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revision 99 by ph10, Tue Mar 6 12:27:42 2007 UTC revision 518 by ph10, Tue May 18 15:47:01 2010 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 version 7.0 contains some features that are expected to  5.10/5.11.
 be in the forthcoming 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 46  encountered by PCRE, an error is generat Line 45  encountered by PCRE, an error is generat
45  built with Unicode character property support. The properties that can be  built with Unicode character property support. The properties that can be
46  tested with \ep and \eP are limited to the general category properties such as  tested with \ep and \eP are limited to the general category properties such as
47  Lu and Nd, script names such as Greek or Han, and the derived properties Any  Lu and Nd, script names such as Greek or Han, and the derived properties Any
48  and L&.  and L&. PCRE does support the Cs (surrogate) property, which Perl does not; the
49    Perl documentation says "Because Perl hides the need for the user to understand
50    the internal representation of Unicode characters, there is no need to
51    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 does support the \eQ...\eE escape for quoting substrings. Characters in
54  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 $
# Line 66  The \eQ...\eE sequence is recognized bot Line 68  The \eQ...\eE sequence is recognized bot
68  .P  .P
69  8. Fairly obviously, PCRE does not support the (?{code}) and (??{code})  8. Fairly obviously, PCRE does not support the (?{code}) and (??{code})
70  constructions. However, there is support for recursive patterns. This is not  constructions. However, there is support for recursive patterns. This is not
71  available in Perl 5.8, but will be in Perl 5.10. Also, the PCRE "callout"  available in Perl 5.8, but it is in Perl 5.10. Also, the PCRE "callout"
72  feature allows an external function to be called during pattern matching. See  feature allows an external function to be called during pattern matching. See
73  the  the
74  .\" HREF  .\" HREF
# Line 75  the Line 77  the
77  documentation for details.  documentation for details.
78  .P  .P
79  9. Subpatterns that are called recursively or as "subroutines" are always  9. Subpatterns that are called recursively or as "subroutines" are always
80  treated as atomic groups in PCRE. This is like Python, but unlike Perl.  treated as atomic groups in PCRE. This is like Python, but unlike Perl. There
81    is a discussion of an example that explains this in more detail in the
82    .\" HTML <a href="pcrepattern.html#recursiondifference">
83    .\" </a>
84    section on recursion differences from Perl
85    .\"
86    in the
87    .\" HREF
88    \fBpcrepattern\fP
89    .\"
90    page.
91  .P  .P
92  10. There are some differences that are concerned with the settings of captured  10. There are some differences that are concerned with the settings of captured
93  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
94  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".
95  .P  .P
96  11. PCRE provides some extensions to the Perl regular expression facilities.  11. PCRE's handling of duplicate subpattern numbers and duplicate subpattern
97  Perl 5.10 will include new features that are not in earlier versions, some of  names is not as general as Perl's. This is a consequence of the fact the PCRE
98  which (such as named parentheses) have been in PCRE for some time. This list is  works internally just with numbers, using an external table to translate
99  with respect to Perl 5.10:  between numbers and names. In particular, a pattern such as (?|(?<a>A)|(?<b)B),
100  .sp  where the two capturing parentheses have the same number but different names,
101  (a) Although lookbehind assertions must match fixed length strings, each  is not supported, and causes an error at compile time. If it were allowed, it
102  alternative branch of a lookbehind assertion can match a different length of  would not be possible to distinguish which parentheses matched, because both
103  string. Perl requires them all to have the same length.  names map to capturing subpattern number 1. To avoid this confusing situation,
104    an error is given at compile time.
105    .P
106    12. PCRE provides some extensions to the Perl regular expression facilities.
107    Perl 5.10 includes new features that are not in earlier versions of Perl, some
108    of which (such as named parentheses) have been in PCRE for some time. This list
109    is with respect to Perl 5.10:
110    .sp
111    (a) Although lookbehind assertions in PCRE must match fixed length strings,
112    each alternative branch of a lookbehind assertion can match a different length
113    of string. Perl requires them all to have the same length.
114  .sp  .sp
115  (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 $
116  meta-character matches only at the very end of the string.  meta-character matches only at the very end of the string.
117  .sp  .sp
118  (c) If PCRE_EXTRA is set, a backslash followed by a letter with no special  (c) If PCRE_EXTRA is set, a backslash followed by a letter with no special
119  meaning is faulted. Otherwise, like Perl, the backslash is ignored. (Perl can  meaning is faulted. Otherwise, like Perl, the backslash is quietly ignored.
120  be made to issue a warning.)  (Perl can be made to issue a warning.)
121  .sp  .sp
122  (d) If PCRE_UNGREEDY is set, the greediness of the repetition quantifiers is  (d) If PCRE_UNGREEDY is set, the greediness of the repetition quantifiers is
123  inverted, that is, by default they are not greedy, but if followed by a  inverted, that is, by default they are not greedy, but if followed by a
# Line 104  question mark they are. Line 126  question mark they are.
126  (e) PCRE_ANCHORED can be used at matching time to force a pattern to be tried  (e) PCRE_ANCHORED can be used at matching time to force a pattern to be tried
127  only at the first matching position in the subject string.  only at the first matching position in the subject string.
128  .sp  .sp
129  (f) The PCRE_NOTBOL, PCRE_NOTEOL, PCRE_NOTEMPTY, and PCRE_NO_AUTO_CAPTURE  (f) The PCRE_NOTBOL, PCRE_NOTEOL, PCRE_NOTEMPTY, PCRE_NOTEMPTY_ATSTART, and
130  options for \fBpcre_exec()\fP have no Perl equivalents.  PCRE_NO_AUTO_CAPTURE options for \fBpcre_exec()\fP have no Perl equivalents.
131    .sp
132    (g) The \eR escape sequence can be restricted to match only CR, LF, or CRLF
133    by the PCRE_BSR_ANYCRLF option.
134  .sp  .sp
135  (g) The callout facility is PCRE-specific.  (h) The callout facility is PCRE-specific.
136  .sp  .sp
137  (h) The partial matching facility is PCRE-specific.  (i) The partial matching facility is PCRE-specific.
138  .sp  .sp
139  (i) 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
140  different hosts that have the other endianness.  different hosts that have the other endianness.
141  .sp  .sp
142  (j) The alternative matching function (\fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP) matches in a  (k) The alternative matching function (\fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP) matches in a
143  different way and is not Perl-compatible.  different way and is not Perl-compatible.
144    .sp
145    (l) PCRE recognizes some special sequences such as (*CR) at the start of
146    a pattern that set overall options that cannot be changed within the pattern.
147  .  .
148  .  .
149  .SH AUTHOR  .SH AUTHOR
# Line 132  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England. Line 160  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
160  .rs  .rs
161  .sp  .sp
162  .nf  .nf
163  Last updated: 06 March 2007  Last updated: 12 May 2010
164  Copyright (c) 1997-2007 University of Cambridge.  Copyright (c) 1997-2010 University of Cambridge.
165  .fi  .fi

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