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1  .TH PCREPATTERN 3 "05 April 2013" "PCRE 8.33"  .TH PCREPATTERN 3 "26 April 2013" "PCRE 8.33"
2  .SH NAME  .SH NAME
3  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressions  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressions
4  .SH "PCRE REGULAR EXPRESSION DETAILS"  .SH "PCRE REGULAR EXPRESSION DETAILS"
# Line 20  have copious examples. Jeffrey Friedl's Line 20  have copious examples. Jeffrey Friedl's
20  published by O'Reilly, covers regular expressions in great detail. This  published by O'Reilly, covers regular expressions in great detail. This
21  description of PCRE's regular expressions is intended as reference material.  description of PCRE's regular expressions is intended as reference material.
22  .P  .P
23    This document discusses the patterns that are supported by PCRE when one its
24    main matching functions, \fBpcre_exec()\fP (8-bit) or \fBpcre[16|32]_exec()\fP
25    (16- or 32-bit), is used. PCRE also has alternative matching functions,
26    \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP and \fBpcre[16|32_dfa_exec()\fP, which match using a
27    different algorithm that is not Perl-compatible. Some of the features discussed
28    below are not available when DFA matching is used. The advantages and
29    disadvantages of the alternative functions, and how they differ from the normal
30    functions, are discussed in the
31    .\" HREF
32    \fBpcrematching\fP
33    .\"
34    page.
35    .
36    .
37    .SH "SPECIAL START-OF-PATTERN ITEMS"
38    .rs
39    .sp
40    A number of options that can be passed to \fBpcre_compile()\fP can also be set
41    by special items at the start of a pattern. These are not Perl-compatible, but
42    are provided to make these options accessible to pattern writers who are not
43    able to change the program that processes the pattern. Any number of these
44    items may appear, but they must all be together right at the start of the
45    pattern string, and the letters must be in upper case.
46    .
47    .
48    .SS "UTF support"
49    .rs
50    .sp
51  The original operation of PCRE was on strings of one-byte characters. However,  The original operation of PCRE was on strings of one-byte characters. However,
52  there is now also support for UTF-8 strings in the original library, an  there is now also support for UTF-8 strings in the original library, an
53  extra library that supports 16-bit and UTF-16 character strings, and a  extra library that supports 16-bit and UTF-16 character strings, and a
# Line 36  these special sequences: Line 64  these special sequences:
64  .sp  .sp
65  (*UTF) is a generic sequence that can be used with any of the libraries.  (*UTF) is a generic sequence that can be used with any of the libraries.
66  Starting a pattern with such a sequence is equivalent to setting the relevant  Starting a pattern with such a sequence is equivalent to setting the relevant
67  option. This feature is not Perl-compatible. How setting a UTF mode affects  option. How setting a UTF mode affects pattern matching is mentioned in several
68  pattern matching is mentioned in several places below. There is also a summary  places below. There is also a summary of features in the
 of features in the  
69  .\" HREF  .\" HREF
70  \fBpcreunicode\fP  \fBpcreunicode\fP
71  .\"  .\"
72  page.  page.
73  .P  .P
74  Another special sequence that may appear at the start of a pattern or in  Some applications that allow their users to supply patterns may wish to
75  combination with (*UTF8), (*UTF16), (*UTF32) or (*UTF) is:  restrict them to non-UTF data for security reasons. If the PCRE_NEVER_UTF
76    option is set at compile time, (*UTF) etc. are not allowed, and their
77    appearance causes an error.
78    .
79    .
80    .SS "Unicode property support"
81    .rs
82    .sp
83    Another special sequence that may appear at the start of a pattern is
84  .sp  .sp
85    (*UCP)    (*UCP)
86  .sp  .sp
# Line 53  This has the same effect as setting the Line 88  This has the same effect as setting the
88  such as \ed and \ew to use Unicode properties to determine character types,  such as \ed and \ew to use Unicode properties to determine character types,
89  instead of recognizing only characters with codes less than 128 via a lookup  instead of recognizing only characters with codes less than 128 via a lookup
90  table.  table.
 .P  
 If a pattern starts with (*NO_START_OPT), it has the same effect as setting the  
 PCRE_NO_START_OPTIMIZE option either at compile or matching time. There are  
 also some more of these special sequences that are concerned with the handling  
 of newlines; they are described below.  
 .P  
 The remainder of this document discusses the patterns that are supported by  
 PCRE when one its main matching functions, \fBpcre_exec()\fP (8-bit) or  
 \fBpcre[16|32]_exec()\fP (16- or 32-bit), is used. PCRE also has alternative  
 matching functions, \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP and \fBpcre[16|32_dfa_exec()\fP,  
 which match using a different algorithm that is not Perl-compatible. Some of  
 the features discussed below are not available when DFA matching is used. The  
 advantages and disadvantages of the alternative functions, and how they differ  
 from the normal functions, are discussed in the  
 .\" HREF  
 \fBpcrematching\fP  
 .\"  
 page.  
91  .  .
92  .  .
93  .SH "EBCDIC CHARACTER CODES"  .SS "Disabling start-up optimizations"
94  .rs  .rs
95  .sp  .sp
96  PCRE can be compiled to run in an environment that uses EBCDIC as its character  If a pattern starts with (*NO_START_OPT), it has the same effect as setting the
97  code rather than ASCII or Unicode (typically a mainframe system). In the  PCRE_NO_START_OPTIMIZE option either at compile or matching time.
 sections below, character code values are ASCII or Unicode; in an EBCDIC  
 environment these characters may have different code values, and there are no  
 code points greater than 255.  
98  .  .
99  .  .
100  .\" HTML <a name="newlines"></a>  .\" HTML <a name="newlines"></a>
101  .SH "NEWLINE CONVENTIONS"  .SS "Newline conventions"
102  .rs  .rs
103  .sp  .sp
104  PCRE supports five different conventions for indicating line breaks in  PCRE supports five different conventions for indicating line breaks in
# Line 117  example, on a Unix system where LF is th Line 131  example, on a Unix system where LF is th
131    (*CR)a.b    (*CR)a.b
132  .sp  .sp
133  changes the convention to CR. That pattern matches "a\enb" because LF is no  changes the convention to CR. That pattern matches "a\enb" because LF is no
134  longer a newline. Note that these special settings, which are not  longer a newline. If more than one of these settings is present, the last one
 Perl-compatible, are recognized only at the very start of a pattern, and that  
 they must be in upper case. If more than one of them is present, the last one  
135  is used.  is used.
136  .P  .P
137  The newline convention affects where the circumflex and dollar assertions are  The newline convention affects where the circumflex and dollar assertions are
# Line 136  below. A change of \eR setting can be co Line 148  below. A change of \eR setting can be co
148  convention.  convention.
149  .  .
150  .  .
151    .SS "Setting match and recursion limits"
152    .rs
153    .sp
154    The caller of \fBpcre_exec()\fP can set a limit on the number of times the
155    internal \fBmatch()\fP function is called and on the maximum depth of
156    recursive calls. These facilities are provided to catch runaway matches that
157    are provoked by patterns with huge matching trees (a typical example is a
158    pattern with nested unlimited repeats) and to avoid running out of system stack
159    by too much recursion. When one of these limits is reached, \fBpcre_exec()\fP
160    gives an error return. The limits can also be set by items at the start of the
161    pattern of the form
162    .sp
163      (*LIMIT_MATCH=d)
164      (*LIMIT_RECURSION=d)
165    .sp
166    where d is any number of decimal digits. However, the value of the setting must
167    be less than the value set by the caller of \fBpcre_exec()\fP for it to have
168    any effect. In other words, the pattern writer can lower the limit set by the
169    programmer, but not raise it. If there is more than one setting of one of these
170    limits, the lower value is used.
171    .
172    .
173    .SH "EBCDIC CHARACTER CODES"
174    .rs
175    .sp
176    PCRE can be compiled to run in an environment that uses EBCDIC as its character
177    code rather than ASCII or Unicode (typically a mainframe system). In the
178    sections below, character code values are ASCII or Unicode; in an EBCDIC
179    environment these characters may have different code values, and there are no
180    code points greater than 255.
181    .
182    .
183  .SH "CHARACTERS AND METACHARACTERS"  .SH "CHARACTERS AND METACHARACTERS"
184  .rs  .rs
185  .sp  .sp
# Line 3101  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England. Line 3145  Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.
3145  .rs  .rs
3146  .sp  .sp
3147  .nf  .nf
3148  Last updated: 05 April 2013  Last updated: 26 April 2013
3149  Copyright (c) 1997-2013 University of Cambridge.  Copyright (c) 1997-2013 University of Cambridge.
3150  .fi  .fi

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