SYNOPSIS OF C++ WRAPPER
The C++ wrapper for PCRE was provided by Google Inc. Some additional
functionality was added by Giuseppe Maxia. This brief man page was con-
structed from the notes in the pcrecpp.h file, which should be con-
sulted for further details. Note that the C++ wrapper supports only the
original 8-bit PCRE library. There is no 16-bit support at present.
The "FullMatch" operation checks that supplied text matches a supplied
pattern exactly. If pointer arguments are supplied, it copies matched
sub-strings that match sub-patterns into them.
Example: successful match
Example: unsuccessful match (requires full match):
Example: creating a temporary RE object:
You can pass in a "const char*" or a "string" for "text". The examples
below tend to use a const char*. You can, as in the different examples
above, store the RE object explicitly in a variable or use a temporary
RE object. The examples below use one mode or the other arbitrarily.
Either could correctly be used for any of these examples.
You must supply extra pointer arguments to extract matched subpieces.
Example: extracts "ruby" into "s" and 1234 into "i"
re.FullMatch("ruby:1234", &s, &i);
Example: does not try to extract any extra sub-patterns
Example: does not try to extract into NULL
re.FullMatch("ruby:1234", NULL, &i);
Example: integer overflow causes failure
!re.FullMatch("ruby:1234567891234", NULL, &i);
Example: fails because there aren't enough sub-patterns:
The function returns true iff all of the following conditions are sat-
a. "text" matches "pattern" exactly;
b. The number of matched sub-patterns is >= number of supplied
c. The "i"th argument has a suitable type for holding the
string captured as the "i"th sub-pattern. If you pass in
void * NULL for the "i"th argument, or a non-void * NULL
of the correct type, or pass fewer arguments than the
number of sub-patterns, "i"th captured sub-pattern is
CAVEAT: An optional sub-pattern that does not exist in the matched
string is assigned the empty string. Therefore, the following will
return false (because the empty string is not a valid number):
pcrecpp::RE::FullMatch("abc", "[a-z]+(\\d+)?", &number);
The matching interface supports at most 16 arguments per call. If you
need more, consider using the more general interface
pcrecpp::RE::DoMatch. See pcrecpp.h for the signature for DoMatch.
NOTE: Do not use no_arg, which is used internally to mark the end of a
list of optional arguments, as a placeholder for missing arguments, as
this can lead to segfaults.
You can use the "QuoteMeta" operation to insert backslashes before all
potentially meaningful characters in a string. The returned string,
used as a regular expression, will exactly match the original string.
string quoted = RE::QuoteMeta(unquoted);
Note that it's legal to escape a character even if it has no special
meaning in a regular expression -- so this function does that. (This
also makes it identical to the perl function of the same name; see
"perldoc -f quotemeta".) For example, "1.5-2.0?" becomes
You can use the "PartialMatch" operation when you want the pattern to
match any substring of the text.
Example: simple search for a string:
UTF-8 than the pattern, but the match returned may depend on the UTF8
flag, so always use it when matching UTF8 text. For example, "." will
match one byte normally but with UTF8 set may match up to three bytes
of a multi-byte character.
pcrecpp::RE re(utf8_pattern, options);
Example: using the convenience function UTF8():
pcrecpp::RE re(utf8_pattern, pcrecpp::UTF8());
NOTE: The UTF8 flag is ignored if pcre was not configured with the
PASSING MODIFIERS TO THE REGULAR EXPRESSION ENGINE
PCRE defines some modifiers to change the behavior of the regular
expression engine. The C++ wrapper defines an auxiliary class,
RE_Options, as a vehicle to pass such modifiers to a RE class. Cur-
rently, the following modifiers are supported:
modifier description Perl corresponding
PCRE_CASELESS case insensitive match /i
PCRE_MULTILINE multiple lines match /m
PCRE_DOTALL dot matches newlines /s
PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY $ matches only at end N/A
PCRE_EXTRA strict escape parsing N/A
PCRE_EXTENDED ignore white spaces /x
PCRE_UTF8 handles UTF8 chars built-in
PCRE_UNGREEDY reverses * and *? N/A
PCRE_NO_AUTO_CAPTURE disables capturing parens N/A (*)
(*) Both Perl and PCRE allow non capturing parentheses by means of the
"?:" modifier within the pattern itself. e.g. (?:ab|cd) does not cap-
ture, while (ab|cd) does.
For a full account on how each modifier works, please check the PCRE
API reference page.
For each modifier, there are two member functions whose name is made
out of the modifier in lowercase, without the "PCRE_" prefix. For
instance, PCRE_CASELESS is handled by
which returns true if the modifier is set, and
RE_Options & set_caseless(bool)
Normally, to pass one or more modifiers to a RE class, you declare a
RE_Options object, set the appropriate options, and pass this object to
a RE constructor. Example:
if (RE("HELLO", opt).PartialMatch("hello world")) ...
RE_options has two constructors. The default constructor takes no argu-
ments and creates a set of flags that are off by default. The optional
parameter option_flags is to facilitate transfer of legacy code from C
programs. This lets you do
However, new code is better off doing
If you are going to pass one of the most used modifiers, there are some
convenience functions that return a RE_Options class with the appropri-
ate modifier already set: CASELESS(), UTF8(), MULTILINE(), DOTALL(),
If you need to set several options at once, and you don't want to go
through the pains of declaring a RE_Options object and setting several
options, there is a parallel method that give you such ability on the
fly. You can concatenate several set_xxxxx() member functions, since
each of them returns a reference to its class object. For example, to
pass PCRE_CASELESS, PCRE_EXTENDED, and PCRE_MULTILINE to a RE with one
statement, you may write:
RE(" ^ xyz \\s+ .* blah$",
SCANNING TEXT INCREMENTALLY
The "Consume" operation may be useful if you want to repeatedly match
regular expressions at the front of a string and skip over them as they
match. This requires use of the "StringPiece" type, which represents a
sub-range of a real string. Like RE, StringPiece is defined in the
Example: read lines of the form "var = value" from a string.
string contents = ...; // Fill string somehow
pcrecpp::StringPiece input(contents); // Wrap in a StringPiece
could extract all words from a string by repeatedly calling
PARSING HEX/OCTAL/C-RADIX NUMBERS
By default, if you pass a pointer to a numeric value, the corresponding
text is interpreted as a base-10 number. You can instead wrap the
pointer with a call to one of the operators Hex(), Octal(), or CRadix()
to interpret the text in another base. The CRadix operator interprets
C-style "0" (base-8) and "0x" (base-16) prefixes, but defaults to
int a, b, c, d;
pcrecpp::RE re("(.*) (.*) (.*) (.*)");
re.FullMatch("100 40 0100 0x40",
will leave 64 in a, b, c, and d.
REPLACING PARTS OF STRINGS
You can replace the first match of "pattern" in "str" with "rewrite".
Within "rewrite", backslash-escaped digits (\1 to \9) can be used to
insert text matching corresponding parenthesized group from the pat-
tern. \0 in "rewrite" refers to the entire matching text. For example:
string s = "yabba dabba doo";
will leave "s" containing "yada dabba doo". The result is true if the
pattern matches and a replacement occurs, false otherwise.
GlobalReplace is like Replace except that it replaces all occurrences
of the pattern in the string with the rewrite. Replacements are not
subject to re-matching. For example:
string s = "yabba dabba doo";
will leave "s" containing "yada dada doo". It returns the number of
Extract is like Replace, except that if the pattern matches, "rewrite"
is copied into "out" (an additional argument) with substitutions. The
non-matching portions of "text" are ignored. Returns true iff a match
occurred and the extraction happened successfully; if no match occurs,
the string is left unaffected.
The C++ wrapper was contributed by Google Inc.
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