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REGEX(3)                 BSD Library Functions Manual                 REGEX(3)

NAME
     regcomp, regcomp_l, regerror, regexec, regfree, regncomp, regncomp_l, regnexec, regnwcomp, regnwcomp_l,
     regnwexec, regwcomp, regwcomp_l, regwexec -- regular-expression library

SYNOPSIS
     (Standards-compliant APIs)

     #include <regex.h>

     int
     regcomp(regex_t *restrict preg, const char *restrict pattern, int cflags);

     size_t
     regerror(int errcode, const regex_t *restrict preg, char *restrict errbuf, size_t errbuf_size);

     int
     regexec(const regex_t *restrict preg, const char *restrict string, size_t nmatch,
         regmatch_t pmatch[restrict], int eflags);

     void
     regfree(regex_t *preg);

     (Non-portable extensions)

     int
     regncomp(regex_t *restrict preg, const char *restrict pattern, size_t len, int cflags);

     int
     regnexec(const regex_t *restrict preg, const char *restrict string, size_t len, size_t nmatch,
         regmatch_t pmatch[restrict], int eflags);

     int
     regwcomp(regex_t *restrict preg, const wchar_t *restrict widepat, int cflags);

     int
     regwexec(const regex_t *restrict preg, const wchar_t *restrict widestr, size_t nmatch,
         regmatch_t pmatch[restrict], int eflags);

     int
     regwncomp(regex_t *restrict preg, const wchar_t *restrict widepat, size_t len, int cflags);

     int
     regwnexec(const regex_t *restrict preg, const wchar_t *restrict widestr, size_t len, size_t nmatch,
         regmatch_t pmatch[restrict], int eflags);

     #include <regex.h>
     #include <xlocale.h>

     int
     regcomp_l(regex_t *restrict preg, const char *restrict pattern, int cflags, locale_t restrict);

     int
     regncomp_l(regex_t *restrict preg, const char *restrict pattern, size_t len, int cflags,
         locale_t restrict);

     int
     regwcomp_l(regex_t *restrict preg, const wchar_t *restrict widepat, int cflags, locale_t restrict);

     int
     regwncomp_l(regex_t *restrict preg, const wchar_t *restrict widepat, size_t len, int cflags,
         locale_t restrict);

DESCRIPTION
     These routines implement IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') regular expressions (``RE''s); see re_format(7).
     The regcomp() function compiles an RE, written as a string, into an internal form.  regexec() matches
     that internal form against a string and reports results.  regerror() transforms error codes from either
     into human-readable messages.  regfree() frees any dynamically-allocated storage used by the internal
     form of an RE.

     The header <regex.h> declares two structure types, regex_t and regmatch_t, the former for compiled
     internal forms and the latter for match reporting.  It also declares the four functions, a type
     regoff_t, and a number of constants with names starting with ``REG_''.

     The regcomp() function compiles the regular expression contained in the pattern string, subject to the
     flags in cflags, and places the results in the regex_t structure pointed to by preg.  The cflags argu-ment argument
     ment is the bitwise OR of zero or more of the following flags:

     REG_EXTENDED  Compile modern (``extended'') REs, rather than the obsolete (``basic'') REs that are the
                   default.

     REG_BASIC     This is a synonym for 0, provided as a counterpart to REG_EXTENDED to improve readabil-ity. readability.
                   ity.

     REG_NOSPEC    Compile with recognition of all special characters turned off.  All characters are thus
                   considered ordinary, so the ``RE'' is a literal string.  This is an extension, compatible
                   with but not specified by IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), and should be used with caution
                   in software intended to be portable to other systems.  REG_EXTENDED and REG_NOSPEC may
                   not be used in the same call to regcomp().

     REG_LITERAL   An alias of REG_NOSPEC.

     REG_ICASE     Compile for matching that ignores upper/lower case distinctions.  See re_format(7).

     REG_NOSUB     Compile for matching that need only report success or failure, not what was matched.

     REG_NEWLINE   Compile for newline-sensitive matching.  By default, newline is a completely ordinary
                   character with no special meaning in either REs or strings.  With this flag, `[^' bracket
                   expressions and `.' never match newline, a `^' anchor matches the null string after any
                   newline in the string in addition to its normal function, and the `$' anchor matches the
                   null string before any newline in the string in addition to its normal function.

     REG_PEND      (Note that REG_PEND is not recognized by any of the wide character or ``n'' variants.
                   Besides, the ``n'' variants can be used instead of REG_PEND; see EXTENDED APIS below.)
                   The regular expression ends, not at the first NUL, but just before the character pointed
                   to by the re_endp member of the structure pointed to by preg.  The re_endp member is of
                   type const char *.  This flag permits inclusion of NULs in the RE; they are considered
                   ordinary characters.  This is an extension, compatible with but not specified by IEEE Std
                   1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), and should be used with caution in software intended to be portable
                   to other systems.

     REG_ENHANCED  Recognized enhanced regular expression features; see re_format(7) for details.  This is
                   an extension not specified by IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), and should be used with cau-tion caution
                   tion in software intended to be portable to other systems.

     REG_MINIMAL   Use minimal (non-greedy) repetitions instead of the normal greedy ones; see re_format(7)
                   for details.  (This only applies when both REG_ENHANCED and REG_EXTENDED are also set.)
                   This is an extension not specified by IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), and should be used
                   with caution in software intended to be portable to other systems.

     REG_UNGREEDY  Alias of REG_MINIMAL.

     When successful, regcomp() returns 0 and fills in the structure pointed to by preg.  One member of that
     structure (other than re_endp) is publicized: re_nsub, of type size_t, contains the number of parenthe-sized parenthesized
     sized subexpressions within the RE (except that the value of this member is undefined if the REG_NOSUB
     flag was used).  If regcomp() fails, it returns a non-zero error code; see DIAGNOSTICS.

     The regexec() function matches the compiled RE pointed to by preg against the string, subject to the
     flags in eflags, and reports results using nmatch, pmatch, and the returned value.  The RE must have
     been compiled by a previous invocation of regcomp().  The compiled form is not altered during execution
     of regexec(), so a single compiled RE can be used simultaneously by multiple threads.

     By default, the NUL-terminated string pointed to by string is considered to be the text of an entire
     line, minus any terminating newline.  The eflags argument is the bitwise OR of zero or more of the fol-lowing following
     lowing flags:

     REG_NOTBOL    The first character of the string is not the beginning of a line, so the `^' anchor
                   should not match before it.  This does not affect the behavior of newlines under
                   REG_NEWLINE.

     REG_NOTEOL    The NUL terminating the string does not end a line, so the `$' anchor should not match
                   before it.  This does not affect the behavior of newlines under REG_NEWLINE.

     REG_STARTEND  The string is considered to start at string + pmatch[0].rm_so and to have a terminating
                   NUL located at string + pmatch[0].rm_eo (there need not actually be a NUL at that loca-tion), location),
                   tion), regardless of the value of nmatch.  See below for the definition of pmatch and
                   nmatch.  This is an extension, compatible with but not specified by IEEE Std 1003.2
                   (``POSIX.2''), and should be used with caution in software intended to be portable to
                   other systems.  Note that a non-zero rm_so does not imply REG_NOTBOL; REG_STARTEND
                   affects only the location of the string, not how it is matched.

     See re_format(7) for a discussion of what is matched in situations where an RE or a portion thereof
     could match any of several substrings of string.

     Normally, regexec() returns 0 for success and the non-zero code REG_NOMATCH for failure.  Other non-zero nonzero
     zero error codes may be returned in exceptional situations; see DIAGNOSTICS.

     If REG_NOSUB was specified in the compilation of the RE, or if nmatch is 0, regexec() ignores the
     pmatch argument (but see below for the case where REG_STARTEND is specified).  Otherwise, pmatch points
     to an array of nmatch structures of type regmatch_t.  Such a structure has at least the members rm_so
     and rm_eo, both of type regoff_t (a signed arithmetic type at least as large as an off_t and a
     ssize_t), containing respectively the offset of the first character of a substring and the offset of
     the first character after the end of the substring.  Offsets are measured from the beginning of the
     string argument given to regexec().  An empty substring is denoted by equal offsets, both indicating
     the character following the empty substring.

     The 0th member of the pmatch array is filled in to indicate what substring of string was matched by the
     entire RE.  Remaining members report what substring was matched by parenthesized subexpressions within
     the RE; member i reports subexpression i, with subexpressions counted (starting at 1) by the order of
     their opening parentheses in the RE, left to right.  Unused entries in the array (corresponding either
     to subexpressions that did not participate in the match at all, or to subexpressions that do not exist
     in the RE (that is, i > preg->re_nsub)) have both rm_so and rm_eo set to -1.  If a subexpression par-ticipated participated
     ticipated in the match several times, the reported substring is the last one it matched.  (Note, as an
     example in particular, that when the RE `(b*)+' matches `bbb', the parenthesized subexpression matches
     each of the three `b's and then an infinite number of empty strings following the last `b', so the
     reported substring is one of the empties.)

     If REG_STARTEND is specified, pmatch must point to at least one regmatch_t (even if nmatch is 0 or
     REG_NOSUB was specified), to hold the input offsets for REG_STARTEND.  Use for output is still entirely
     controlled by nmatch; if nmatch is 0 or REG_NOSUB was specified, the value of pmatch[0] will not be
     changed by a successful regexec().

     The regerror() function maps a non-zero errcode from either regcomp() or regexec() to a human-readable,
     printable message.  If preg is non-NULL, the error code should have arisen from use of the regex_t
     pointed to by preg, and if the error code came from regcomp(), it should have been the result from the
     most recent regcomp() using that regex_t.  The (regerror() may be able to supply a more detailed mes-sage message
     sage using information from the regex_t.)  The regerror() function places the NUL-terminated message
     into the buffer pointed to by errbuf, limiting the length (including the NUL) to at most errbuf_size
     bytes.  If the whole message will not fit, as much of it as will fit before the terminating NUL is sup-plied. supplied.
     plied.  In any case, the returned value is the size of buffer needed to hold the whole message (includ-ing (including
     ing terminating NUL).  If errbuf_size is 0, errbuf is ignored but the return value is still correct.

     If the errcode given to regerror() is first ORed with REG_ITOA, the ``message'' that results is the
     printable name of the error code, e.g. ``REG_NOMATCH'', rather than an explanation thereof.  If errcode
     is REG_ATOI, then preg shall be non-NULL and the re_endp member of the structure it points to must
     point to the printable name of an error code; in this case, the result in errbuf is the decimal digits
     of the numeric value of the error code (0 if the name is not recognized).  REG_ITOA and REG_ATOI are
     intended primarily as debugging facilities; they are extensions, compatible with but not specified by
     IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), and should be used with caution in software intended to be portable to
     other systems.  Be warned also that they are considered experimental and changes are possible.

     The regfree() function frees any dynamically-allocated storage associated with the compiled RE pointed
     to by preg.  The remaining regex_t is no longer a valid compiled RE and the effect of supplying it to
     regexec() or regerror() is undefined.

     None of these functions references global variables except for tables of constants; all are safe for
     use from multiple threads if the arguments are safe.

EXTENDED APIS
     These extended APIs are available in Mac OS X 10.8 and beyond, when the deployment target is 10.8 or
     later.  It should also be noted that any of the regcomp() variants may be used to initialize a regex_t
     structure, that can then be passed to any of the regexec() variants.  So it is quite legal to compile a
     wide character RE and use it to match a multibyte character string, or vice versa.

     The regncomp() routine compiles regular expressions like regcomp(), but the length of the regular
     expression string is specified, allowing a string that is not NUL terminated and/or contains NUL char-acters. characters.
     acters.  This is a modern replacement for using regcomp() with the REG_PEND option.

     Similarly, the regnexec() routine is like regexec(), but the length of the string to match is speci-fied, specified,
     fied, allowing a string that is not NUL terminated and/or contains NUL characters.

     The regwcomp() and regwexec() variants take a wide-character (wchar_t) string for the regular expres-sion expression
     sion and string to match.  And regwncomp() and regwnexec() are variants that allow specifying the wide
     character string length, and so allows wide character strings that are not NUL terminated and/or con-tains contains
     tains NUL characters.

INTERACTION WITH THE LOCALE
     When regcomp() or one of its variants is run, the regular expression is compiled into an internal form,
     which may include specific information about the locale currently in effect, such as equivalence
     classes or multi-character collation symbols.  So a reference to the current locale is also stored with
     the internal form, so that when regexec() is run, it can use the same locale (even if the locale is
     changed in-between the calls to regcomp() and regexec()).

     To provide more direct control over which locale is used, routines with ``_l'' appended to their names
     are provided that work just like the variants without the ``_l'', except that a locale (via a locale_t
     variable type) is specified directly.  Note that only variants of regcomp() have ``_l'' variants, since
     the regexec() variants just use the reference to the locale stored in the internal form.

IMPLEMENTATION CHOICES
     The regex implementation in Mac OS X 10.8 and later is based on a heavily modified subset of TRE
     (http://laurikari.net/tre/).  This provides improved performance, better conformance and additional
     features.  However, both API and binary compatibility have been maintained with previous releases, so
     binaries built on previous releases should work on 10.8 and later, and binaries built on 10.8 and later
     should be able to run on previous releases (as long as none of the new variants or new features are
     used.

     There are a number of decisions that IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') leaves up to the implementor, either
     by explicitly saying ``undefined'' or by virtue of them being forbidden by the RE grammar.  This imple-mentation implementation
     mentation treats them as follows.

     See re_format(7) for a discussion of the definition of case-independent matching.

     There is no particular limit on the length of REs, except insofar as memory is limited.  Memory usage
     is approximately linear in RE size, and largely insensitive to RE complexity, except for bounded repe-titions. repetitions.
     titions.  See BUGS for one short RE using them that will run almost any system out of memory.

     A backslashed character other than one specifically given a magic meaning by IEEE Std 1003.2
     (``POSIX.2'') (such magic meanings occur only in obsolete [``basic''] REs) is taken as an ordinary
     character.

     Any unmatched `[' is a REG_EBRACK error.

     Equivalence classes cannot begin or end bracket-expression ranges.  The endpoint of one range cannot
     begin another.

     RE_DUP_MAX, the limit on repetition counts in bounded repetitions, is 255.

     A repetition operator (`?', `*', `+', or bounds) cannot follow another repetition operator, except for
     the use of `?' for minimal repetition (for enhanced extended REs; see re_format(7) for details).  A
     repetition operator cannot begin an expression or subexpression or follow `^' or `|'.

     `|' cannot appear first or last in a (sub)expression or after another `|', i.e., an operand of `|' can-not cannot
     not be an empty subexpression.  An empty parenthesized subexpression, `()', is legal and matches an
     empty (sub)string.  An empty string is not a legal RE.

     A `{' followed by a digit is considered the beginning of bounds for a bounded repetition, which must
     then follow the syntax for bounds.  A `{' not followed by a digit is considered an ordinary character.

     `^' and `$' beginning and ending subexpressions in obsolete (``basic'') REs are anchors, not ordinary
     characters.

DIAGNOSTICS
     Non-zero error codes from regcomp() and regexec() include the following:

     REG_NOMATCH   The regexec() function failed to match
     REG_BADPAT    invalid regular expression
     REG_ECOLLATE  invalid collating element
     REG_ECTYPE    invalid character class
     REG_EESCAPE   `\' applied to unescapable character
     REG_ESUBREG   invalid backreference number
     REG_EBRACK    brackets `[ ]' not balanced
     REG_EPAREN    parentheses `( )' not balanced
     REG_EBRACE    braces `{ }' not balanced
     REG_BADBR     invalid repetition count(s) in `{ }'
     REG_ERANGE    invalid character range in `[ ]'
     REG_ESPACE    ran out of memory
     REG_BADRPT    `?', `*', or `+' operand invalid
     REG_EMPTY     empty (sub)expression
     REG_ASSERT    cannot happen - you found a bug
     REG_INVARG    invalid argument, e.g. negative-length string
     REG_ILLSEQ    illegal byte sequence (bad multibyte character)

SEE ALSO
     grep(1), re_format(7)

     IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), sections 2.8 (Regular Expression Notation) and B.5 (C Binding for Regu-lar Regular
     lar Expression Matching).

HISTORY
     The regex implementation is based on a heavily modified subset of TRE (http://laurikari.net/tre/),
     originally written by Ville Laurikari.  Previous releases used an implementation originally written by
     Henry Spencer, and altered for inclusion in the 4.4BSD distribution.

BUGS
     The beginning-of-line and end-of-line anchors ( ``^'' and ``$'') are currently implemented so that rep-etitions repetitions
     etitions can not be applied to them.  The standards are unclear about whether this is legal, but other
     regex packages do support this case.  It is best to avoid this non-portable (and not really very use-ful) useful)
     ful) case.

     The back-reference code is subtle and doubts linger about its correctness in complex cases.

     The regexec() variants use one of two internal matching engines.  The normal one is linear worst-case
     time in the length of the text being searched, and quadratic worst-case time in the length of the used
     regular expression.  When back-references are used, a slower, backtracking engine is used.  While all
     backtracking matching engines suffer from extreme slowness for certain pathological cases, the normal
     engines doesn't suffer from these cases.  It is advised to avoid back-references whenever possible.

     The regcomp() variants implements bounded repetitions by macro expansion, which is costly in time and
     space if counts are large or bounded repetitions are nested.  An RE like, say,
     `((((a{1,100}){1,100}){1,100}){1,100}){1,100}' will (eventually) run almost any existing machine out of
     swap space.

     Due to a mistake in IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), things like `a)b' are legal REs because `)' is a
     special character only in the presence of a previous unmatched `('.  This cannot be fixed until the
     spec is fixed.

     The standard's definition of back references is vague.  For example, does `a\(\(b\)*\2\)*d' match
     `abbbd'?  Until the standard is clarified, behavior in such cases should not be relied on.

BSD                              Sept 29, 2011                             BSD

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