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revision 453 by ph10, Fri Sep 18 19:12:35 2009 UTC revision 633 by ph10, Sat Jul 23 14:34:27 2011 UTC
# Line 5  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressio Line 5  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressio
5  .rs  .rs
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 mainly with respect to  regular expressions. The differences described here are with respect to Perl
9  Perl 5.8, though PCRE versions 7.0 and later contain some features that are  versions 5.10 and above.
 in Perl 5.10.  
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
# Line 21  in the main Line 20  in the main
20  .\"  .\"
21  page.  page.
22  .P  .P
23  2. PCRE does not allow repeat quantifiers on lookahead assertions. Perl permits  2. PCRE does not allow repeat quantifiers on assertions. Perl permits them, but
24  them, but they do not mean what you might think. For example, (?!a){3} does  they do not mean what you might think. For example, (?!a){3} does not assert
25  not assert that the next three characters are not "a". It just asserts that the  that the next three characters are not "a". It just asserts that the next
26  next character is not "a" three times.  character is not "a" three times.
27  .P  .P
28  3. Capturing subpatterns that occur inside negative lookahead assertions are  3. Capturing subpatterns that occur inside negative lookahead assertions are
29  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 38  terminated by zero. The escape sequence Line 37  terminated by zero. The escape sequence
37  represent a binary zero.  represent a binary zero.
38  .P  .P
39  5. The following Perl escape sequences are not supported: \el, \eu, \eL,  5. The following Perl escape sequences are not supported: \el, \eu, \eL,
40  \eU, and \eN. In fact these are implemented by Perl's general string-handling  and \eU. In fact these are implemented by Perl's general string-handling and
41  and are not part of its pattern matching engine. If any of these are  are not part of its pattern matching engine. If any of these are encountered by
42  encountered by PCRE, an error is generated.  PCRE, an error is generated.
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 51  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 67  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 77  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 recursively or as "subroutines" are always
84  treated as atomic groups in PCRE. This is like Python, but unlike Perl. There  treated as atomic groups in PCRE. This is like Python, but unlike Perl. There
85  is a discussion of an example that explains this in more detail in the  is a discussion of an example that explains this in more detail in the
86  .\" HTML <a href="pcrepattern.html#recursiondifference">  .\" HTML <a href="pcrepattern.html#recursiondifference">
87  .\" </a>  .\" </a>
# Line 86  section on recursion differences from Pe Line 89  section on recursion differences from Pe
89  .\"  .\"
90  in the  in the
91  .\" HREF  .\" HREF
92  \fBpcrecompat\fP  \fBpcrepattern\fP
93  .\"  .\"
94  page.  page.
95  .P  .P
96  10. There are some differences that are concerned with the settings of captured  11. There are some differences that are concerned with the settings of captured
97  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
98  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".
99  .P  .P
100  11. PCRE does support Perl 5.10's backtracking verbs (*ACCEPT), (*FAIL), (*F),  12. PCRE's handling of duplicate subpattern numbers and duplicate subpattern
101  (*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
102  argument. PCRE does not support (*MARK).  works internally just with numbers, using an external table to translate
103  .P  between numbers and names. In particular, a pattern such as (?|(?<a>A)|(?<b)B),
104  12. PCRE provides some extensions to the Perl regular expression facilities.  where the two capturing parentheses have the same number but different names,
105  Perl 5.10 will include new features that are not in earlier versions, some of  is not supported, and causes an error at compile time. If it were allowed, it
106  which (such as named parentheses) have been in PCRE for some time. This list is  would not be possible to distinguish which parentheses matched, because both
107  with respect to Perl 5.10:  names map to capturing subpattern number 1. To avoid this confusing situation,
108  .sp  an error is given at compile time.
109  (a) Although lookbehind assertions must match fixed length strings, each  .P
110  alternative branch of a lookbehind assertion can match a different length of  13. Perl recognizes comments in some places that PCRE doesn't, for example,
111  string. Perl requires them all to have the same length.  between the ( and ? at the start of a subpattern.
112    .P
113    14. PCRE provides some extensions to the Perl regular expression facilities.
114    Perl 5.10 includes new features that are not in earlier versions of Perl, some
115    of which (such as named parentheses) have been in PCRE for some time. This list
116    is with respect to Perl 5.10:
117    .sp
118    (a) Although lookbehind assertions in PCRE must match fixed length strings,
119    each alternative branch of a lookbehind assertion can match a different length
120    of string. Perl requires them all to have the same length.
121  .sp  .sp
122  (b) If PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY is set and PCRE_MULTILINE is not set, the $  (b) If PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY is set and PCRE_MULTILINE is not set, the $
123  meta-character matches only at the very end of the string.  meta-character matches only at the very end of the string.
# Line 155  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England. Line 167  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
167  .rs  .rs
168  .sp  .sp
169  .nf  .nf
170  Last updated: 18 September 2009  Last updated: 23 July 2011
171  Copyright (c) 1997-2009 University of Cambridge.  Copyright (c) 1997-2011 University of Cambridge.
172  .fi  .fi

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