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Prepare for release candidate.
1 MAINTENANCE README FOR PCRE
2 ===========================
3
4 The files in the "maint" directory of the PCRE source contain data, scripts,
5 and programs that are used for the maintenance of PCRE, but which do not form
6 part of the PCRE distribution tarballs. This document describes these files and
7 also contains some notes for maintainers. Its contents are:
8
9 Files in the maint directory
10 Updating to a new Unicode release
11 Preparing for a PCRE release
12 Making a PCRE release
13 Long-term ideas (wish list)
14
15
16 Files in the maint directory
17 ============================
18
19 ---------------- This file is now OBSOLETE and no longer used ----------------
20 Builducptable A Perl script that creates the contents of the ucptable.h file
21 from two Unicode data files, which themselves are downloaded
22 from the Unicode web site. Run this script in the "maint"
23 directory.
24 ---------------- This file is now OBSOLETE and no longer used ----------------
25
26 GenerateUtt.py A Python script to generate part of the pcre_tables.c file
27 that contains Unicode script names in a long string with
28 offsets, which is tedious to maintain by hand.
29
30 ManyConfigTests A shell script that runs "configure, make, test" a number of
31 times with different configuration settings.
32
33 MultiStage2.py A Python script that generates the file pcre_ucd.c from three
34 Unicode data tables, which are themselves downloaded from the
35 Unicode web site. Run this script in the "maint" directory.
36 The generated file contains the tables for a 2-stage lookup
37 of Unicode properties.
38
39 README This file.
40
41 Unicode.tables The files in this directory, DerivedGeneralCategory.txt,
42 Scripts.txt and UnicodeData.txt, were downloaded from the
43 Unicode web site. They contain information about Unicode
44 characters and scripts.
45
46 ucptest.c A short C program for testing the Unicode property macros
47 that do lookups in the pcre_ucd.c data, mainly useful after
48 rebuilding the Unicode property table. Compile and run this in
49 the "maint" directory (see comments at its head).
50
51 ucptestdata A directory containing two files, testinput1 and testoutput1,
52 to use in conjunction with the ucptest program.
53
54 utf8.c A short, freestanding C program for converting a Unicode code
55 point into a sequence of bytes in the UTF-8 encoding, and vice
56 versa. If its argument is a hex number such as 0x1234, it
57 outputs a list of the equivalent UTF-8 bytes. If its argument
58 is sequence of concatenated UTF-8 bytes (e.g. e188b4) it
59 treats them as a UTF-8 character and outputs the equivalent
60 code point in hex.
61
62
63 Updating to a new Unicode release
64 =================================
65
66 When there is a new release of Unicode, the files in Unicode.tables must be
67 refreshed from the web site. If the new version of Unicode adds new character
68 scripts, the source file ucp.h and both the MultiStage2.py and the
69 GenerateUtt.py scripts must be edited to add the new names. Then MultiStage2.py
70 can be run to generate a new version of pcre_ucd.c, and GenerateUtt.py can be
71 run to generate the tricky tables for inclusion in pcre_tables.c.
72
73 If MultiStage2.py gives the error "ValueError: list.index(x): x not in list",
74 the cause is usually a missing (or misspelt) name in the list of scripts. I
75 couldn't find a straightforward list of scripts on the Unicode site, but
76 there's a useful Wikipedia page that list them, and notes the Unicode version
77 in which they were introduced:
78
79 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode_scripts#Table_of_Unicode_scripts
80
81 The ucptest program can be compiled and used to check that the new tables in
82 pcre_ucd.c work properly, using the data files in ucptestdata to check a number
83 of test characters. The source file ucptest.c must be updated whenever new
84 Unicode script names are added.
85
86 Note also that both the pcresyntax.3 and pcrepattern.3 man pages contain lists
87 of Unicode script names.
88
89
90 Preparing for a PCRE release
91 ============================
92
93 This section contains a checklist of things that I consult before building a
94 distribution for a new release.
95
96 . Ensure that the version number and version date are correct in configure.ac.
97
98 . If new build options have been added, ensure that they are added to the CMake
99 files as well as to the autoconf files.
100
101 . Run ./autogen.sh to ensure everything is up-to-date.
102
103 . Compile and test with many different config options, and combinations of
104 options. The maint/ManyConfigTests script now encapsulates this testing.
105
106 . Run perltest.pl on the test data for tests 1, 4, 6, and 11. The first two can
107 be run with Perl 5.8 or >= 5.10; the last two require Perl >= 5.10. The
108 output should match the PCRE test output, apart from the version
109 identification at the start of each test. The other tests are not
110 Perl-compatible (they use various PCRE-specific features or options).
111
112 . Test with valgrind by running "RunTest valgrind". There is also "RunGrepTest
113 valgrind", though that takes quite a long time.
114
115 . It may also useful to test with Electric Fence, though the fact that it
116 grumbles for missing free() calls can be a nuisance. (A missing free() in
117 pcretest is hardly a big problem.) To build with EF, use:
118
119 LIBS='/usr/lib/libefence.a -lpthread' with ./configure.
120
121 Then all normal runs use it to check for buffer overflow. Also run everything
122 with:
123
124 EF_PROTECT_BELOW=1 <whatever>
125
126 because there have been problems with lookbehinds that looked too far.
127
128 . Test with the emulated memmove() function by undefining HAVE_MEMMOVE and
129 HAVE_BCOPY in config.h. You may see a number of "pcre_memmove defined but not
130 used" warnings for the modules in which there is no call to memmove(). These
131 can be ignored.
132
133 . Documentation: check AUTHORS, COPYING, ChangeLog (check version and date),
134 INSTALL, LICENCE, NEWS (check version and date), NON-UNIX-USE, and README.
135 Many of these won't need changing, but over the long term things do change.
136
137 . Man pages: Check all man pages for \ not followed by e or f or " because
138 that indicates a markup error. However, there is one exception: pcredemo.3,
139 which is created from the pcredemo.c program. It contains three instances
140 of \\n.
141
142 . When the release is built, test it on a number of different operating
143 systems if possible, and using different compilers as well. For example,
144 on Solaris it is helpful to test using Sun's cc compiler as a change from
145 gcc. Adding -xarch=v9 to the cc options does a 64-bit test, but it also
146 needs -S 64 for pcretest to increase the stack size for test 2.
147
148
149 Making a PCRE release
150 =====================
151
152 Run PrepareRelease and commit the files that it changes (by removing trailing
153 spaces). Then run "make distcheck" to create the tarballs and the zipball.
154 Double-check with "svn status", then create an SVN tagged copy:
155
156 svn copy svn://vcs.exim.org/pcre/code/trunk \
157 svn://vcs.exim.org/pcre/code/tags/pcre-8.xx
158
159 Don't forget to update Freshmeat when the new release is out, and to tell
160 webmaster@pcre.org and the mailing list. Also, update the list of version
161 numbers in Bugzilla (edit products).
162
163
164 Future ideas (wish list)
165 ========================
166
167 This section records a list of ideas so that they do not get forgotten. They
168 vary enormously in their usefulness and potential for implementation. Some are
169 very sensible; some are rather wacky. Some have been on this list for years;
170 others are relatively new.
171
172 . Optimization
173
174 There are always ideas for new optimizations so as to speed up pattern
175 matching. Most of them try to save work by recognizing a non-match without
176 having to scan all the possibilities. These are some that I've recorded:
177
178 * /((A{0,5}){0,5}){0,5}(something complex)/ on a non-matching string is very
179 slow, though Perl is fast. Can we speed up somehow? Convert to {0,125}?
180 OTOH, this is pathological - the user could easily fix it.
181
182 * Turn ={4} into ==== ? (for speed). I once did an experiment, and it seems
183 to have little effect, and maybe makes things worse.
184
185 * "Ends with literal string" - note that a single character doesn't gain much
186 over the existing "required byte" (reqbyte) feature that just remembers one
187 byte.
188
189 * These probably need to go in pcre_study():
190
191 o Remember an initial string rather than just 1 char?
192
193 o A required byte from alternatives - not just the last char, but an
194 earlier one if common to all alternatives.
195
196 o Friedl contains other ideas.
197
198 * pcre_study() does not set initial byte flags for Unicode property types
199 such as \p; I don't know how much benefit there would be for, for example,
200 setting the bits for 0-9 and all bytes >= xC0 when a pattern starts with
201 \p{N}.
202
203 * There is scope for more "auto-possessifying" in connection with \p and \P.
204
205 . If Perl gets to a consistent state over the settings of capturing sub-
206 patterns inside repeats, see if we can match it. One example of the
207 difference is the matching of /(main(O)?)+/ against mainOmain, where PCRE
208 leaves $2 set. In Perl, it's unset. Changing this in PCRE will be very hard
209 because I think it needs much more state to be remembered.
210
211 . Perl 6 will be a revolution. Is it a revolution too far for PCRE?
212
213 . Unicode
214
215 * A different approach to Unicode might be to use a typedef to do everything
216 in unsigned shorts instead of unsigned chars. Actually, we'd have to have a
217 new typedef to distinguish data from bits of compiled pattern that are in
218 bytes, I think. There would need to be conversion functions in and out. I
219 don't think this is particularly trivial - and anyway, Unicode now has
220 characters that need more than 16 bits, so is this at all sensible?
221
222 * There has been a request for direct support of 16-bit characters and
223 UTF-16. However, since Unicode is moving beyond purely 16-bit characters,
224 is this worth it at all? One possible way of handling 16-bit characters
225 would be to "load" them in the same way that UTF-8 characters are loaded.
226
227 . Allow errorptr and erroroffset to be NULL. I don't like this idea.
228
229 . Line endings:
230
231 * Option to use NUL as a line terminator in subject strings. This could now
232 be done relatively easily since the extension to support LF, CR, and CRLF.
233 If it is done, a suitable option for pcregrep is also required.
234
235 . Option to provide the pattern with a length instead of with a NUL terminator.
236 This affects quite a few places in the code and is not trivial.
237
238 . Catch SIGSEGV for stack overflows?
239
240 . A feature to suspend a match via a callout was once requested.
241
242 . Option to convert results into character offsets and character lengths.
243
244 . Option for pcregrep to scan only the start of a file. I am not keen - this is
245 the job of "head".
246
247 . A (non-Unix) user wanted pcregrep options to (a) list a file name just once,
248 preceded by a blank line, instead of adding it to every matched line, and (b)
249 support --outputfile=name.
250
251 . Consider making UTF-8 and UCP the default for PCRE n.0 for some n > 8.
252
253 . Add a user pointer to pcre_malloc/free functions -- some option would be
254 needed to retain backward compatibility.
255
256 . Define a union for the results from pcre_fullinfo().
257
258 . Provide a "random access to the subject" facility so that the way in which it
259 is stored is independent of PCRE. For efficiency, it probably isn't possible
260 to switch this dynamically. It would have to be specified when PCRE was
261 compiled. PCRE would then call a function every time it wanted a character.
262
263 . Wild thought: the ability to compile from PCRE's internal byte code to a real
264 FSM and a very fast (third) matcher to process the result. There would be
265 even more restrictions than for pcre_dfa_exec(), however. This is not easy.
266
267 . Should pcretest have some private locale data, to avoid relying on the
268 available locales for the test data, since different OS have different ideas?
269 This won't be as thorough a test, but perhaps that doesn't really matter.
270
271 . pcregrep: add -rs for a sorted recurse? Having to store file names and sort
272 them will of course slow it down.
273
274 . Someone suggested --disable-callout to save code space when callouts are
275 never wanted. This seems rather marginal.
276
277 . Check names that consist entirely of digits: PCRE allows, but do Perl and
278 Python, etc?
279
280 . A user suggested a parameter to limit the length of string matched, for
281 example if the parameter is N, the current match should fail if the matched
282 substring exceeds N. This could apply to both match functions. The value
283 could be a new field in the extra block.
284
285 . Callouts with arguments: (?Cn:ARG) for instance.
286
287 . A user is going to supply a patch to generalize the API for user-specific
288 memory allocation so that it is more flexible in threaded environments. This
289 was promised a long time ago, and never appeared...
290
291 . Write a function that generates random matching strings for a compiled regex.
292
293 . Write a wrapper to maintain a structure with specified runtime parameters,
294 such as recurse limit, and pass these to PCRE each time it is called. Also
295 maybe malloc and free. A user sent a prototype.
296
297 . Pcregrep: an option to specify the output line separator, either as a string
298 or select from a fixed list. This is not dead easy, because at the moment it
299 outputs whatever is in the input file.
300
301 . Improve the code for duplicate checking in pcre_dfa_exec(). An incomplete,
302 non-thread-safe patch showed that this can help performance for patterns
303 where there are many alternatives. However, a simple thread-safe
304 implementation that I tried made things worse in many simple cases, so this
305 is not an obviously good thing.
306
307 . Make the longest lookbehind available via pcre_fullinfo(). This is not
308 straightforward because lookbehinds can be nested inside lookbehinds. This
309 case will have to be identified, and the amounts added. This should then give
310 the maximum possible lookbehind length. The reason for wanting this is to
311 help when implementing multi-segment matching using pcre_exec() with partial
312 matching and overlapping segments.
313
314 . PCRE cannot at present distinguish between subpatterns with different names,
315 but the same number (created by the use of ?|). In order to do so, a way of
316 remembering *which* subpattern numbered n matched is needed. Bugzilla #760.
317 Now that (*MARK) has been implemented, it can perhaps be used as a way round
318 this problem.
319
320 . Instead of having #ifdef HAVE_CONFIG_H in each module, put #include
321 "something" and the the #ifdef appears only in one place, in "something".
322
323 Philip Hazel
324 Email local part: ph10
325 Email domain: cam.ac.uk
326 Last updated: 03 June 2010

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