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revision 456 by ph10, Fri Oct 2 08:53:31 2009 UTC revision 788 by ph10, Tue Dec 6 15:38:01 2011 UTC
# Line 6  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressio Line 6  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressio
6  .sp  .sp
7  This document describes the differences in the ways that PCRE and Perl handle  This document describes the differences in the ways that PCRE and Perl handle
8  regular expressions. The differences described here are with respect to Perl  regular expressions. The differences described here are with respect to Perl
9  5.10.  versions 5.10 and above.
10  .P  .P
11  1. PCRE has only a subset of Perl's UTF-8 and Unicode support. Details of what  1. PCRE has only a subset of Perl's UTF-8 and Unicode support. Details of what
12  it does have are given in the  it does have are given in the
 .\" HTML <a href="pcre.html#utf8support">  
 .\" </a>  
 section on UTF-8 support  
 .\"  
 in the main  
13  .\" HREF  .\" HREF
14  \fBpcre\fP  \fBpcreunicode\fP
15  .\"  .\"
16  page.  page.
17  .P  .P
18  2. PCRE does not allow repeat quantifiers on lookahead assertions. Perl permits  2. PCRE allows repeat quantifiers only on parenthesized assertions, but they do
19  them, but they do not mean what you might think. For example, (?!a){3} does  not mean what you might think. For example, (?!a){3} does not assert that the
20  not assert that the next three characters are not "a". It just asserts that the  next three characters are not "a". It just asserts that the next character is
21  next character is not "a" three times.  not "a" three times (in principle: PCRE optimizes this to run the assertion
22    just once). Perl allows repeat quantifiers on other assertions such as \eb, but
23    these do not seem to have any use.
24  .P  .P
25  3. Capturing subpatterns that occur inside negative lookahead assertions are  3. Capturing subpatterns that occur inside negative lookahead assertions are
26  counted, but their entries in the offsets vector are never set. Perl sets its  counted, but their entries in the offsets vector are never set. Perl sets its
# Line 37  terminated by zero. The escape sequence Line 34  terminated by zero. The escape sequence
34  represent a binary zero.  represent a binary zero.
35  .P  .P
36  5. The following Perl escape sequences are not supported: \el, \eu, \eL,  5. The following Perl escape sequences are not supported: \el, \eu, \eL,
37  \eU, and \eN. In fact these are implemented by Perl's general string-handling  \eU, and \eN when followed by a character name or Unicode value. (\eN on its
38  and are not part of its pattern matching engine. If any of these are  own, matching a non-newline character, is supported.) In fact these are
39  encountered by PCRE, an error is generated.  implemented by Perl's general string-handling and are not part of its pattern
40    matching engine. If any of these are encountered by PCRE, an error is
41    generated by default. However, if the PCRE_JAVASCRIPT_COMPAT option is set,
42    \eU and \eu are interpreted as JavaScript interprets them.
43  .P  .P
44  6. The Perl escape sequences \ep, \eP, and \eX are supported only if PCRE is  6. The Perl escape sequences \ep, \eP, and \eX are supported only if PCRE is
45  built with Unicode character property support. The properties that can be  built with Unicode character property support. The properties that can be
# Line 50  Perl documentation says "Because Perl hi Line 50  Perl documentation says "Because Perl hi
50  the internal representation of Unicode characters, there is no need to  the internal representation of Unicode characters, there is no need to
51  implement the somewhat messy concept of surrogates."  implement the somewhat messy concept of surrogates."
52  .P  .P
53  7. PCRE does support the \eQ...\eE escape for quoting substrings. Characters in  7. PCRE implements a simpler version of \eX than Perl, which changed to make
54    \eX match what Unicode calls an "extended grapheme cluster". This is more
55    complicated than an extended Unicode sequence, which is what PCRE matches.
56    .P
57    8. PCRE does support the \eQ...\eE escape for quoting substrings. Characters in
58  between are treated as literals. This is slightly different from Perl in that $  between are treated as literals. This is slightly different from Perl in that $
59  and @ are also handled as literals inside the quotes. In Perl, they cause  and @ are also handled as literals inside the quotes. In Perl, they cause
60  variable interpolation (but of course PCRE does not have variables). Note the  variable interpolation (but of course PCRE does not have variables). Note the
# Line 66  following examples: Line 70  following examples:
70  .sp  .sp
71  The \eQ...\eE sequence is recognized both inside and outside character classes.  The \eQ...\eE sequence is recognized both inside and outside character classes.
72  .P  .P
73  8. Fairly obviously, PCRE does not support the (?{code}) and (??{code})  9. Fairly obviously, PCRE does not support the (?{code}) and (??{code})
74  constructions. However, there is support for recursive patterns. This is not  constructions. However, there is support for recursive patterns. This is not
75  available in Perl 5.8, but it is in Perl 5.10. Also, the PCRE "callout"  available in Perl 5.8, but it is in Perl 5.10. Also, the PCRE "callout"
76  feature allows an external function to be called during pattern matching. See  feature allows an external function to be called during pattern matching. See
# Line 76  the Line 80  the
80  .\"  .\"
81  documentation for details.  documentation for details.
82  .P  .P
83  9. Subpatterns that are called recursively or as "subroutines" are always  10. Subpatterns that are called as subroutines (whether or not recursively) are
84  treated as atomic groups in PCRE. This is like Python, but unlike Perl. There  always treated as atomic groups in PCRE. This is like Python, but unlike Perl.
85  is a discussion of an example that explains this in more detail in the  Captured values that are set outside a subroutine call can be reference from
86    inside in PCRE, but not in Perl. There is a discussion that explains these
87    differences in more detail in the
88  .\" HTML <a href="pcrepattern.html#recursiondifference">  .\" HTML <a href="pcrepattern.html#recursiondifference">
89  .\" </a>  .\" </a>
90  section on recursion differences from Perl  section on recursion differences from Perl
# Line 89  in the Line 95  in the
95  .\"  .\"
96  page.  page.
97  .P  .P
98  10. There are some differences that are concerned with the settings of captured  11. If (*THEN) is present in a group that is called as a subroutine, its action
99    is limited to that group, even if the group does not contain any | characters.
100    .P
101    12. There are some differences that are concerned with the settings of captured
102  strings when part of a pattern is repeated. For example, matching "aba" against  strings when part of a pattern is repeated. For example, matching "aba" against
103  the pattern /^(a(b)?)+$/ in Perl leaves $2 unset, but in PCRE it is set to "b".  the pattern /^(a(b)?)+$/ in Perl leaves $2 unset, but in PCRE it is set to "b".
104  .P  .P
105  11. PCRE does support Perl 5.10's backtracking verbs (*ACCEPT), (*FAIL), (*F),  13. PCRE's handling of duplicate subpattern numbers and duplicate subpattern
106  (*COMMIT), (*PRUNE), (*SKIP), and (*THEN), but only in the forms without an  names is not as general as Perl's. This is a consequence of the fact the PCRE
107  argument. PCRE does not support (*MARK).  works internally just with numbers, using an external table to translate
108  .P  between numbers and names. In particular, a pattern such as (?|(?<a>A)|(?<b)B),
109  12. PCRE's handling of duplicate subpattern numbers and duplicate subpattern  where the two capturing parentheses have the same number but different names,
110  names is not as general as Perl's. This is a consequence of the fact the PCRE  is not supported, and causes an error at compile time. If it were allowed, it
111  works internally just with numbers, using an external table to translate  would not be possible to distinguish which parentheses matched, because both
112  between numbers and names. The following are some specific differences:  names map to capturing subpattern number 1. To avoid this confusing situation,
113  .sp  an error is given at compile time.
114  (a) After matching a pattern such as (?|(?<a>A)|(?<b)B) where the two capturing  .P
115  parentheses have the same number but different names, it is not possible to  14. Perl recognizes comments in some places that PCRE does not, for example,
116  distinguish which parentheses matched, because both names map to capturing  between the ( and ? at the start of a subpattern. If the /x modifier is set,
117  subpattern number 1.  Perl allows whitespace between ( and ? but PCRE never does, even if the
118  .sp  PCRE_EXTENDED option is set.
 (b) A condition test for a subpattern with a name that is duplicated gives  
 unpredictable results. For example, when the pattern  
 (?:(?<a>A)|(?<a>B))(?('a')...|...) is compiled (the PCRE_DUPNAMES option is  
 required), the condition test (?('a') is set to test whether subpattern 1 has  
 matched, ignoring subpattern 2, even though it has the same name.  
119  .P  .P
120  13. PCRE provides some extensions to the Perl regular expression facilities.  15. PCRE provides some extensions to the Perl regular expression facilities.
121  Perl 5.10 includes new features that are not in earlier versions of Perl, some  Perl 5.10 includes new features that are not in earlier versions of Perl, some
122  of which (such as named parentheses) have been in PCRE for some time. This list  of which (such as named parentheses) have been in PCRE for some time. This list
123  is with respect to Perl 5.10:  is with respect to Perl 5.10:
# Line 147  by the PCRE_BSR_ANYCRLF option. Line 151  by the PCRE_BSR_ANYCRLF option.
151  (i) The partial matching facility is PCRE-specific.  (i) The partial matching facility is PCRE-specific.
152  .sp  .sp
153  (j) Patterns compiled by PCRE can be saved and re-used at a later time, even on  (j) Patterns compiled by PCRE can be saved and re-used at a later time, even on
154  different hosts that have the other endianness.  different hosts that have the other endianness. However, this does not apply to
155    optimized data created by the just-in-time compiler.
156  .sp  .sp
157  (k) The alternative matching function (\fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP) matches in a  (k) The alternative matching function (\fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP) matches in a
158  different way and is not Perl-compatible.  different way and is not Perl-compatible.
# Line 170  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England. Line 175  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
175  .rs  .rs
176  .sp  .sp
177  .nf  .nf
178  Last updated: 29 September 2009  Last updated: 14 November 2011
179  Copyright (c) 1997-2009 University of Cambridge.  Copyright (c) 1997-2011 University of Cambridge.
180  .fi  .fi

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