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RedHat 9 (Linux i386) - man page for pcretest (redhat section 1)

PCRETEST(1)						      General Commands Manual						       PCRETEST(1)

NAME
pcretest - a program for testing Perl-compatible regular expressions.
SYNOPSIS
pcretest [-d] [-i] [-m] [-o osize] [-p] [-t] [source] [destination] pcretest was written as a test program for the PCRE regular expression library itself, but it can also be used for experimenting with regu- lar expressions. This man page describes the features of the test program; for details of the regular expressions themselves, see the pcre man page.
OPTIONS
-d Behave as if each regex had the /D modifier (see below); the internal form is output after compilation. -i Behave as if each regex had the /I modifier; information about the compiled pattern is given after compilation. -m Output the size of each compiled pattern after it has been compiled. This is equivalent to adding /M to each regular expression. For compatibility with earlier versions of pcretest, -s is a synonym for -m. -o osize Set the number of elements in the output vector that is used when calling PCRE to be osize. The default value is 45, which is enough for 14 capturing subexpressions. The vector size can be changed for individual matching calls by including \O in the data line (see below). -p Behave as if each regex has /P modifier; the POSIX wrapper API is used to call PCRE. None of the other options has any effect when -p is set. -t Run each compile, study, and match 20000 times with a timer, and output resulting time per compile or match (in milliseconds). Do not set -t with -m, because you will then get the size output 20000 times and the timing will be distorted.
DESCRIPTION
If pcretest is given two filename arguments, it reads from the first and writes to the second. If it is given only one filename argument, it reads from that file and writes to stdout. Otherwise, it reads from stdin and writes to stdout, and prompts for each line of input, using "re>" to prompt for regular expressions, and "data>" to prompt for data lines. The program handles any number of sets of input on a single input file. Each set starts with a regular expression, and continues with any number of data lines to be matched against the pattern. An empty line signals the end of the data lines, at which point a new regular expression is read. The regular expressions are given enclosed in any non-alphameric delimiters other than backslash, for example /(a|bc)x+yz/ White space before the initial delimiter is ignored. A regular expression may be continued over several input lines, in which case the new- line characters are included within it. It is possible to include the delimiter within the pattern by escaping it, for example /abc\/def/ If you do so, the escape and the delimiter form part of the pattern, but since delimiters are always non-alphameric, this does not affect its interpretation. If the terminating delimiter is immediately followed by a backslash, for example, /abc/\ then a backslash is added to the end of the pattern. This is done to provide a way of testing the error condition that arises if a pattern finishes with a backslash, because /abc\/ is interpreted as the first line of a pattern that starts with "abc/", causing pcretest to read the next line as a continuation of the reg- ular expression.
PATTERN MODIFIERS
The pattern may be followed by i, m, s, or x to set the PCRE_CASELESS, PCRE_MULTILINE, PCRE_DOTALL, or PCRE_EXTENDED options, respectively. For example: /caseless/i These modifier letters have the same effect as they do in Perl. There are others which set PCRE options that do not correspond to anything in Perl: /A, /E, and /X set PCRE_ANCHORED, PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY, and PCRE_EXTRA respectively. Searching for all possible matches within each subject string can be requested by the /g or /G modifier. After finding a match, PCRE is called again to search the remainder of the subject string. The difference between /g and /G is that the former uses the startoffset argu- ment to pcre_exec() to start searching at a new point within the entire string (which is in effect what Perl does), whereas the latter passes over a shortened substring. This makes a difference to the matching process if the pattern begins with a lookbehind assertion (including \b or \B). If any call to pcre_exec() in a /g or /G sequence matches an empty string, the next call is done with the PCRE_NOTEMPTY and PCRE_ANCHORED flags set in order to search for another, non-empty, match at the same point. If this second match fails, the start offset is advanced by one, and the normal match is retried. This imitates the way Perl handles such cases when using the /g modifier or the split() function. There are a number of other modifiers for controlling the way pcretest operates. The /+ modifier requests that as well as outputting the substring that matched the entire pattern, pcretest should in addition output the remainder of the subject string. This is useful for tests where the subject contains multiple copies of the same substring. The /L modifier must be followed directly by the name of a locale, for example, /pattern/Lfr For this reason, it must be the last modifier letter. The given locale is set, pcre_maketables() is called to build a set of character tables for the locale, and this is then passed to pcre_compile() when compiling the regular expression. Without an /L modifier, NULL is passed as the tables pointer; that is, /L applies only to the expression on which it appears. The /I modifier requests that pcretest output information about the compiled expression (whether it is anchored, has a fixed first charac- ter, and so on). It does this by calling pcre_fullinfo() after compiling an expression, and outputting the information it gets back. If the pattern is studied, the results of that are also output. The /D modifier is a PCRE debugging feature, which also assumes /I. It causes the internal form of compiled regular expressions to be out- put after compilation. The /S modifier causes pcre_study() to be called after the expression has been compiled, and the results used when the expression is matched. The /M modifier causes the size of memory block used to hold the compiled pattern to be output. The /P modifier causes pcretest to call PCRE via the POSIX wrapper API rather than its native API. When this is done, all other modifiers except /i, /m, and /+ are ignored. REG_ICASE is set if /i is present, and REG_NEWLINE is set if /m is present. The wrapper functions force PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY always, and PCRE_DOTALL unless REG_NEWLINE is set. The /8 modifier causes pcretest to call PCRE with the PCRE_UTF8 option set. This turns on the (currently incomplete) support for UTF-8 character handling in PCRE, provided that it was compiled with this support enabled. This modifier also causes any non-printing characters in output strings to be printed using the \x{hh...} notation if they are valid UTF-8 sequences.
DATA LINES
Before each data line is passed to pcre_exec(), leading and trailing whitespace is removed, and it is then scanned for \ escapes. The fol- lowing are recognized: \a alarm (= BEL) \b backspace \e escape \f formfeed \n newline \r carriage return \t tab \v vertical tab \nnn octal character (up to 3 octal digits) \xhh hexadecimal character (up to 2 hex digits) \x{hh...} hexadecimal UTF-8 character \A pass the PCRE_ANCHORED option to pcre_exec() \B pass the PCRE_NOTBOL option to pcre_exec() \Cdd call pcre_copy_substring() for substring dd after a successful match (any decimal number less than 32) \Gdd call pcre_get_substring() for substring dd after a successful match (any decimal number less than 32) \L call pcre_get_substringlist() after a successful match \N pass the PCRE_NOTEMPTY option to pcre_exec() \Odd set the size of the output vector passed to pcre_exec() to dd (any number of decimal digits) \Z pass the PCRE_NOTEOL option to pcre_exec() When \O is used, it may be higher or lower than the size set by the -O option (or defaulted to 45); \O applies only to the call of pcre_exec() for the line in which it appears. A backslash followed by anything else just escapes the anything else. If the very last character is a backslash, it is ignored. This gives a way of passing an empty line as data, since a real empty line terminates the data input. If /P was present on the regex, causing the POSIX wrapper API to be used, only 0 causing REG_NOTBOL and REG_NOTEOL to be passed to regexec() respectively. The use of \x{hh...} to represent UTF-8 characters is not dependent on the use of the /8 modifier on the pattern. It is recognized always. There may be any number of hexadecimal digits inside the braces. The result is from one to six bytes, encoded according to the UTF-8 rules.
OUTPUT FROM PCRETEST
When a match succeeds, pcretest outputs the list of captured substrings that pcre_exec() returns, starting with number 0 for the string that matched the whole pattern. Here is an example of an interactive pcretest run. $ pcretest PCRE version 2.06 08-Jun-1999 re> /^abc(\d+)/ data> abc123 0: abc123 1: 123 data> xyz No match If the strings contain any non-printing characters, they are output as \0x escapes, or as \x{...} escapes if the /8 modifier was present on the pattern. If the pattern has the /+ modifier, then the output for substring 0 is followed by the the rest of the subject string, identi- fied by "0+" like this: re> /cat/+ data> cataract 0: cat 0+ aract If the pattern has the /g or /G modifier, the results of successive matching attempts are output in sequence, like this: re> /\Bi(\w\w)/g data> Mississippi 0: iss 1: ss 0: iss 1: ss 0: ipp 1: pp "No match" is output only if the first match attempt fails. If any of the sequences \C, \G, or \L are present in a data line that is successfully matched, the substrings extracted by the convenience functions are output with C, G, or L after the string number instead of a colon. This is in addition to the normal full list. The string length (that is, the return from the extraction function) is given in parentheses after each string for \C and \G. Note that while patterns can be continued over several lines (a plain ">" prompt is used for continuations), data lines may not. However newlines can be included in data by means of the \n escape.
AUTHOR
Philip Hazel <ph10@cam.ac.uk> University Computing Service, New Museums Site, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England. Phone: +44 1223 334714 Last updated: 15 August 2001 Copyright (c) 1997-2001 University of Cambridge. PCRETEST(1)