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1 .TH PCREJIT 3 "23 February 2012" "PCRE 8.31"
2 .SH NAME
3 PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressions
4 .SH "PCRE JUST-IN-TIME COMPILER SUPPORT"
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 .
21 .SH "8-BIT and 16-BIT SUPPORT"
22 .rs
23 .sp
24 JIT support is available for both the 8-bit and 16-bit PCRE libraries. To keep
25 this documentation simple, only the 8-bit interface is described in what
26 follows. If you are using the 16-bit library, substitute the 16-bit functions
27 and 16-bit structures (for example, \fIpcre16_jit_stack\fP instead of
28 \fIpcre_jit_stack\fP).
29 .
30 .
31 .SH "AVAILABILITY OF JIT SUPPORT"
32 .rs
33 .sp
34 JIT support is an optional feature of PCRE. The "configure" option --enable-jit
35 (or equivalent CMake option) must be set when PCRE is built if you want to use
36 JIT. The support is limited to the following hardware platforms:
37 .sp
38 ARM v5, v7, and Thumb2
39 Intel x86 32-bit and 64-bit
40 MIPS 32-bit
41 Power PC 32-bit and 64-bit
42 .sp
43 If --enable-jit is set on an unsupported platform, compilation fails.
44 .P
45 A program that is linked with PCRE 8.20 or later can tell if JIT support is
46 available by calling \fBpcre_config()\fP with the PCRE_CONFIG_JIT option. The
47 result is 1 when JIT is available, and 0 otherwise. However, a simple program
48 does not need to check this in order to use JIT. The API is implemented in a
49 way that falls back to the interpretive code if JIT is not available.
50 .P
51 If your program may sometimes be linked with versions of PCRE that are older
52 than 8.20, but you want to use JIT when it is available, you can test
53 the values of PCRE_MAJOR and PCRE_MINOR, or the existence of a JIT macro such
54 as PCRE_CONFIG_JIT, for compile-time control of your code.
55 .
56 .
57 .SH "SIMPLE USE OF JIT"
58 .rs
59 .sp
60 You have to do two things to make use of the JIT support in the simplest way:
61 .sp
62 (1) Call \fBpcre_study()\fP with the PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE option for
63 each compiled pattern, and pass the resulting \fBpcre_extra\fP block to
64 \fBpcre_exec()\fP.
65 .sp
66 (2) Use \fBpcre_free_study()\fP to free the \fBpcre_extra\fP block when it is
67 no longer needed, instead of just freeing it yourself. This
68 ensures that any JIT data is also freed.
69 .sp
70 For a program that may be linked with pre-8.20 versions of PCRE, you can insert
71 .sp
72 #ifndef PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE
73 #define PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE 0
74 #endif
75 .sp
76 so that no option is passed to \fBpcre_study()\fP, and then use something like
77 this to free the study data:
78 .sp
79 #ifdef PCRE_CONFIG_JIT
80 pcre_free_study(study_ptr);
81 #else
82 pcre_free(study_ptr);
83 #endif
84 .sp
85 PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE requests the JIT compiler to generate code for complete
86 matches. If you want to run partial matches using the PCRE_PARTIAL_HARD or
87 PCRE_PARTIAL_SOFT options of \fBpcre_exec()\fP, you should set one or both of
88 the following options in addition to, or instead of, PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE
89 when you call \fBpcre_study()\fP:
90 .sp
91 PCRE_STUDY_JIT_PARTIAL_HARD_COMPILE
92 PCRE_STUDY_JIT_PARTIAL_SOFT_COMPILE
93 .sp
94 The JIT compiler generates different optimized code for each of the three
95 modes (normal, soft partial, hard partial). When \fBpcre_exec()\fP is called,
96 the appropriate code is run if it is available. Otherwise, the pattern is
97 matched using interpretive code.
98 .P
99 In some circumstances you may need to call additional functions. These are
100 described in the section entitled
101 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
102 .\" </a>
103 "Controlling the JIT stack"
104 .\"
105 below.
106 .P
107 If JIT support is not available, PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc. are ignored, and
108 no JIT data is created. Otherwise, the compiled pattern is passed to the JIT
109 compiler, which turns it into machine code that executes much faster than the
110 normal interpretive code. When \fBpcre_exec()\fP is passed a \fBpcre_extra\fP
111 block containing a pointer to JIT code of the appropriate mode (normal or
112 hard/soft partial), it obeys that code instead of running the interpreter. The
113 result is identical, but the compiled JIT code runs much faster.
114 .P
115 There are some \fBpcre_exec()\fP options that are not supported for JIT
116 execution. There are also some pattern items that JIT cannot handle. Details
117 are given below. In both cases, execution automatically falls back to the
118 interpretive code. If you want to know whether JIT was actually used for a
119 particular match, you should arrange for a JIT callback function to be set up
120 as described in the section entitled
121 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
122 .\" </a>
123 "Controlling the JIT stack"
124 .\"
125 below, even if you do not need to supply a non-default JIT stack. Such a
126 callback function is called whenever JIT code is about to be obeyed. If the
127 execution options are not right for JIT execution, the callback function is not
128 obeyed.
129 .P
130 If the JIT compiler finds an unsupported item, no JIT data is generated. You
131 can find out if JIT execution is available after studying a pattern by calling
132 \fBpcre_fullinfo()\fP with the PCRE_INFO_JIT option. A result of 1 means that
133 JIT compilation was successful. A result of 0 means that JIT support is not
134 available, or the pattern was not studied with PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc., or
135 the JIT compiler was not able to handle the pattern.
136 .P
137 Once a pattern has been studied, with or without JIT, it can be used as many
138 times as you like for matching different subject strings.
139 .
140 .
141 .SH "UNSUPPORTED OPTIONS AND PATTERN ITEMS"
142 .rs
143 .sp
144 The only \fBpcre_exec()\fP options that are supported for JIT execution are
145 PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK, PCRE_NOTBOL, PCRE_NOTEOL, PCRE_NOTEMPTY,
146 PCRE_NOTEMPTY_ATSTART, PCRE_PARTIAL_HARD, and PCRE_PARTIAL_SOFT.
147 .P
148 The unsupported pattern items are:
149 .sp
150 \eC match a single byte; not supported in UTF-8 mode
151 (?Cn) callouts
152 (*COMMIT) )
153 (*MARK) )
154 (*PRUNE) ) the backtracking control verbs
155 (*SKIP) )
156 (*THEN) )
157 .sp
158 Support for some of these may be added in future.
159 .
160 .
161 .SH "RETURN VALUES FROM JIT EXECUTION"
162 .rs
163 .sp
164 When a pattern is matched using JIT execution, the return values are the same
165 as those given by the interpretive \fBpcre_exec()\fP code, with the addition of
166 one new error code: PCRE_ERROR_JIT_STACKLIMIT. This means that the memory used
167 for the JIT stack was insufficient. See
168 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
169 .\" </a>
170 "Controlling the JIT stack"
171 .\"
172 below for a discussion of JIT stack usage. For compatibility with the
173 interpretive \fBpcre_exec()\fP code, no more than two-thirds of the
174 \fIovector\fP argument is used for passing back captured substrings.
175 .P
176 The error code PCRE_ERROR_MATCHLIMIT is returned by the JIT code if searching a
177 very large pattern tree goes on for too long, as it is in the same circumstance
178 when JIT is not used, but the details of exactly what is counted are not the
179 same. The PCRE_ERROR_RECURSIONLIMIT error code is never returned by JIT
180 execution.
181 .
182 .
183 .SH "SAVING AND RESTORING COMPILED PATTERNS"
184 .rs
185 .sp
186 The code that is generated by the JIT compiler is architecture-specific, and is
187 also position dependent. For those reasons it cannot be saved (in a file or
188 database) and restored later like the bytecode and other data of a compiled
189 pattern. Saving and restoring compiled patterns is not something many people
190 do. More detail about this facility is given in the
191 .\" HREF
192 \fBpcreprecompile\fP
193 .\"
194 documentation. It should be possible to run \fBpcre_study()\fP on a saved and
195 restored pattern, and thereby recreate the JIT data, but because JIT
196 compilation uses significant resources, it is probably not worth doing this;
197 you might as well recompile the original pattern.
198 .
199 .
200 .\" HTML <a name="stackcontrol"></a>
201 .SH "CONTROLLING THE JIT STACK"
202 .rs
203 .sp
204 When the compiled JIT code runs, it needs a block of memory to use as a stack.
205 By default, it uses 32K on the machine stack. However, some large or
206 complicated patterns need more than this. The error PCRE_ERROR_JIT_STACKLIMIT
207 is given when there is not enough stack. Three functions are provided for
208 managing blocks of memory for use as JIT stacks. There is further discussion
209 about the use of JIT stacks in the section entitled
210 .\" HTML <a href="#stackcontrol">
211 .\" </a>
212 "JIT stack FAQ"
213 .\"
214 below.
215 .P
216 The \fBpcre_jit_stack_alloc()\fP function creates a JIT stack. Its arguments
217 are a starting size and a maximum size, and it returns a pointer to an opaque
218 structure of type \fBpcre_jit_stack\fP, or NULL if there is an error. The
219 \fBpcre_jit_stack_free()\fP function can be used to free a stack that is no
220 longer needed. (For the technically minded: the address space is allocated by
221 mmap or VirtualAlloc.)
222 .P
223 JIT uses far less memory for recursion than the interpretive code,
224 and a maximum stack size of 512K to 1M should be more than enough for any
225 pattern.
226 .P
227 The \fBpcre_assign_jit_stack()\fP function specifies which stack JIT code
228 should use. Its arguments are as follows:
229 .sp
230 pcre_extra *extra
231 pcre_jit_callback callback
232 void *data
233 .sp
234 The \fIextra\fP argument must be the result of studying a pattern with
235 PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc. There are three cases for the values of the other
236 two options:
237 .sp
238 (1) If \fIcallback\fP is NULL and \fIdata\fP is NULL, an internal 32K block
239 on the machine stack is used.
240 .sp
241 (2) If \fIcallback\fP is NULL and \fIdata\fP is not NULL, \fIdata\fP must be
242 a valid JIT stack, the result of calling \fBpcre_jit_stack_alloc()\fP.
243 .sp
244 (3) If \fIcallback\fP is not NULL, it must point to a function that is
245 called with \fIdata\fP as an argument at the start of matching, in
246 order to set up a JIT stack. If the return from the callback
247 function is NULL, the internal 32K stack is used; otherwise the
248 return value must be a valid JIT stack, the result of calling
249 \fBpcre_jit_stack_alloc()\fP.
250 .sp
251 A callback function is obeyed whenever JIT code is about to be run; it is not
252 obeyed when \fBpcre_exec()\fP is called with options that are incompatible for
253 JIT execution. A callback function can therefore be used to determine whether a
254 match operation was executed by JIT or by the interpreter.
255 .P
256 You may safely use the same JIT stack for more than one pattern (either by
257 assigning directly or by callback), as long as the patterns are all matched
258 sequentially in the same thread. In a multithread application, if you do not
259 specify a JIT stack, or if you assign or pass back NULL from a callback, that
260 is thread-safe, because each thread has its own machine stack. However, if you
261 assign or pass back a non-NULL JIT stack, this must be a different stack for
262 each thread so that the application is thread-safe.
263 .P
264 Strictly speaking, even more is allowed. You can assign the same non-NULL stack
265 to any number of patterns as long as they are not used for matching by multiple
266 threads at the same time. For example, you can assign the same stack to all
267 compiled patterns, and use a global mutex in the callback to wait until the
268 stack is available for use. However, this is an inefficient solution, and not
269 recommended.
270 .P
271 This is a suggestion for how a multithreaded program that needs to set up
272 non-default JIT stacks might operate:
273 .sp
274 During thread initalization
275 thread_local_var = pcre_jit_stack_alloc(...)
276 .sp
277 During thread exit
278 pcre_jit_stack_free(thread_local_var)
279 .sp
280 Use a one-line callback function
281 return thread_local_var
282 .sp
283 All the functions described in this section do nothing if JIT is not available,
284 and \fBpcre_assign_jit_stack()\fP does nothing unless the \fBextra\fP argument
285 is non-NULL and points to a \fBpcre_extra\fP block that is the result of a
286 successful study with PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE etc.
287 .
288 .
289 .\" HTML <a name="stackfaq"></a>
290 .SH "JIT STACK FAQ"
291 .rs
292 .sp
293 (1) Why do we need JIT stacks?
294 .sp
295 PCRE (and JIT) is a recursive, depth-first engine, so it needs a stack where
296 the local data of the current node is pushed before checking its child nodes.
297 Allocating real machine stack on some platforms is difficult. For example, the
298 stack chain needs to be updated every time if we extend the stack on PowerPC.
299 Although it is possible, its updating time overhead decreases performance. So
300 we do the recursion in memory.
301 .P
302 (2) Why don't we simply allocate blocks of memory with \fBmalloc()\fP?
303 .sp
304 Modern operating systems have a nice feature: they can reserve an address space
305 instead of allocating memory. We can safely allocate memory pages inside this
306 address space, so the stack could grow without moving memory data (this is
307 important because of pointers). Thus we can allocate 1M address space, and use
308 only a single memory page (usually 4K) if that is enough. However, we can still
309 grow up to 1M anytime if needed.
310 .P
311 (3) Who "owns" a JIT stack?
312 .sp
313 The owner of the stack is the user program, not the JIT studied pattern or
314 anything else. The user program must ensure that if a stack is used by
315 \fBpcre_exec()\fP, (that is, it is assigned to the pattern currently running),
316 that stack must not be used by any other threads (to avoid overwriting the same
317 memory area). The best practice for multithreaded programs is to allocate a
318 stack for each thread, and return this stack through the JIT callback function.
319 .P
320 (4) When should a JIT stack be freed?
321 .sp
322 You can free a JIT stack at any time, as long as it will not be used by
323 \fBpcre_exec()\fP again. When you assign the stack to a pattern, only a pointer
324 is set. There is no reference counting or any other magic. You can free the
325 patterns and stacks in any order, anytime. Just \fIdo not\fP call
326 \fBpcre_exec()\fP with a pattern pointing to an already freed stack, as that
327 will cause SEGFAULT. (Also, do not free a stack currently used by
328 \fBpcre_exec()\fP in another thread). You can also replace the stack for a
329 pattern at any time. You can even free the previous stack before assigning a
330 replacement.
331 .P
332 (5) Should I allocate/free a stack every time before/after calling
333 \fBpcre_exec()\fP?
334 .sp
335 No, because this is too costly in terms of resources. However, you could
336 implement some clever idea which release the stack if it is not used in let's
337 say two minutes. The JIT callback can help to achive this without keeping a
338 list of the currently JIT studied patterns.
339 .P
340 (6) OK, the stack is for long term memory allocation. But what happens if a
341 pattern causes stack overflow with a stack of 1M? Is that 1M kept until the
342 stack is freed?
343 .sp
344 Especially on embedded sytems, it might be a good idea to release memory
345 sometimes without freeing the stack. There is no API for this at the moment.
346 Probably a function call which returns with the currently allocated memory for
347 any stack and another which allows releasing memory (shrinking the stack) would
348 be a good idea if someone needs this.
349 .P
350 (7) This is too much of a headache. Isn't there any better solution for JIT
351 stack handling?
352 .sp
353 No, thanks to Windows. If POSIX threads were used everywhere, we could throw
354 out this complicated API.
355 .
356 .
357 .SH "EXAMPLE CODE"
358 .rs
359 .sp
360 This is a single-threaded example that specifies a JIT stack without using a
361 callback.
362 .sp
363 int rc;
364 int ovector[30];
365 pcre *re;
366 pcre_extra *extra;
367 pcre_jit_stack *jit_stack;
368 .sp
369 re = pcre_compile(pattern, 0, &error, &erroffset, NULL);
370 /* Check for errors */
371 extra = pcre_study(re, PCRE_STUDY_JIT_COMPILE, &error);
372 jit_stack = pcre_jit_stack_alloc(32*1024, 512*1024);
373 /* Check for error (NULL) */
374 pcre_assign_jit_stack(extra, NULL, jit_stack);
375 rc = pcre_exec(re, extra, subject, length, 0, 0, ovector, 30);
376 /* Check results */
377 pcre_free(re);
378 pcre_free_study(extra);
379 pcre_jit_stack_free(jit_stack);
380 .sp
381 .
382 .
383 .SH "SEE ALSO"
384 .rs
385 .sp
386 \fBpcreapi\fP(3)
387 .
388 .
389 .SH AUTHOR
390 .rs
391 .sp
392 .nf
393 Philip Hazel (FAQ by Zoltan Herczeg)
394 University Computing Service
395 Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
396 .fi
397 .
398 .
399 .SH REVISION
400 .rs
401 .sp
402 .nf
403 Last updated: 23 February 2012
404 Copyright (c) 1997-2012 University of Cambridge.
405 .fi

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