functions
1524 \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP, \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP, and
1525 \fBpcre_get_substring_list()\fP are provided for extracting captured substrings
1526 as new, separate, zero-terminated strings. These functions identify substrings
1527 by number. The next section describes functions for extracting named
1528 substrings.
1529 .P
1530 A substring that contains a binary zero is correctly extracted and has a
1531 further zero added on the end, but the result is not, of course, a C string.
1532 However, you can process such a string by referring to the length that is
1533 returned by \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP and \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP.
1534 Unfortunately, the interface to \fBpcre_get_substring_list()\fP is not adequate
1535 for handling strings containing binary zeros, because the end of the final
1536 string is not independently indicated.
1537 .P
1538 The first three arguments are the same for all three of these functions:
1539 \fIsubject\fP is the subject string that has just been successfully matched,
1540 \fIovector\fP is a pointer to the vector of integer offsets that was passed to
1541 \fBpcre_exec()\fP, and \fIstringcount\fP is the number of substrings that were
1542 captured by the match, including the substring that matched the entire regular
1543 expression. This is the value returned by \fBpcre_exec()\fP if it is greater
1544 than zero. If \fBpcre_exec()\fP returned zero, indicating that it ran out of
1545 space in \fIovector\fP, the value passed as \fIstringcount\fP should be the
1546 number of elements in the vector divided by three.
1547 .P
1548 The functions \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP and \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP
1549 extract a single substring, whose number is given as \fIstringnumber\fP. A
1550 value of zero extracts the substring that matched the entire pattern, whereas
1551 higher values extract the captured substrings. For \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP,
1552 the string is placed in \fIbuffer\fP, whose length is given by
1553 \fIbuffersize\fP, while for \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP a new block of memory is
1554 obtained via \fBpcre_malloc\fP, and its address is returned via
1555 \fIstringptr\fP. The yield of the function is the length of the string, not
1556 including the terminating zero, or one of these error codes:
1557 .sp
1559 .sp
1560 The buffer was too small for \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP, or the attempt to get
1561 memory failed for \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP.
1562 .sp
1564 .sp
1565 There is no substring whose number is \fIstringnumber\fP.
1566 .P
1567 The \fBpcre_get_substring_list()\fP function extracts all available substrings
1568 and builds a list of pointers to them. All this is done in a single block of
1569 memory that is obtained via \fBpcre_malloc\fP. The address of the memory block
1570 is returned via \fIlistptr\fP, which is also the start of the list of string
1571 pointers. The end of the list is marked by a NULL pointer. The yield of the
1572 function is zero if all went well, or the error code
1573 .sp
1575 .sp
1576 if the attempt to get the memory block failed.
1577 .P
1578 When any of these functions encounter a substring that is unset, which can
1579 happen when capturing subpattern number \fIn+1\fP matches some part of the
1580 subject, but subpattern \fIn\fP has not been used at all, they return an empty
1581 string. This can be distinguished from a genuine zero-length substring by
1582 inspecting the appropriate offset in \fIovector\fP, which is negative for unset
1583 substrings.
1584 .P
1585 The two convenience functions \fBpcre_free_substring()\fP and
1586 \fBpcre_free_substring_list()\fP can be used to free the memory returned by
1587 a previous call of \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP or
1588 \fBpcre_get_substring_list()\fP, respectively. They do nothing more than call
1589 the function pointed to by \fBpcre_free\fP, which of course could be called
1590 directly from a C program. However, PCRE is used in some situations where it is
1591 linked via a special interface to another programming language that cannot use
1592 \fBpcre_free\fP directly; it is for these cases that the functions are
1593 provided.
1594 .
1595 .
1597 .rs
1598 .sp
1599 .B int pcre_get_stringnumber(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
1600 .ti +5n
1601 .B const char *\fIname\fP);
1602 .PP
1603 .B int pcre_copy_named_substring(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
1604 .ti +5n
1605 .B const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
1606 .ti +5n
1607 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, const char *\fIstringname\fP,
1608 .ti +5n
1609 .B char *\fIbuffer\fP, int \fIbuffersize\fP);
1610 .PP
1611 .B int pcre_get_named_substring(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
1612 .ti +5n
1613 .B const char *\fIsubject\fP, int *\fIovector\fP,
1614 .ti +5n
1615 .B int \fIstringcount\fP, const char *\fIstringname\fP,
1616 .ti +5n
1617 .B const char **\fIstringptr\fP);
1618 .PP
1619 To extract a substring by name, you first have to find associated number.
1620 For example, for this pattern
1621 .sp
1622 (a+)b(?<xxx>\ed+)...
1623 .sp
1624 the number of the subpattern called "xxx" is 2. If the name is known to be
1625 unique (PCRE_DUPNAMES was not set), you can find the number from the name by
1626 calling \fBpcre_get_stringnumber()\fP. The first argument is the compiled
1627 pattern, and the second is the name. The yield of the function is the
1628 subpattern number, or PCRE_ERROR_NOSUBSTRING (-7) if there is no subpattern of
1629 that name.
1630 .P
1631 Given the number, you can extract the substring directly, or use one of the
1632 functions described in the previous section. For convenience, there are also
1633 two functions that do the whole job.
1634 .P
1635 Most of the arguments of \fBpcre_copy_named_substring()\fP and
1636 \fBpcre_get_named_substring()\fP are the same as those for the similarly named
1637 functions that extract by number. As these are described in the previous
1638 section, they are not re-described here. There are just two differences:
1639 .P
1640 First, instead of a substring number, a substring name is given. Second, there
1641 is an extra argument, given at the start, which is a pointer to the compiled
1642 pattern. This is needed in order to gain access to the name-to-number
1643 translation table.
1644 .P
1645 These functions call \fBpcre_get_stringnumber()\fP, and if it succeeds, they
1646 then call \fBpcre_copy_substring()\fP or \fBpcre_get_substring()\fP, as
1647 appropriate. \fBNOTE:\fP If PCRE_DUPNAMES is set and there are duplicate names,
1648 the behaviour may not be what you want (see the next section).
1649 .
1650 .
1652 .rs
1653 .sp
1654 .B int pcre_get_stringtable_entries(const pcre *\fIcode\fP,
1655 .ti +5n
1656 .B const char *\fIname\fP, char **\fIfirst\fP, char **\fIlast\fP);
1657 .PP
1658 When a pattern is compiled with the PCRE_DUPNAMES option, names for subpatterns
1659 are not required to be unique. Normally, patterns with duplicate names are such
1660 that in any one match, only one of the named subpatterns participates. An
1661 example is shown in the
1662 .\" HREF
1663 \fBpcrepattern\fP
1664 .\"
1665 documentation.
1666 .P
1667 When duplicates are present, \fBpcre_copy_named_substring()\fP and
1668 \fBpcre_get_named_substring()\fP return the first substring corresponding to
1669 the given name that is set. If none are set, PCRE_ERROR_NOSUBSTRING (-7) is
1670 returned; no data is returned. The \fBpcre_get_stringnumber()\fP function
1671 returns one of the numbers that are associated with the name, but it is not
1672 defined which it is.
1673 .P
1674 If you want to get full details of all captured substrings for a given name,
1675 you must use the \fBpcre_get_stringtable_entries()\fP function. The first
1676 argument is the compiled pattern, and the second is the name. The third and
1677 fourth are pointers to variables which are updated by the function. After it
1678 has run, they point to the first and last entries in the name-to-number table
1679 for the given name. The function itself returns the length of each entry, or
1680 PCRE_ERROR_NOSUBSTRING (-7) if there are none. The format of the table is
1681 described above in the section entitled \fIInformation about a pattern\fP.
1682 Given all the relevant entries for the name, you can extract each of their
1683 numbers, and hence the captured data, if any.
1684 .
1685 .
1687 .rs
1688 .sp
1689 The traditional matching function uses a similar algorithm to Perl, which stops
1690 when it finds the first match, starting at a given point in the subject. If you
1691 want to find all possible matches, or the longest possible match, consider
1692 using the alternative matching function (see below) instead. If you cannot use
1693 the alternative function, but still need to find all possible matches, you
1694 can kludge it up by making use of the callout facility, which is described in
1695 the
1696 .\" HREF
1697 \fBpcrecallout\fP
1698 .\"
1699 documentation.
1700 .P
1701 What you have to do is to insert a callout right at the end of the pattern.
1702 When your callout function is called, extract and save the current matched
1703 substring. Then return 1, which forces \fBpcre_exec()\fP to backtrack and try
1704 other alternatives. Ultimately, when it runs out of matches, \fBpcre_exec()\fP
1705 will yield PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH.
1706 .
1707 .
1708 .\" HTML <a name="dfamatch"></a>
1710 .rs
1711 .sp
1712 .B int pcre_dfa_exec(const pcre *\fIcode\fP, "const pcre_extra *\fIextra\fP,"
1713 .ti +5n
1714 .B "const char *\fIsubject\fP," int \fIlength\fP, int \fIstartoffset\fP,
1715 .ti +5n
1716 .B int \fIoptions\fP, int *\fIovector\fP, int \fIovecsize\fP,
1717 .ti +5n
1718 .B int *\fIworkspace\fP, int \fIwscount\fP);
1719 .P
1720 The function \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP is called to match a subject string against
1721 a compiled pattern, using a matching algorithm that scans the subject string
1722 just once, and does not backtrack. This has different characteristics to the
1723 normal algorithm, and is not compatible with Perl. Some of the features of PCRE
1724 patterns are not supported. Nevertheless, there are times when this kind of
1725 matching can be useful. For a discussion of the two matching algorithms, see
1726 the
1727 .\" HREF
1728 \fBpcrematching\fP
1729 .\"
1730 documentation.
1731 .P
1732 The arguments for the \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP function are the same as for
1733 \fBpcre_exec()\fP, plus two extras. The \fIovector\fP argument is used in a
1734 different way, and this is described below. The other common arguments are used
1735 in the same way as for \fBpcre_exec()\fP, so their description is not repeated
1736 here.
1737 .P
1738 The two additional arguments provide workspace for the function. The workspace
1739 vector should contain at least 20 elements. It is used for keeping track of
1740 multiple paths through the pattern tree. More workspace will be needed for
1741 patterns and subjects where there are a lot of potential matches.
1742 .P
1743 Here is an example of a simple call to \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP:
1744 .sp
1745 int rc;
1746 int ovector[10];
1747 int wspace[20];
1748 rc = pcre_dfa_exec(
1749 re, /* result of pcre_compile() */
1750 NULL, /* we didn't study the pattern */
1751 "some string", /* the subject string */
1752 11, /* the length of the subject string */
1753 0, /* start at offset 0 in the subject */
1754 0, /* default options */
1755 ovector, /* vector of integers for substring information */
1756 10, /* number of elements (NOT size in bytes) */
1757 wspace, /* working space vector */
1758 20); /* number of elements (NOT size in bytes) */
1759 .
1760 .SS "Option bits for \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP"
1761 .rs
1762 .sp
1763 The unused bits of the \fIoptions\fP argument for \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP must be
1764 zero. The only bits that may be set are PCRE_ANCHORED, PCRE_NEWLINE_\fIxxx\fP,
1766 PCRE_DFA_SHORTEST, and PCRE_DFA_RESTART. All but the last three of these are
1767 the same as for \fBpcre_exec()\fP, so their description is not repeated here.
1768 .sp
1770 .sp
1771 This has the same general effect as it does for \fBpcre_exec()\fP, but the
1772 details are slightly different. When PCRE_PARTIAL is set for
1773 \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP, the return code PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH is converted into
1774 PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL if the end of the subject is reached, there have been no
1775 complete matches, but there is still at least one matching possibility. The
1776 portion of the string that provided the partial match is set as the first
1777 matching string.
1778 .sp
1780 .sp
1781 Setting the PCRE_DFA_SHORTEST option causes the matching algorithm to stop as
1782 soon as it has found one match. Because of the way the alternative algorithm
1783 works, this is necessarily the shortest possible match at the first possible
1784 matching point in the subject string.
1785 .sp
1787 .sp
1788 When \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP is called with the PCRE_PARTIAL option, and returns
1789 a partial match, it is possible to call it again, with additional subject
1790 characters, and have it continue with the same match. The PCRE_DFA_RESTART
1791 option requests this action; when it is set, the \fIworkspace\fP and
1792 \fIwscount\fP options must reference the same vector as before because data
1793 about the match so far is left in them after a partial match. There is more
1794 discussion of this facility in the
1795 .\" HREF
1796 \fBpcrepartial\fP
1797 .\"
1798 documentation.
1799 .
1800 .SS "Successful returns from \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP"
1801 .rs
1802 .sp
1803 When \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP succeeds, it may have matched more than one
1804 substring in the subject. Note, however, that all the matches from one run of
1805 the function start at the same point in the subject. The shorter matches are
1806 all initial substrings of the longer matches. For example, if the pattern
1807 .sp
1808 <.*>
1809 .sp
1810 is matched against the string
1811 .sp
1812 This is <something> <something else> <something further> no more
1813 .sp
1814 the three matched strings are
1815 .sp
1816 <something>
1817 <something> <something else>
1818 <something> <something else> <something further>
1819 .sp
1820 On success, the yield of the function is a number greater than zero, which is
1821 the number of matched substrings. The substrings themselves are returned in
1822 \fIovector\fP. Each string uses two elements; the first is the offset to the
1823 start, and the second is the offset to the end. In fact, all the strings have
1824 the same start offset. (Space could have been saved by giving this only once,
1825 but it was decided to retain some compatibility with the way \fBpcre_exec()\fP
1826 returns data, even though the meaning of the strings is different.)
1827 .P
1828 The strings are returned in reverse order of length; that is, the longest
1829 matching string is given first. If there were too many matches to fit into
1830 \fIovector\fP, the yield of the function is zero, and the vector is filled with
1831 the longest matches.
1832 .
1833 .SS "Error returns from \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP"
1834 .rs
1835 .sp
1836 The \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP function returns a negative number when it fails.
1837 Many of the errors are the same as for \fBpcre_exec()\fP, and these are
1838 described
1839 .\" HTML <a href="#errorlist">
1840 .\" </a>
1841 above.
1842 .\"
1843 There are in addition the following errors that are specific to
1844 \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP:
1845 .sp
1847 .sp
1848 This return is given if \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP encounters an item in the pattern
1849 that it does not support, for instance, the use of \eC or a back reference.
1850 .sp
1852 .sp
1853 This return is given if \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP encounters a condition item that
1854 uses a back reference for the condition, or a test for recursion in a specific
1855 group. These are not supported.
1856 .sp
1858 .sp
1859 This return is given if \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP is called with an \fIextra\fP
1860 block that contains a setting of the \fImatch_limit\fP field. This is not
1861 supported (it is meaningless).
1862 .sp
1864 .sp
1865 This return is given if \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP runs out of space in the
1866 \fIworkspace\fP vector.
1867 .sp
1869 .sp
1870 When a recursive subpattern is processed, the matching function calls itself
1871 recursively, using private vectors for \fIovector\fP and \fIworkspace\fP. This
1872 error is given if the output vector is not large enough. This should be
1873 extremely rare, as a vector of size 1000 is used.
1874 .
1875 .
1876 .SH "SEE ALSO"
1877 .rs
1878 .sp
1879 \fBpcrebuild\fP(3), \fBpcrecallout\fP(3), \fBpcrecpp(3)\fP(3),
1880 \fBpcrematching\fP(3), \fBpcrepartial\fP(3), \fBpcreposix\fP(3),
1881 \fBpcreprecompile\fP(3), \fBpcresample\fP(3), \fBpcrestack\fP(3).
1882 .
1883 .
1885 .rs
1886 .sp
1887 .nf
1888 Philip Hazel
1889 University Computing Service
1890 Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
1891 .fi
1892 .
1893 .
1895 .rs
1896 .sp
1897 .nf
1898 Last updated: 20 August 2007
1899 Copyright (c) 1997-2007 University of Cambridge.
1900 .fi


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