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1 .TH PCREJIT 3 "31 October 2012" "PCRE 8.32"
3 PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressions
5 .rs
6 .sp
7 Just-in-time compiling is a heavyweight optimization that can greatly speed up
8 pattern matching. However, it comes at the cost of extra processing before the
9 match is performed. Therefore, it is of most benefit when the same pattern is
10 going to be matched many times. This does not necessarily mean many calls of a
11 matching function; if the pattern is not anchored, matching attempts may take
12 place many times at various positions in the subject, even for a single call.
13 Therefore, if the subject string is very long, it may still pay to use JIT for
14 one-off matches.
15 .P
16 JIT support applies only to the traditional Perl-compatible matching function.
17 It does not apply when the DFA matching function is being used. The code for
18 this support was written by Zoltan Herczeg.
19 .
20 .
22 .rs
23 .sp
24 JIT support is available for all of the 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit PCRE
25 libraries. To keep this documentation simple, only the 8-bit interface is
26 described in what follows. If you are using the 16-bit library, substitute the
27 16-bit functions and 16-bit structures (for example, \fIpcre16_jit_stack\fP
28 instead of \fIpcre_jit_stack\fP). If you are using the 32-bit library,
29 substitute the 32-bit functions and 32-bit structures (for example,
30 \fIpcre32_jit_stack\fP instead of \fIpcre_jit_stack\fP).
31 .
32 .
34 .rs
35 .sp
36 JIT support is an optional feature of PCRE. The "configure" option --enable-jit
37 (or equivalent CMake option) must be set when PCRE is built if you want to use
38 JIT. The support is limited to the following hardware platforms:
39 .sp
40 ARM v5, v7, and Thumb2
41 Intel x86 32-bit and 64-bit
42 MIPS 32-bit
43 Power PC 32-bit and 64-bit
44 SPARC 32-bit (experimental)
45 .sp
46 If --enable-jit is set on an unsupported platform, compilation fails.
47 .P
48 A program that is linked with PCRE 8.20 or later can tell if JIT support is
49 available by calling \fBpcre_config()\fP with the PCRE_CONFIG_JIT option. The
50 result is 1 when JIT is available, and 0 otherwise. However, a simple program
51 does not need to check this in order to use JIT. The normal API is implemented
52 in a way that falls back to the interpretive code if JIT is not available. For
53 programs that need the best possible performance, there is also a "fast path"
54 API that is JIT-specific.
55 .P
56 If your program may sometimes be linked with versions of PCRE that are older
57 than 8.20, but you want to use JIT when it is available, you can test
58 the values of PCRE_MAJOR and PCRE_MINOR, or the existence of a JIT macro such
59 as PCRE_CONFIG_JIT, for compile-time control of your code.
60 .
61 .
63 .rs
64 .sp
65 You have to do two things to make use of the JIT support in the simplest way:
66 .sp
67 (1) Call \fBpcre_study()\fP with the PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE option for
68 each compiled pattern, and pass the resulting \fBpcre_extra\fP block to
69 \fBpcre_exec()\fP.
70 .sp
71 (2) Use \fBpcre_free_study()\fP to free the \fBpcre_extra\fP block when it is
72 no longer needed, instead of just freeing it yourself. This ensures that
73 any JIT data is also freed.
74 .sp
75 For a program that may be linked with pre-8.20 versions of PCRE, you can insert
76 .sp
79 #endif
80 .sp
81 so that no option is passed to \fBpcre_study()\fP, and then use something like
82 this to free the study data:
83 .sp
85 pcre_free_study(study_ptr);
86 #else
87 pcre_free(study_ptr);
88 #endif
89 .sp
90 PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE requests the JIT compiler to generate code for complete
91 matches. If you want to run partial matches using the PCRE_PARTIAL_HARD or
92 PCRE_PARTIAL_SOFT options of \fBpcre_exec()\fP, you should set one or both of
93 the following options in addition to, or instead of, PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE
94 when you call \fBpcre_study()\fP:
95 .sp
98 .sp
99 The JIT compiler generates different optimized code for each of the three
100 modes (normal, soft partial, hard partial). When \fBpcre_exec()\fP is called,
101 the appropriate code is run if it is available. Otherwise, the pattern is
102 matched using interpretive code.
103 .P
104 In some circumstances you may need to call additional functions. These are
105 described in the section entitled
106 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
107 .\" </a>
108 "Controlling the JIT stack"
109 .\"
110 below.
111 .P
112 If JIT support is not available, PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc. are ignored, and
113 no JIT data is created. Otherwise, the compiled pattern is passed to the JIT
114 compiler, which turns it into machine code that executes much faster than the
115 normal interpretive code. When \fBpcre_exec()\fP is passed a \fBpcre_extra\fP
116 block containing a pointer to JIT code of the appropriate mode (normal or
117 hard/soft partial), it obeys that code instead of running the interpreter. The
118 result is identical, but the compiled JIT code runs much faster.
119 .P
120 There are some \fBpcre_exec()\fP options that are not supported for JIT
121 execution. There are also some pattern items that JIT cannot handle. Details
122 are given below. In both cases, execution automatically falls back to the
123 interpretive code. If you want to know whether JIT was actually used for a
124 particular match, you should arrange for a JIT callback function to be set up
125 as described in the section entitled
126 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
127 .\" </a>
128 "Controlling the JIT stack"
129 .\"
130 below, even if you do not need to supply a non-default JIT stack. Such a
131 callback function is called whenever JIT code is about to be obeyed. If the
132 execution options are not right for JIT execution, the callback function is not
133 obeyed.
134 .P
135 If the JIT compiler finds an unsupported item, no JIT data is generated. You
136 can find out if JIT execution is available after studying a pattern by calling
137 \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP with the PCRE_INFO_JIT option. A result of 1 means that
138 JIT compilation was successful. A result of 0 means that JIT support is not
139 available, or the pattern was not studied with PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc., or
140 the JIT compiler was not able to handle the pattern.
141 .P
142 Once a pattern has been studied, with or without JIT, it can be used as many
143 times as you like for matching different subject strings.
144 .
145 .
147 .rs
148 .sp
149 The only \fBpcre_exec()\fP options that are supported for JIT execution are
153 .P
154 The unsupported pattern items are:
155 .sp
156 \eC match a single byte; not supported in UTF-8 mode
157 (?Cn) callouts
158 (*PRUNE) )
159 (*SKIP) ) backtracking control verbs
160 (*THEN) )
161 .sp
162 Support for some of these may be added in future.
163 .
164 .
166 .rs
167 .sp
168 When a pattern is matched using JIT execution, the return values are the same
169 as those given by the interpretive \fBpcre_exec()\fP code, with the addition of
170 one new error code: PCRE_ERROR_JIT_STACKLIMIT. This means that the memory used
171 for the JIT stack was insufficient. See
172 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
173 .\" </a>
174 "Controlling the JIT stack"
175 .\"
176 below for a discussion of JIT stack usage. For compatibility with the
177 interpretive \fBpcre_exec()\fP code, no more than two-thirds of the
178 \fIovector\fP argument is used for passing back captured substrings.
179 .P
180 The error code PCRE_ERROR_MATCHLIMIT is returned by the JIT code if searching a
181 very large pattern tree goes on for too long, as it is in the same circumstance
182 when JIT is not used, but the details of exactly what is counted are not the
183 same. The PCRE_ERROR_RECURSIONLIMIT error code is never returned by JIT
184 execution.
185 .
186 .
188 .rs
189 .sp
190 The code that is generated by the JIT compiler is architecture-specific, and is
191 also position dependent. For those reasons it cannot be saved (in a file or
192 database) and restored later like the bytecode and other data of a compiled
193 pattern. Saving and restoring compiled patterns is not something many people
194 do. More detail about this facility is given in the
195 .\" HREF
196 \fBpcreprecompile\fP
197 .\"
198 documentation. It should be possible to run \fBpcre_study()\fP on a saved and
199 restored pattern, and thereby recreate the JIT data, but because JIT
200 compilation uses significant resources, it is probably not worth doing this;
201 you might as well recompile the original pattern.
202 .
203 .
204 .\" HTML <a name="stackcontrol"></a>
206 .rs
207 .sp
208 When the compiled JIT code runs, it needs a block of memory to use as a stack.
209 By default, it uses 32K on the machine stack. However, some large or
210 complicated patterns need more than this. The error PCRE_ERROR_JIT_STACKLIMIT
211 is given when there is not enough stack. Three functions are provided for
212 managing blocks of memory for use as JIT stacks. There is further discussion
213 about the use of JIT stacks in the section entitled
214 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
215 .\" </a>
216 "JIT stack FAQ"
217 .\"
218 below.
219 .P
220 The \fBpcre_jit_stack_alloc()\fP function creates a JIT stack. Its arguments
221 are a starting size and a maximum size, and it returns a pointer to an opaque
222 structure of type \fBpcre_jit_stack\fP, or NULL if there is an error. The
223 \fBpcre_jit_stack_free()\fP function can be used to free a stack that is no
224 longer needed. (For the technically minded: the address space is allocated by
225 mmap or VirtualAlloc.)
226 .P
227 JIT uses far less memory for recursion than the interpretive code,
228 and a maximum stack size of 512K to 1M should be more than enough for any
229 pattern.
230 .P
231 The \fBpcre_assign_jit_stack()\fP function specifies which stack JIT code
232 should use. Its arguments are as follows:
233 .sp
234 pcre_extra *extra
235 pcre_jit_callback callback
236 void *data
237 .sp
238 The \fIextra\fP argument must be the result of studying a pattern with
239 PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc. There are three cases for the values of the other
240 two options:
241 .sp
242 (1) If \fIcallback\fP is NULL and \fIdata\fP is NULL, an internal 32K block
243 on the machine stack is used.
244 .sp
245 (2) If \fIcallback\fP is NULL and \fIdata\fP is not NULL, \fIdata\fP must be
246 a valid JIT stack, the result of calling \fBpcre_jit_stack_alloc()\fP.
247 .sp
248 (3) If \fIcallback\fP is not NULL, it must point to a function that is
249 called with \fIdata\fP as an argument at the start of matching, in
250 order to set up a JIT stack. If the return from the callback
251 function is NULL, the internal 32K stack is used; otherwise the
252 return value must be a valid JIT stack, the result of calling
253 \fBpcre_jit_stack_alloc()\fP.
254 .sp
255 A callback function is obeyed whenever JIT code is about to be run; it is not
256 obeyed when \fBpcre_exec()\fP is called with options that are incompatible for
257 JIT execution. A callback function can therefore be used to determine whether a
258 match operation was executed by JIT or by the interpreter.
259 .P
260 You may safely use the same JIT stack for more than one pattern (either by
261 assigning directly or by callback), as long as the patterns are all matched
262 sequentially in the same thread. In a multithread application, if you do not
263 specify a JIT stack, or if you assign or pass back NULL from a callback, that
264 is thread-safe, because each thread has its own machine stack. However, if you
265 assign or pass back a non-NULL JIT stack, this must be a different stack for
266 each thread so that the application is thread-safe.
267 .P
268 Strictly speaking, even more is allowed. You can assign the same non-NULL stack
269 to any number of patterns as long as they are not used for matching by multiple
270 threads at the same time. For example, you can assign the same stack to all
271 compiled patterns, and use a global mutex in the callback to wait until the
272 stack is available for use. However, this is an inefficient solution, and not
273 recommended.
274 .P
275 This is a suggestion for how a multithreaded program that needs to set up
276 non-default JIT stacks might operate:
277 .sp
278 During thread initalization
279 thread_local_var = pcre_jit_stack_alloc(...)
280 .sp
281 During thread exit
282 pcre_jit_stack_free(thread_local_var)
283 .sp
284 Use a one-line callback function
285 return thread_local_var
286 .sp
287 All the functions described in this section do nothing if JIT is not available,
288 and \fBpcre_assign_jit_stack()\fP does nothing unless the \fBextra\fP argument
289 is non-NULL and points to a \fBpcre_extra\fP block that is the result of a
290 successful study with PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc.
291 .
292 .
293 .\" HTML <a name="stackfaq"></a>
295 .rs
296 .sp
297 (1) Why do we need JIT stacks?
298 .sp
299 PCRE (and JIT) is a recursive, depth-first engine, so it needs a stack where
300 the local data of the current node is pushed before checking its child nodes.
301 Allocating real machine stack on some platforms is difficult. For example, the
302 stack chain needs to be updated every time if we extend the stack on PowerPC.
303 Although it is possible, its updating time overhead decreases performance. So
304 we do the recursion in memory.
305 .P
306 (2) Why don't we simply allocate blocks of memory with \fBmalloc()\fP?
307 .sp
308 Modern operating systems have a nice feature: they can reserve an address space
309 instead of allocating memory. We can safely allocate memory pages inside this
310 address space, so the stack could grow without moving memory data (this is
311 important because of pointers). Thus we can allocate 1M address space, and use
312 only a single memory page (usually 4K) if that is enough. However, we can still
313 grow up to 1M anytime if needed.
314 .P
315 (3) Who "owns" a JIT stack?
316 .sp
317 The owner of the stack is the user program, not the JIT studied pattern or
318 anything else. The user program must ensure that if a stack is used by
319 \fBpcre_exec()\fP, (that is, it is assigned to the pattern currently running),
320 that stack must not be used by any other threads (to avoid overwriting the same
321 memory area). The best practice for multithreaded programs is to allocate a
322 stack for each thread, and return this stack through the JIT callback function.
323 .P
324 (4) When should a JIT stack be freed?
325 .sp
326 You can free a JIT stack at any time, as long as it will not be used by
327 \fBpcre_exec()\fP again. When you assign the stack to a pattern, only a pointer
328 is set. There is no reference counting or any other magic. You can free the
329 patterns and stacks in any order, anytime. Just \fIdo not\fP call
330 \fBpcre_exec()\fP with a pattern pointing to an already freed stack, as that
331 will cause SEGFAULT. (Also, do not free a stack currently used by
332 \fBpcre_exec()\fP in another thread). You can also replace the stack for a
333 pattern at any time. You can even free the previous stack before assigning a
334 replacement.
335 .P
336 (5) Should I allocate/free a stack every time before/after calling
337 \fBpcre_exec()\fP?
338 .sp
339 No, because this is too costly in terms of resources. However, you could
340 implement some clever idea which release the stack if it is not used in let's
341 say two minutes. The JIT callback can help to achieve this without keeping a
342 list of the currently JIT studied patterns.
343 .P
344 (6) OK, the stack is for long term memory allocation. But what happens if a
345 pattern causes stack overflow with a stack of 1M? Is that 1M kept until the
346 stack is freed?
347 .sp
348 Especially on embedded sytems, it might be a good idea to release memory
349 sometimes without freeing the stack. There is no API for this at the moment.
350 Probably a function call which returns with the currently allocated memory for
351 any stack and another which allows releasing memory (shrinking the stack) would
352 be a good idea if someone needs this.
353 .P
354 (7) This is too much of a headache. Isn't there any better solution for JIT
355 stack handling?
356 .sp
357 No, thanks to Windows. If POSIX threads were used everywhere, we could throw
358 out this complicated API.
359 .
360 .
362 .rs
363 .sp
364 This is a single-threaded example that specifies a JIT stack without using a
365 callback.
366 .sp
367 int rc;
368 int ovector[30];
369 pcre *re;
370 pcre_extra *extra;
371 pcre_jit_stack *jit_stack;
372 .sp
373 re = pcre_compile(pattern, 0, &error, &erroffset, NULL);
374 /* Check for errors */
375 extra = pcre_study(re, PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE, &error);
376 jit_stack = pcre_jit_stack_alloc(32*1024, 512*1024);
377 /* Check for error (NULL) */
378 pcre_assign_jit_stack(extra, NULL, jit_stack);
379 rc = pcre_exec(re, extra, subject, length, 0, 0, ovector, 30);
380 /* Check results */
381 pcre_free(re);
382 pcre_free_study(extra);
383 pcre_jit_stack_free(jit_stack);
384 .sp
385 .
386 .
388 .rs
389 .sp
390 Because the API described above falls back to interpreted execution when JIT is
391 not available, it is convenient for programs that are written for general use
392 in many environments. However, calling JIT via \fBpcre_exec()\fP does have a
393 performance impact. Programs that are written for use where JIT is known to be
394 available, and which need the best possible performance, can instead use a
395 "fast path" API to call JIT execution directly instead of calling
396 \fBpcre_exec()\fP (obviously only for patterns that have been successfully
397 studied by JIT).
398 .P
399 The fast path function is called \fBpcre_jit_exec()\fP, and it takes exactly
400 the same arguments as \fBpcre_exec()\fP, plus one additional argument that
401 must point to a JIT stack. The JIT stack arrangements described above do not
402 apply. The return values are the same as for \fBpcre_exec()\fP.
403 .P
404 When you call \fBpcre_exec()\fP, as well as testing for invalid options, a
405 number of other sanity checks are performed on the arguments. For example, if
406 the subject pointer is NULL, or its length is negative, an immediate error is
407 given. Also, unless PCRE_NO_UTF[8|16|32] is set, a UTF subject string is tested
408 for validity. In the interests of speed, these checks do not happen on the JIT
409 fast path, and if invalid data is passed, the result is undefined.
410 .P
411 Bypassing the sanity checks and the \fBpcre_exec()\fP wrapping can give
412 speedups of more than 10%.
413 .
414 .
415 .SH "SEE ALSO"
416 .rs
417 .sp
418 \fBpcreapi\fP(3)
419 .
420 .
422 .rs
423 .sp
424 .nf
425 Philip Hazel (FAQ by Zoltan Herczeg)
426 University Computing Service
427 Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
428 .fi
429 .
430 .
432 .rs
433 .sp
434 .nf
435 Last updated: 31 October 2012
436 Copyright (c) 1997-2012 University of Cambridge.
437 .fi

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