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operators

All operators in extenso.

OPERATORS

NAME

operators - All operators in extenso.

SYNOPSIS

  • numerical operators+ - \* / % **
  • relational operators for numbers< <= > >= != <> <⇒
  • relational operators for stringslt le gt ge ne cmp st ns
  • regular expressions=~ !~
  • string concatenationdot and plus .\+
  • grouping ( )
  • unary minus -
  • logical operators ! && ||
  • binary operators~(not) |(or) &(and) ^(xor) <<(left shift) >>(right shift)
  • file tests-e, -z, -r, -w, -x, -l, -f, -d, -s, -m, -c, -a, -u, -g

DESCRIPTION

All operators works will all type of variables: - undefined - integer - double - string - null - associative array - array - boolean.

Each operators as is own set of rules for the conversion unless casting is used.

For numerical operators, undefined and null are treated as zero.

Boolean are treated as 1 for true and 0 for false.

For string operators, undefined and null are treated as a zero length string.

Boolean are treated as the string "true" for true and "false" for false.

Operator cmp and <⇒ return -1, 0, or 1.

st and nst check is the first string start (not start) with the second string.

"/usr/local/website" st "/usr" but not "/usr/local/website" st ".usr" but not

logical operators rely on lasy evaluation. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazy_evaluation:

In programming language theory, lazy evaluation is an evaluation strategy which delays the evaluation of an expression until its value is needed (non-strict evaluation) and which also avoids repeated evaluations (sharing). The sharing can reduce the running time of certain functions by an exponential factor over other non-strict evaluation strategies, such as call-by-name.

The benefits of lazy evaluation include:

Performance increases by avoiding needless calculations, and error
    conditions in evaluating compound expressions
The ability to construct potentially infinite data structures
The ability to define control flow (structures) as abstractions
    instead of primitives

In our case the expression if 0 && fact(127272) then … will not call the fact function. Also if 1 || fact(1821272) will not call the fact function.

FILE TESTS

If file start with /, then the file is preprend with root directory.

If file does not start with /, then the file is prepend with the current directory of the file being executed.

  • -e : file exist
  • -z : file is zero size
  • -r : file can be read
  • -w : file can be write
  • -x : file can be execure
  • -l : file is a link
  • -f : file is a regular file
  • -d : file is a directory
  • -s : return size of file
  • -m : return modification time of file insec since epoch
  • -a : return access time of file insec since epoch
  • -c : return creation time of file insec since epoch
  • -u : return user of file
  • -g : return group of file

OPERATORS PRECEDENCES

The following rules apply to operator precedences:

  1. + - .+
  2. * /
  3. % **
  4. | & ^
  5. << >>
  6. = -= = /= %= *= .= &= |= ^= <⇐ >>=
  7. - (unary minus)
  8. ~ (not)
  9. ? :
  10. ()
  11. . []

REGULARS EXPRESSIONS

Regulars expressions are defined in a string.

Regular expression support flags to alter the functionnality:

x
extenso
i
ignore case
m
multiline
s
dot match all

There flags must followed "=~:iasm" or "!~:iasm".

This is the documentation from pcre

PCRE REGULAR EXPRESSION DETAILS

       The  syntax and semantics of the regular expressions that are supported
       by PCRE are described in detail below. There is a quick-reference  syn-
       tax summary in the pcresyntax page. PCRE tries to match Perl syntax and
       semantics as closely as it can. PCRE  also  supports  some  alternative
       regular  expression  syntax (which does not conflict with the Perl syn-
       tax) in order to provide some compatibility with regular expressions in
       Python, .NET, and Oniguruma.

       Perl's  regular expressions are described in its own documentation, and
       regular expressions in general are covered in a number of  books,  some
       of  which  have  copious  examples. Jeffrey Friedl's "Mastering Regular
       Expressions", published by  O'Reilly,  covers  regular  expressions  in
       great  detail.  This  description  of  PCRE's  regular  expressions  is
       intended as reference material.

       This document discusses the patterns that are supported  by  PCRE  when
       one    its    main   matching   functions,   pcre_exec()   (8-bit)   or
       pcre[16|32]_exec() (16- or 32-bit), is used. PCRE also has  alternative
       matching  functions,  pcre_dfa_exec()  and pcre[16|32_dfa_exec(), 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
       pcrematching page.


SPECIAL START-OF-PATTERN ITEMS

       A number of options that can be passed to pcre_compile()  can  also  be
       set by special items at the start of a pattern. These are not Perl-com-
       patible, but are provided to make these options accessible  to  pattern
       writers  who are not able to change the program that processes the pat-
       tern. Any number of these items  may  appear,  but  they  must  all  be
       together right at the start of the pattern string, and the letters must
       be in upper case.

   UTF support

       The original operation of PCRE was on strings of  one-byte  characters.
       However,  there  is  now also support for UTF-8 strings in the original
       library, an extra library that supports  16-bit  and  UTF-16  character
       strings,  and a third library that supports 32-bit and UTF-32 character
       strings. To use these features, PCRE must be built to include appropri-
       ate  support. When using UTF strings you must either call the compiling
       function with the PCRE_UTF8, PCRE_UTF16, or PCRE_UTF32 option,  or  the
       pattern must start with one of these special sequences:

         (*UTF8)
         (*UTF16)
         (*UTF32)
         (*UTF)

       (*UTF)  is  a  generic  sequence  that  can  be  used  with  any of the
       libraries.  Starting a pattern with such a sequence  is  equivalent  to
       setting  the  relevant  option.  How setting a UTF mode affects pattern
       matching is mentioned in several places below. There is also a  summary
       of features in the pcreunicode page.

       Some applications that allow their users to supply patterns may wish to
       restrict  them  to  non-UTF  data  for   security   reasons.   If   the
       PCRE_NEVER_UTF  option  is  set  at  compile  time, (*UTF) etc. are not
       allowed, and their appearance causes an error.

   Unicode property support

       Another special sequence that may appear at the start of a pattern is

         (*UCP)

       This has the same effect as setting  the  PCRE_UCP  option:  it  causes
       sequences  such  as  \d  and  \w to use Unicode properties to determine
       character types, instead of recognizing only characters with codes less
       than 128 via a lookup table.

   Disabling start-up optimizations

       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.

   Newline conventions

       PCRE  supports five different conventions for indicating line breaks in
       strings: a single CR (carriage return) character, a  single  LF  (line-
       feed) character, the two-character sequence CRLF, any of the three pre-
       ceding, or any Unicode newline sequence. The pcreapi page  has  further
       discussion  about newlines, and shows how to set the newline convention
       in the options arguments for the compiling and matching functions.

       It is also possible to specify a newline convention by starting a  pat-
       tern string with one of the following five sequences:

         (*CR)        carriage return
         (*LF)        linefeed
         (*CRLF)      carriage return, followed by linefeed
         (*ANYCRLF)   any of the three above
         (*ANY)       all Unicode newline sequences

       These override the default and the options given to the compiling func-
       tion. For example, on a Unix system where LF  is  the  default  newline
       sequence, the pattern

         (*CR)a.b

       changes the convention to CR. That pattern matches "a\nb" because LF is
       no longer a newline. If more than one of these settings is present, the
       last one is used.

       The  newline  convention affects where the circumflex and dollar asser-
       tions are true. It also affects the interpretation of the dot metachar-
       acter when PCRE_DOTALL is not set, and the behaviour of \N. However, it
       does not affect what the \R escape sequence matches. By  default,  this
       is  any Unicode newline sequence, for Perl compatibility. However, this
       can be changed; see the description of \R in the section entitled "New-
       line  sequences"  below.  A change of \R setting can be combined with a
       change of newline convention.

   Setting match and recursion limits

       The caller of pcre_exec() can set a limit on the number  of  times  the
       internal  match() function is called and on the maximum depth of recur-
       sive calls. These facilities are provided to catch runaway matches that
       are provoked by patterns with huge matching trees (a typical example is
       a pattern with nested unlimited repeats) and to avoid  running  out  of
       system  stack  by  too  much  recursion.  When  one  of these limits is
       reached, pcre_exec() gives an error return. The limits can also be  set
       by items at the start of the pattern of the form

         (*LIMIT_MATCH=d)
         (*LIMIT_RECURSION=d)

       where d is any number of decimal digits. However, the value of the set-
       ting must be less than the value set by the caller of  pcre_exec()  for
       it to have any effect. In other words, the pattern writer can lower the
       limit set by the programmer, but not raise it. If there  is  more  than
       one setting of one of these limits, the lower value is used.


EBCDIC CHARACTER CODES

       PCRE  can  be compiled to run in an environment that uses EBCDIC as its
       character code rather than ASCII or Unicode (typically a mainframe sys-
       tem).  In  the  sections below, character code values are ASCII or Uni-
       code; in an EBCDIC environment these characters may have different code
       values, and there are no code points greater than 255.


CHARACTERS AND METACHARACTERS

       A  regular  expression  is  a pattern that is matched against a subject
       string from left to right. Most characters stand for  themselves  in  a
       pattern,  and  match  the corresponding characters in the subject. As a
       trivial example, the pattern

         The quick brown fox

       matches a portion of a subject string that is identical to itself. When
       caseless  matching is specified (the PCRE_CASELESS option), letters are
       matched independently of case. In a UTF mode, PCRE  always  understands
       the  concept  of case for characters whose values are less than 128, so
       caseless matching is always possible. For characters with  higher  val-
       ues,  the concept of case is supported if PCRE is compiled with Unicode
       property support, but not otherwise.   If  you  want  to  use  caseless
       matching  for  characters  128  and above, you must ensure that PCRE is
       compiled with Unicode property support as well as with UTF support.

       The power of regular expressions comes  from  the  ability  to  include
       alternatives  and  repetitions in the pattern. These are encoded in the
       pattern by the use of metacharacters, which do not stand for themselves
       but instead are interpreted in some special way.

       There  are  two different sets of metacharacters: those that are recog-
       nized anywhere in the pattern except within square brackets, and  those
       that  are  recognized  within square brackets. Outside square brackets,
       the metacharacters are as follows:

         \      general escape character with several uses
         ^      assert start of string (or line, in multiline mode)
         $      assert end of string (or line, in multiline mode)
         .      match any character except newline (by default)
         [      start character class definition
         |      start of alternative branch
         (      start subpattern
         )      end subpattern
         ?      extends the meaning of (
                also 0 or 1 quantifier
                also quantifier minimizer
         *      0 or more quantifier
         +      1 or more quantifier
                also "possessive quantifier"
         {      start min/max quantifier

       Part of a pattern that is in square brackets  is  called  a  "character
       class". In a character class the only metacharacters are:

         \      general escape character
         ^      negate the class, but only if the first character
         -      indicates character range
         [      POSIX character class (only if followed by POSIX
                  syntax)
         ]      terminates the character class

       The following sections describe the use of each of the metacharacters.


BACKSLASH

       The backslash character has several uses. Firstly, if it is followed by
       a character that is not a number or a letter, it takes away any special
       meaning  that  character  may  have. This use of backslash as an escape
       character applies both inside and outside character classes.

       For example, if you want to match a * character, you write  \*  in  the
       pattern.   This  escaping  action  applies whether or not the following
       character would otherwise be interpreted as a metacharacter, so  it  is
       always  safe  to  precede  a non-alphanumeric with backslash to specify
       that it stands for itself. In particular, if you want to match a  back-
       slash, you write \\.

       In  a UTF mode, only ASCII numbers and letters have any special meaning
       after a backslash. All other characters  (in  particular,  those  whose
       codepoints are greater than 127) are treated as literals.

       If  a pattern is compiled with the PCRE_EXTENDED option, white space in
       the pattern (other than in a character class) and characters between  a
       # outside a character class and the next newline are ignored. An escap-
       ing backslash can be used to include a white space or  #  character  as
       part of the pattern.

       If  you  want  to remove the special meaning from a sequence of charac-
       ters, you can do so by putting them between \Q and \E. This is  differ-
       ent  from  Perl  in  that  $  and  @ are handled as literals in \Q...\E
       sequences in PCRE, whereas in Perl, $ and @ cause  variable  interpola-
       tion. Note the following examples:

         Pattern            PCRE matches   Perl matches

         \Qabc$xyz\E        abc$xyz        abc followed by the
                                             contents of $xyz
         \Qabc\$xyz\E       abc\$xyz       abc\$xyz
         \Qabc\E\$\Qxyz\E   abc$xyz        abc$xyz

       The  \Q...\E  sequence  is recognized both inside and outside character
       classes.  An isolated \E that is not preceded by \Q is ignored.  If  \Q
       is  not followed by \E later in the pattern, the literal interpretation
       continues to the end of the pattern (that is,  \E  is  assumed  at  the
       end).  If  the  isolated \Q is inside a character class, this causes an
       error, because the character class is not terminated.

   Non-printing characters

       A second use of backslash provides a way of encoding non-printing char-
       acters  in patterns in a visible manner. There is no restriction on the
       appearance of non-printing characters, apart from the binary zero  that
       terminates  a  pattern,  but  when  a pattern is being prepared by text
       editing, it is  often  easier  to  use  one  of  the  following  escape
       sequences than the binary character it represents:

         \a        alarm, that is, the BEL character (hex 07)
         \cx       "control-x", where x is any ASCII character
         \e        escape (hex 1B)
         \f        form feed (hex 0C)
         \n        linefeed (hex 0A)
         \r        carriage return (hex 0D)
         \t        tab (hex 09)
         \ddd      character with octal code ddd, or back reference
         \xhh      character with hex code hh
         \x{hhh..} character with hex code hhh.. (non-JavaScript mode)
         \uhhhh    character with hex code hhhh (JavaScript mode only)

       The  precise effect of \cx on ASCII characters is as follows: if x is a
       lower case letter, it is converted to upper case. Then  bit  6  of  the
       character (hex 40) is inverted. Thus \cA to \cZ become hex 01 to hex 1A
       (A is 41, Z is 5A), but \c{ becomes hex 3B ({ is 7B), and  \c;  becomes
       hex  7B (; is 3B). If the data item (byte or 16-bit value) following \c
       has a value greater than 127, a compile-time error occurs.  This  locks
       out non-ASCII characters in all modes.

       The  \c  facility  was designed for use with ASCII characters, but with
       the extension to Unicode it is even less useful than it  once  was.  It
       is,  however,  recognized  when  PCRE is compiled in EBCDIC mode, where
       data items are always bytes. In this mode, all values are  valid  after
       \c.  If  the  next character is a lower case letter, it is converted to
       upper case. Then the 0xc0 bits of  the  byte  are  inverted.  Thus  \cA
       becomes  hex  01, as in ASCII (A is C1), but because the EBCDIC letters
       are disjoint, \cZ becomes hex 29 (Z is E9), and other  characters  also
       generate different values.

       By  default,  after  \x,  from  zero to two hexadecimal digits are read
       (letters can be in upper or lower case). Any number of hexadecimal dig-
       its may appear between \x{ and }, but the character code is constrained
       as follows:

         8-bit non-UTF mode    less than 0x100
         8-bit UTF-8 mode      less than 0x10ffff and a valid codepoint
         16-bit non-UTF mode   less than 0x10000
         16-bit UTF-16 mode    less than 0x10ffff and a valid codepoint
         32-bit non-UTF mode   less than 0x80000000
         32-bit UTF-32 mode    less than 0x10ffff and a valid codepoint

       Invalid Unicode codepoints are the range  0xd800  to  0xdfff  (the  so-
       called "surrogate" codepoints), and 0xffef.

       If  characters  other than hexadecimal digits appear between \x{ and },
       or if there is no terminating }, this form of escape is not recognized.
       Instead,  the  initial  \x  will  be interpreted as a basic hexadecimal
       escape, with no following digits, giving a  character  whose  value  is
       zero.

       If  the  PCRE_JAVASCRIPT_COMPAT option is set, the interpretation of \x
       is as just described only when it is followed by two  hexadecimal  dig-
       its.   Otherwise,  it  matches  a  literal "x" character. In JavaScript
       mode, support for code points greater than 256 is provided by \u, which
       must  be  followed  by  four hexadecimal digits; otherwise it matches a
       literal "u" character.  Character codes specified by \u  in  JavaScript
       mode  are  constrained in the same was as those specified by \x in non-
       JavaScript mode.

       Characters whose value is less than 256 can be defined by either of the
       two  syntaxes for \x (or by \u in JavaScript mode). There is no differ-
       ence in the way they are handled. For example, \xdc is exactly the same
       as \x{dc} (or \u00dc in JavaScript mode).

       After  \0  up  to two further octal digits are read. If there are fewer
       than two digits, just  those  that  are  present  are  used.  Thus  the
       sequence \0\x\07 specifies two binary zeros followed by a BEL character
       (code value 7). Make sure you supply two digits after the initial  zero
       if the pattern character that follows is itself an octal digit.

       The handling of a backslash followed by a digit other than 0 is compli-
       cated.  Outside a character class, PCRE reads it and any following dig-
       its  as  a  decimal  number. If the number is less than 10, or if there
       have been at least that many previous capturing left parentheses in the
       expression,  the  entire  sequence  is  taken  as  a  back reference. A
       description of how this works is given later, following the  discussion
       of parenthesized subpatterns.

       Inside  a  character  class, or if the decimal number is greater than 9
       and there have not been that many capturing subpatterns, PCRE  re-reads
       up to three octal digits following the backslash, and uses them to gen-
       erate a data character. Any subsequent digits stand for themselves. The
       value  of  the  character  is constrained in the same way as characters
       specified in hexadecimal.  For example:

         \040   is another way of writing an ASCII space
         \40    is the same, provided there are fewer than 40
                   previous capturing subpatterns
         \7     is always a back reference
         \11    might be a back reference, or another way of
                   writing a tab
         \011   is always a tab
         \0113  is a tab followed by the character "3"
         \113   might be a back reference, otherwise the
                   character with octal code 113
         \377   might be a back reference, otherwise
                   the value 255 (decimal)
         \81    is either a back reference, or a binary zero
                   followed by the two characters "8" and "1"

       Note that octal values of 100 or greater must not be  introduced  by  a
       leading zero, because no more than three octal digits are ever read.

       All the sequences that define a single character value can be used both
       inside and outside character classes. In addition, inside  a  character
       class, \b is interpreted as the backspace character (hex 08).

       \N  is not allowed in a character class. \B, \R, and \X are not special
       inside a character class. Like  other  unrecognized  escape  sequences,
       they  are  treated  as  the  literal  characters  "B",  "R", and "X" by
       default, but cause an error if the PCRE_EXTRA option is set. Outside  a
       character class, these sequences have different meanings.

   Unsupported escape sequences

       In  Perl, the sequences \l, \L, \u, and \U are recognized by its string
       handler and used  to  modify  the  case  of  following  characters.  By
       default,  PCRE does not support these escape sequences. However, if the
       PCRE_JAVASCRIPT_COMPAT option is set, \U matches a "U"  character,  and
       \u can be used to define a character by code point, as described in the
       previous section.

   Absolute and relative back references

       The sequence \g followed by an unsigned or a negative  number,  option-
       ally  enclosed  in braces, is an absolute or relative back reference. A
       named back reference can be coded as \g{name}. Back references are dis-
       cussed later, following the discussion of parenthesized subpatterns.

   Absolute and relative subroutine calls

       For  compatibility with Oniguruma, the non-Perl syntax \g followed by a
       name or a number enclosed either in angle brackets or single quotes, is
       an  alternative  syntax for referencing a subpattern as a "subroutine".
       Details are discussed later.   Note  that  \g{...}  (Perl  syntax)  and
       \g<...>  (Oniguruma  syntax)  are  not synonymous. The former is a back
       reference; the latter is a subroutine call.

   Generic character types

       Another use of backslash is for specifying generic character types:

         \d     any decimal digit
         \D     any character that is not a decimal digit
         \h     any horizontal white space character
         \H     any character that is not a horizontal white space character
         \s     any white space character
         \S     any character that is not a white space character
         \v     any vertical white space character
         \V     any character that is not a vertical white space character
         \w     any "word" character
         \W     any "non-word" character

       There is also the single sequence \N, which matches a non-newline char-
       acter.   This  is the same as the "." metacharacter when PCRE_DOTALL is
       not set. Perl also uses \N to match characters by name; PCRE  does  not
       support this.

       Each  pair of lower and upper case escape sequences partitions the com-
       plete set of characters into two disjoint  sets.  Any  given  character
       matches  one, and only one, of each pair. The sequences can appear both
       inside and outside character classes. They each match one character  of
       the  appropriate  type.  If the current matching point is at the end of
       the subject string, all of them fail, because there is no character  to
       match.

       For  compatibility  with Perl, \s does not match the VT character (code
       11).  This makes it different from the the POSIX "space" class. The  \s
       characters  are  HT  (9), LF (10), FF (12), CR (13), and space (32). If
       "use locale;" is included in a Perl script, \s may match the VT charac-
       ter. In PCRE, it never does.

       A  "word"  character is an underscore or any character that is a letter
       or digit.  By default, the definition of letters  and  digits  is  con-
       trolled  by PCRE's low-valued character tables, and may vary if locale-
       specific matching is taking place (see "Locale support" in the  pcreapi
       page).  For  example,  in  a French locale such as "fr_FR" in Unix-like
       systems, or "french" in Windows, some character codes greater than  128
       are  used  for  accented letters, and these are then matched by \w. The
       use of locales with Unicode is discouraged.

       By default, in a UTF mode, characters  with  values  greater  than  128
       never  match  \d,  \s,  or  \w,  and always match \D, \S, and \W. These
       sequences retain their original meanings from before  UTF  support  was
       available,  mainly for efficiency reasons. However, if PCRE is compiled
       with Unicode property support, and the PCRE_UCP option is set, the  be-
       haviour  is  changed  so  that Unicode properties are used to determine
       character types, as follows:

         \d  any character that \p{Nd} matches (decimal digit)
         \s  any character that \p{Z} matches, plus HT, LF, FF, CR
         \w  any character that \p{L} or \p{N} matches, plus underscore

       The upper case escapes match the inverse sets of characters. Note  that
       \d  matches  only decimal digits, whereas \w matches any Unicode digit,
       as well as any Unicode letter, and underscore. Note also that  PCRE_UCP
       affects  \b,  and  \B  because  they are defined in terms of \w and \W.
       Matching these sequences is noticeably slower when PCRE_UCP is set.

       The sequences \h, \H, \v, and \V are features that were added  to  Perl
       at  release  5.10. In contrast to the other sequences, which match only
       ASCII characters by default, these  always  match  certain  high-valued
       codepoints,  whether or not PCRE_UCP is set. The horizontal space char-
       acters are:

         U+0009     Horizontal tab (HT)
         U+0020     Space
         U+00A0     Non-break space
         U+1680     Ogham space mark
         U+180E     Mongolian vowel separator
         U+2000     En quad
         U+2001     Em quad
         U+2002     En space
         U+2003     Em space
         U+2004     Three-per-em space
         U+2005     Four-per-em space
         U+2006     Six-per-em space
         U+2007     Figure space
         U+2008     Punctuation space
         U+2009     Thin space
         U+200A     Hair space
         U+202F     Narrow no-break space
         U+205F     Medium mathematical space
         U+3000     Ideographic space

       The vertical space characters are:

         U+000A     Linefeed (LF)
         U+000B     Vertical tab (VT)
         U+000C     Form feed (FF)
         U+000D     Carriage return (CR)
         U+0085     Next line (NEL)
         U+2028     Line separator
         U+2029     Paragraph separator

       In 8-bit, non-UTF-8 mode, only the characters with codepoints less than
       256 are relevant.

   Newline sequences

       Outside  a  character class, by default, the escape sequence \R matches
       any Unicode newline sequence. In 8-bit non-UTF-8 mode \R is  equivalent
       to the following:

         (?>\r\n|\n|\x0b|\f|\r|\x85)

       This  is  an  example  of an "atomic group", details of which are given
       below.  This particular group matches either the two-character sequence
       CR  followed  by  LF,  or  one  of  the single characters LF (linefeed,
       U+000A), VT (vertical tab, U+000B), FF (form feed,  U+000C),  CR  (car-
       riage  return,  U+000D),  or NEL (next line, U+0085). The two-character
       sequence is treated as a single unit that cannot be split.

       In other modes, two additional characters whose codepoints are  greater
       than 255 are added: LS (line separator, U+2028) and PS (paragraph sepa-
       rator, U+2029).  Unicode character property support is not  needed  for
       these characters to be recognized.

       It is possible to restrict \R to match only CR, LF, or CRLF (instead of
       the complete set  of  Unicode  line  endings)  by  setting  the  option
       PCRE_BSR_ANYCRLF either at compile time or when the pattern is matched.
       (BSR is an abbrevation for "backslash R".) This can be made the default
       when  PCRE  is  built;  if this is the case, the other behaviour can be
       requested via the PCRE_BSR_UNICODE option.   It  is  also  possible  to
       specify  these  settings  by  starting a pattern string with one of the
       following sequences:

         (*BSR_ANYCRLF)   CR, LF, or CRLF only
         (*BSR_UNICODE)   any Unicode newline sequence

       These override the default and the options given to the compiling func-
       tion,  but  they  can  themselves  be  overridden by options given to a
       matching function. Note that these  special  settings,  which  are  not
       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 is used. They can be combined with a change of
       newline convention; for example, a pattern can start with:

         (*ANY)(*BSR_ANYCRLF)

       They can also be combined with the (*UTF8), (*UTF16), (*UTF32),  (*UTF)
       or (*UCP) special sequences. Inside a character class, \R is treated as
       an unrecognized escape sequence, and  so  matches  the  letter  "R"  by
       default, but causes an error if PCRE_EXTRA is set.

   Unicode character properties

       When PCRE is built with Unicode character property support, three addi-
       tional escape sequences that match characters with specific  properties
       are  available.   When  in 8-bit non-UTF-8 mode, these sequences are of
       course limited to testing characters whose  codepoints  are  less  than
       256, but they do work in this mode.  The extra escape sequences are:

         \p{xx}   a character with the xx property
         \P{xx}   a character without the xx property
         \X       a Unicode extended grapheme cluster

       The  property  names represented by xx above are limited to the Unicode
       script names, the general category properties, "Any", which matches any
       character   (including  newline),  and  some  special  PCRE  properties
       (described in the next section).  Other Perl properties such as  "InMu-
       sicalSymbols"  are  not  currently supported by PCRE. Note that \P{Any}
       does not match any characters, so always causes a match failure.

       Sets of Unicode characters are defined as belonging to certain scripts.
       A  character from one of these sets can be matched using a script name.
       For example:

         \p{Greek}
         \P{Han}

       Those that are not part of an identified script are lumped together  as
       "Common". The current list of scripts is:

       Arabic,  Armenian,  Avestan, Balinese, Bamum, Batak, Bengali, Bopomofo,
       Brahmi, Braille, Buginese, Buhid, Canadian_Aboriginal, Carian,  Chakma,
       Cham,  Cherokee, Common, Coptic, Cuneiform, Cypriot, Cyrillic, Deseret,
       Devanagari,  Egyptian_Hieroglyphs,  Ethiopic,   Georgian,   Glagolitic,
       Gothic,  Greek, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Han, Hangul, Hanunoo, Hebrew, Hira-
       gana,  Imperial_Aramaic,  Inherited,  Inscriptional_Pahlavi,   Inscrip-
       tional_Parthian,   Javanese,   Kaithi,   Kannada,  Katakana,  Kayah_Li,
       Kharoshthi, Khmer, Lao, Latin, Lepcha, Limbu, Linear_B,  Lisu,  Lycian,
       Lydian,    Malayalam,    Mandaic,    Meetei_Mayek,    Meroitic_Cursive,
       Meroitic_Hieroglyphs,  Miao,  Mongolian,  Myanmar,  New_Tai_Lue,   Nko,
       Ogham,    Old_Italic,   Old_Persian,   Old_South_Arabian,   Old_Turkic,
       Ol_Chiki, Oriya, Osmanya, Phags_Pa, Phoenician, Rejang, Runic,  Samari-
       tan,  Saurashtra,  Sharada,  Shavian, Sinhala, Sora_Sompeng, Sundanese,
       Syloti_Nagri, Syriac, Tagalog, Tagbanwa,  Tai_Le,  Tai_Tham,  Tai_Viet,
       Takri,  Tamil,  Telugu, Thaana, Thai, Tibetan, Tifinagh, Ugaritic, Vai,
       Yi.

       Each character has exactly one Unicode general category property, spec-
       ified  by a two-letter abbreviation. For compatibility with Perl, nega-
       tion can be specified by including a  circumflex  between  the  opening
       brace  and  the  property  name.  For  example,  \p{^Lu} is the same as
       \P{Lu}.

       If only one letter is specified with \p or \P, it includes all the gen-
       eral  category properties that start with that letter. In this case, in
       the absence of negation, the curly brackets in the escape sequence  are
       optional; these two examples have the same effect:

         \p{L}
         \pL

       The following general category property codes are supported:

         C     Other
         Cc    Control
         Cf    Format
         Cn    Unassigned
         Co    Private use
         Cs    Surrogate

         L     Letter
         Ll    Lower case letter
         Lm    Modifier letter
         Lo    Other letter
         Lt    Title case letter
         Lu    Upper case letter

         M     Mark
         Mc    Spacing mark
         Me    Enclosing mark
         Mn    Non-spacing mark

         N     Number
         Nd    Decimal number
         Nl    Letter number
         No    Other number

         P     Punctuation
         Pc    Connector punctuation
         Pd    Dash punctuation
         Pe    Close punctuation
         Pf    Final punctuation
         Pi    Initial punctuation
         Po    Other punctuation
         Ps    Open punctuation

         S     Symbol
         Sc    Currency symbol
         Sk    Modifier symbol
         Sm    Mathematical symbol
         So    Other symbol

         Z     Separator
         Zl    Line separator
         Zp    Paragraph separator
         Zs    Space separator

       The  special property L& is also supported: it matches a character that
       has the Lu, Ll, or Lt property, in other words, a letter  that  is  not
       classified as a modifier or "other".

       The  Cs  (Surrogate)  property  applies only to characters in the range
       U+D800 to U+DFFF. Such characters are not valid in Unicode strings  and
       so  cannot  be  tested  by  PCRE, unless UTF validity checking has been
       turned    off    (see    the    discussion    of    PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK,
       PCRE_NO_UTF16_CHECK  and PCRE_NO_UTF32_CHECK in the pcreapi page). Perl
       does not support the Cs property.

       The long synonyms for  property  names  that  Perl  supports  (such  as
       \p{Letter})  are  not  supported by PCRE, nor is it permitted to prefix
       any of these properties with "Is".

       No character that is in the Unicode table has the Cn (unassigned) prop-
       erty.  Instead, this property is assumed for any code point that is not
       in the Unicode table.

       Specifying caseless matching does not affect  these  escape  sequences.
       For  example,  \p{Lu}  always  matches only upper case letters. This is
       different from the behaviour of current versions of Perl.

       Matching characters by Unicode property is not fast, because  PCRE  has
       to  do  a  multistage table lookup in order to find a character's prop-
       erty. That is why the traditional escape sequences such as \d and \w do
       not use Unicode properties in PCRE by default, though you can make them
       do so by setting the PCRE_UCP option or by starting  the  pattern  with
       (*UCP).

   Extended grapheme clusters

       The  \X  escape  matches  any number of Unicode characters that form an
       "extended grapheme cluster", and treats the sequence as an atomic group
       (see  below).   Up  to and including release 8.31, PCRE matched an ear-
       lier, simpler definition that was equivalent to

         (?>\PM\pM*)

       That is, it matched a character without the "mark"  property,  followed
       by  zero  or  more characters with the "mark" property. Characters with
       the "mark" property are typically non-spacing accents that  affect  the
       preceding character.

       This  simple definition was extended in Unicode to include more compli-
       cated kinds of composite character by giving each character a  grapheme
       breaking  property,  and  creating  rules  that use these properties to
       define the boundaries of extended grapheme  clusters.  In  releases  of
       PCRE later than 8.31, \X matches one of these clusters.

       \X  always  matches  at least one character. Then it decides whether to
       add additional characters according to the following rules for ending a
       cluster:

       1. End at the end of the subject string.

       2.  Do not end between CR and LF; otherwise end after any control char-
       acter.

       3. Do not break Hangul (a Korean  script)  syllable  sequences.  Hangul
       characters  are of five types: L, V, T, LV, and LVT. An L character may
       be followed by an L, V, LV, or LVT character; an LV or V character  may
       be followed by a V or T character; an LVT or T character may be follwed
       only by a T character.

       4. Do not end before extending characters or spacing marks.  Characters
       with  the  "mark"  property  always have the "extend" grapheme breaking
       property.

       5. Do not end after prepend characters.

       6. Otherwise, end the cluster.

   PCRE's additional properties

       As well as the standard Unicode properties described above,  PCRE  sup-
       ports  four  more  that  make it possible to convert traditional escape
       sequences such as \w and \s and POSIX character classes to use  Unicode
       properties.  PCRE  uses  these non-standard, non-Perl properties inter-
       nally when PCRE_UCP is set. However, they may also be used  explicitly.
       These properties are:

         Xan   Any alphanumeric character
         Xps   Any POSIX space character
         Xsp   Any Perl space character
         Xwd   Any Perl "word" character

       Xan  matches  characters that have either the L (letter) or the N (num-
       ber) property. Xps matches the characters tab, linefeed, vertical  tab,
       form  feed,  or carriage return, and any other character that has the Z
       (separator) property.  Xsp is the same as Xps, except that vertical tab
       is excluded. Xwd matches the same characters as Xan, plus underscore.

       There  is another non-standard property, Xuc, which matches any charac-
       ter that can be represented by a Universal Character Name  in  C++  and
       other  programming  languages.  These are the characters $, @, ` (grave
       accent), and all characters with Unicode code points  greater  than  or
       equal  to U+00A0, except for the surrogates U+D800 to U+DFFF. Note that
       most base (ASCII) characters are excluded. (Universal  Character  Names
       are  of  the  form \uHHHH or \UHHHHHHHH where H is a hexadecimal digit.
       Note that the Xuc property does not match these sequences but the char-
       acters that they represent.)

   Resetting the match start

       The  escape sequence \K causes any previously matched characters not to
       be included in the final matched sequence. For example, the pattern:

         foo\Kbar

       matches "foobar", but reports that it has matched "bar".  This  feature
       is  similar  to  a lookbehind assertion (described below).  However, in
       this case, the part of the subject before the real match does not  have
       to  be of fixed length, as lookbehind assertions do. The use of \K does
       not interfere with the setting of captured  substrings.   For  example,
       when the pattern

         (foo)\Kbar

       matches "foobar", the first substring is still set to "foo".

       Perl  documents  that  the  use  of  \K  within assertions is "not well
       defined". In PCRE, \K is acted upon  when  it  occurs  inside  positive
       assertions, but is ignored in negative assertions.

   Simple assertions

       The  final use of backslash is for certain simple assertions. An asser-
       tion specifies a condition that has to be met at a particular point  in
       a  match, without consuming any characters from the subject string. The
       use of subpatterns for more complicated assertions is described  below.
       The backslashed assertions are:

         \b     matches at a word boundary
         \B     matches when not at a word boundary
         \A     matches at the start of the subject
         \Z     matches at the end of the subject
                 also matches before a newline at the end of the subject
         \z     matches only at the end of the subject
         \G     matches at the first matching position in the subject

       Inside  a  character  class, \b has a different meaning; it matches the
       backspace character. If any other of  these  assertions  appears  in  a
       character  class, by default it matches the corresponding literal char-
       acter  (for  example,  \B  matches  the  letter  B).  However,  if  the
       PCRE_EXTRA  option is set, an "invalid escape sequence" error is gener-
       ated instead.

       A word boundary is a position in the subject string where  the  current
       character  and  the previous character do not both match \w or \W (i.e.
       one matches \w and the other matches \W), or the start or  end  of  the
       string  if  the  first or last character matches \w, respectively. In a
       UTF mode, the meanings of \w and \W  can  be  changed  by  setting  the
       PCRE_UCP  option. When this is done, it also affects \b and \B. Neither
       PCRE nor Perl has a separate "start of word" or "end of  word"  metase-
       quence.  However,  whatever follows \b normally determines which it is.
       For example, the fragment \ba matches "a" at the start of a word.

       The \A, \Z, and \z assertions differ from  the  traditional  circumflex
       and dollar (described in the next section) in that they only ever match
       at the very start and end of the subject string, whatever  options  are
       set.  Thus,  they are independent of multiline mode. These three asser-
       tions are not affected by the PCRE_NOTBOL or PCRE_NOTEOL options, which
       affect  only the behaviour of the circumflex and dollar metacharacters.
       However, if the startoffset argument of pcre_exec() is non-zero,  indi-
       cating that matching is to start at a point other than the beginning of
       the subject, \A can never match. The difference between \Z  and  \z  is
       that \Z matches before a newline at the end of the string as well as at
       the very end, whereas \z matches only at the end.

       The \G assertion is true only when the current matching position is  at
       the  start point of the match, as specified by the startoffset argument
       of pcre_exec(). It differs from \A when the  value  of  startoffset  is
       non-zero.  By calling pcre_exec() multiple times with appropriate argu-
       ments, you can mimic Perl's /g option, and it is in this kind of imple-
       mentation where \G can be useful.

       Note,  however,  that  PCRE's interpretation of \G, as the start of the
       current match, is subtly different from Perl's, which defines it as the
       end  of  the  previous  match. In Perl, these can be different when the
       previously matched string was empty. Because PCRE does just  one  match
       at a time, it cannot reproduce this behaviour.

       If  all  the alternatives of a pattern begin with \G, the expression is
       anchored to the starting match position, and the "anchored" flag is set
       in the compiled regular expression.


CIRCUMFLEX AND DOLLAR

       The  circumflex  and  dollar  metacharacters are zero-width assertions.
       That is, they test for a particular condition being true  without  con-
       suming any characters from the subject string.

       Outside a character class, in the default matching mode, the circumflex
       character is an assertion that is true only  if  the  current  matching
       point  is  at the start of the subject string. If the startoffset argu-
       ment of pcre_exec() is non-zero, circumflex  can  never  match  if  the
       PCRE_MULTILINE  option  is  unset. Inside a character class, circumflex
       has an entirely different meaning (see below).

       Circumflex need not be the first character of the pattern if  a  number
       of  alternatives are involved, but it should be the first thing in each
       alternative in which it appears if the pattern is ever  to  match  that
       branch.  If all possible alternatives start with a circumflex, that is,
       if the pattern is constrained to match only at the start  of  the  sub-
       ject,  it  is  said  to be an "anchored" pattern. (There are also other
       constructs that can cause a pattern to be anchored.)

       The dollar character is an assertion that is true only if  the  current
       matching  point  is  at  the  end of the subject string, or immediately
       before a newline at the end of the string (by default). Note,  however,
       that  it  does  not  actually match the newline. Dollar need not be the
       last character of the pattern if a number of alternatives are involved,
       but  it should be the last item in any branch in which it appears. Dol-
       lar has no special meaning in a character class.

       The meaning of dollar can be changed so that it  matches  only  at  the
       very  end  of  the string, by setting the PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY option at
       compile time. This does not affect the \Z assertion.

       The meanings of the circumflex and dollar characters are changed if the
       PCRE_MULTILINE  option  is  set.  When  this  is the case, a circumflex
       matches immediately after internal newlines as well as at the start  of
       the  subject  string.  It  does not match after a newline that ends the
       string. A dollar matches before any newlines in the string, as well  as
       at  the very end, when PCRE_MULTILINE is set. When newline is specified
       as the two-character sequence CRLF, isolated CR and  LF  characters  do
       not indicate newlines.

       For  example, the pattern /^abc$/ matches the subject string "def\nabc"
       (where \n represents a newline) in multiline mode, but  not  otherwise.
       Consequently,  patterns  that  are anchored in single line mode because
       all branches start with ^ are not anchored in  multiline  mode,  and  a
       match  for  circumflex  is  possible  when  the startoffset argument of
       pcre_exec() is non-zero. The PCRE_DOLLAR_ENDONLY option is  ignored  if
       PCRE_MULTILINE is set.

       Note  that  the sequences \A, \Z, and \z can be used to match the start
       and end of the subject in both modes, and if all branches of a  pattern
       start  with  \A it is always anchored, whether or not PCRE_MULTILINE is
       set.


FULL STOP (PERIOD, DOT) AND \N

       Outside a character class, a dot in the pattern matches any one charac-
       ter  in  the subject string except (by default) a character that signi-
       fies the end of a line.

       When a line ending is defined as a single character, dot never  matches
       that  character; when the two-character sequence CRLF is used, dot does
       not match CR if it is immediately followed  by  LF,  but  otherwise  it
       matches  all characters (including isolated CRs and LFs). When any Uni-
       code line endings are being recognized, dot does not match CR or LF  or
       any of the other line ending characters.

       The  behaviour  of  dot  with regard to newlines can be changed. If the
       PCRE_DOTALL option is set, a dot matches  any  one  character,  without
       exception. If the two-character sequence CRLF is present in the subject
       string, it takes two dots to match it.

       The handling of dot is entirely independent of the handling of  circum-
       flex  and  dollar,  the  only relationship being that they both involve
       newlines. Dot has no special meaning in a character class.

       The escape sequence \N behaves like  a  dot,  except  that  it  is  not
       affected  by  the  PCRE_DOTALL  option.  In other words, it matches any
       character except one that signifies the end of a line. Perl  also  uses
       \N to match characters by name; PCRE does not support this.


MATCHING A SINGLE DATA UNIT

       Outside  a character class, the escape sequence \C matches any one data
       unit, whether or not a UTF mode is set. In the 8-bit library, one  data
       unit  is  one  byte;  in the 16-bit library it is a 16-bit unit; in the
       32-bit library it is a 32-bit unit. Unlike a  dot,  \C  always  matches
       line-ending  characters.  The  feature  is provided in Perl in order to
       match individual bytes in UTF-8 mode, but it is unclear how it can use-
       fully  be  used.  Because  \C breaks up characters into individual data
       units, matching one unit with \C in a UTF mode means that the  rest  of
       the string may start with a malformed UTF character. This has undefined
       results, because PCRE assumes that it is dealing with valid UTF strings
       (and  by  default  it checks this at the start of processing unless the
       PCRE_NO_UTF8_CHECK, PCRE_NO_UTF16_CHECK or  PCRE_NO_UTF32_CHECK  option
       is used).

       PCRE  does  not  allow \C to appear in lookbehind assertions (described
       below) in a UTF mode, because this would make it impossible  to  calcu-
       late the length of the lookbehind.

       In general, the \C escape sequence is best avoided. However, one way of
       using it that avoids the problem of malformed UTF characters is to  use
       a  lookahead to check the length of the next character, as in this pat-
       tern, which could be used with a UTF-8 string (ignore white  space  and
       line breaks):

         (?| (?=[\x00-\x7f])(\C) |
             (?=[\x80-\x{7ff}])(\C)(\C) |
             (?=[\x{800}-\x{ffff}])(\C)(\C)(\C) |
             (?=[\x{10000}-\x{1fffff}])(\C)(\C)(\C)(\C))

       A  group  that starts with (?| resets the capturing parentheses numbers
       in each alternative (see "Duplicate  Subpattern  Numbers"  below).  The
       assertions  at  the start of each branch check the next UTF-8 character
       for values whose encoding uses 1, 2, 3, or 4 bytes,  respectively.  The
       character's  individual bytes are then captured by the appropriate num-
       ber of groups.


SQUARE BRACKETS AND CHARACTER CLASSES

       An opening square bracket introduces a character class, terminated by a
       closing square bracket. A closing square bracket on its own is not spe-
       cial by default.  However, if the PCRE_JAVASCRIPT_COMPAT option is set,
       a lone closing square bracket causes a compile-time error. If a closing
       square bracket is required as a member of the class, it should  be  the
       first  data  character  in  the  class (after an initial circumflex, if
       present) or escaped with a backslash.

       A character class matches a single character in the subject. In  a  UTF
       mode,  the  character  may  be  more than one data unit long. A matched
       character must be in the set of characters defined by the class, unless
       the  first  character in the class definition is a circumflex, in which
       case the subject character must not be in the set defined by the class.
       If  a  circumflex is actually required as a member of the class, ensure
       it is not the first character, or escape it with a backslash.

       For example, the character class [aeiou] matches any lower case  vowel,
       while  [^aeiou]  matches  any character that is not a lower case vowel.
       Note that a circumflex is just a convenient notation for specifying the
       characters  that  are in the class by enumerating those that are not. A
       class that starts with a circumflex is not an assertion; it still  con-
       sumes  a  character  from the subject string, and therefore it fails if
       the current pointer is at the end of the string.

       In UTF-8 (UTF-16, UTF-32) mode, characters with values greater than 255
       (0xffff)  can be included in a class as a literal string of data units,
       or by using the \x{ escaping mechanism.

       When caseless matching is set, any letters in a  class  represent  both
       their  upper  case  and lower case versions, so for example, a caseless
       [aeiou] matches "A" as well as "a", and a caseless  [^aeiou]  does  not
       match  "A", whereas a caseful version would. In a UTF mode, PCRE always
       understands the concept of case for characters whose  values  are  less
       than  128, so caseless matching is always possible. For characters with
       higher values, the concept of case is supported  if  PCRE  is  compiled
       with  Unicode  property support, but not otherwise.  If you want to use
       caseless matching in a UTF mode for characters 128 and above, you  must
       ensure  that  PCRE is compiled with Unicode property support as well as
       with UTF support.

       Characters that might indicate line breaks are  never  treated  in  any
       special  way  when  matching  character  classes,  whatever line-ending
       sequence is in  use,  and  whatever  setting  of  the  PCRE_DOTALL  and
       PCRE_MULTILINE options is used. A class such as [^a] always matches one
       of these characters.

       The minus (hyphen) character can be used to specify a range of  charac-
       ters  in  a  character  class.  For  example,  [d-m] matches any letter
       between d and m, inclusive. If a  minus  character  is  required  in  a
       class,  it  must  be  escaped  with a backslash or appear in a position
       where it cannot be interpreted as indicating a range, typically as  the
       first or last character in the class.

       It is not possible to have the literal character "]" as the end charac-
       ter of a range. A pattern such as [W-]46] is interpreted as a class  of
       two  characters ("W" and "-") followed by a literal string "46]", so it
       would match "W46]" or "-46]". However, if the "]"  is  escaped  with  a
       backslash  it is interpreted as the end of range, so [W-\]46] is inter-
       preted as a class containing a range followed by two other  characters.
       The  octal or hexadecimal representation of "]" can also be used to end
       a range.

       Ranges operate in the collating sequence of character values. They  can
       also   be  used  for  characters  specified  numerically,  for  example
       [\000-\037]. Ranges can include any characters that are valid  for  the
       current mode.

       If a range that includes letters is used when caseless matching is set,
       it matches the letters in either case. For example, [W-c] is equivalent
       to  [][\\^_`wxyzabc],  matched  caselessly,  and  in a non-UTF mode, if
       character tables for a French locale are in  use,  [\xc8-\xcb]  matches
       accented  E  characters  in both cases. In UTF modes, PCRE supports the
       concept of case for characters with values greater than 128  only  when
       it is compiled with Unicode property support.

       The  character escape sequences \d, \D, \h, \H, \p, \P, \s, \S, \v, \V,
       \w, and \W may appear in a character class, and add the characters that
       they  match to the class. For example, [\dABCDEF] matches any hexadeci-
       mal digit. In UTF modes, the PCRE_UCP option affects  the  meanings  of
       \d,  \s,  \w  and  their upper case partners, just as it does when they
       appear outside a character class, as described in the section  entitled
       "Generic character types" above. The escape sequence \b has a different
       meaning inside a character class; it matches the  backspace  character.
       The  sequences  \B,  \N,  \R, and \X are not special inside a character
       class. Like any other unrecognized escape sequences, they  are  treated
       as  the literal characters "B", "N", "R", and "X" by default, but cause
       an error if the PCRE_EXTRA option is set.

       A circumflex can conveniently be used with  the  upper  case  character
       types  to specify a more restricted set of characters than the matching
       lower case type.  For example, the class [^\W_] matches any  letter  or
       digit, but not underscore, whereas [\w] includes underscore. A positive
       character class should be read as "something OR something OR ..." and a
       negative class as "NOT something AND NOT something AND NOT ...".

       The  only  metacharacters  that are recognized in character classes are
       backslash, hyphen (only where it can be  interpreted  as  specifying  a
       range),  circumflex  (only  at the start), opening square bracket (only
       when it can be interpreted as introducing a POSIX class name - see  the
       next  section),  and  the  terminating closing square bracket. However,
       escaping other non-alphanumeric characters does no harm.


POSIX CHARACTER CLASSES

       Perl supports the POSIX notation for character classes. This uses names
       enclosed  by  [: and :] within the enclosing square brackets. PCRE also
       supports this notation. For example,

         [01[:alpha:]%]

       matches "0", "1", any alphabetic character, or "%". The supported class
       names are:

         alnum    letters and digits
         alpha    letters
         ascii    character codes 0 - 127
         blank    space or tab only
         cntrl    control characters
         digit    decimal digits (same as \d)
         graph    printing characters, excluding space
         lower    lower case letters
         print    printing characters, including space
         punct    printing characters, excluding letters and digits and space
         space    white space (not quite the same as \s)
         upper    upper case letters
         word     "word" characters (same as \w)
         xdigit   hexadecimal digits

       The  "space" characters are HT (9), LF (10), VT (11), FF (12), CR (13),
       and space (32). Notice that this list includes the VT  character  (code
       11). This makes "space" different to \s, which does not include VT (for
       Perl compatibility).

       The name "word" is a Perl extension, and "blank"  is  a  GNU  extension
       from  Perl  5.8. Another Perl extension is negation, which is indicated
       by a ^ character after the colon. For example,

         [12[:^digit:]]

       matches "1", "2", or any non-digit. PCRE (and Perl) also recognize  the
       POSIX syntax [.ch.] and [=ch=] where "ch" is a "collating element", but
       these are not supported, and an error is given if they are encountered.

       By default, in UTF modes, characters with values greater  than  128  do
       not  match any of the POSIX character classes. However, if the PCRE_UCP
       option is passed to pcre_compile(), some of the classes are changed  so
       that Unicode character properties are used. This is achieved by replac-
       ing the POSIX classes by other sequences, as follows:

         [:alnum:]  becomes  \p{Xan}
         [:alpha:]  becomes  \p{L}
         [:blank:]  becomes  \h
         [:digit:]  becomes  \p{Nd}
         [:lower:]  becomes  \p{Ll}
         [:space:]  becomes  \p{Xps}
         [:upper:]  becomes  \p{Lu}
         [:word:]   becomes  \p{Xwd}

       Negated versions, such as [:^alpha:] use \P instead of  \p.  The  other
       POSIX classes are unchanged, and match only characters with code points
       less than 128.


VERTICAL BAR

       Vertical bar characters are used to separate alternative patterns.  For
       example, the pattern

         gilbert|sullivan

       matches  either "gilbert" or "sullivan". Any number of alternatives may
       appear, and an empty  alternative  is  permitted  (matching  the  empty
       string). The matching process tries each alternative in turn, from left
       to right, and the first one that succeeds is used. If the  alternatives
       are  within a subpattern (defined below), "succeeds" means matching the
       rest of the main pattern as well as the alternative in the subpattern.


INTERNAL OPTION SETTING

       The settings of the  PCRE_CASELESS,  PCRE_MULTILINE,  PCRE_DOTALL,  and
       PCRE_EXTENDED  options  (which are Perl-compatible) can be changed from
       within the pattern by  a  sequence  of  Perl  option  letters  enclosed
       between "(?" and ")".  The option letters are

         i  for PCRE_CASELESS
         m  for PCRE_MULTILINE
         s  for PCRE_DOTALL
         x  for PCRE_EXTENDED

       For example, (?im) sets caseless, multiline matching. It is also possi-
       ble to unset these options by preceding the letter with a hyphen, and a
       combined  setting and unsetting such as (?im-sx), which sets PCRE_CASE-
       LESS and PCRE_MULTILINE while unsetting PCRE_DOTALL and  PCRE_EXTENDED,
       is  also  permitted.  If  a  letter  appears  both before and after the
       hyphen, the option is unset.

       The PCRE-specific options PCRE_DUPNAMES, PCRE_UNGREEDY, and  PCRE_EXTRA
       can  be changed in the same way as the Perl-compatible options by using
       the characters J, U and X respectively.

       When one of these option changes occurs at  top  level  (that  is,  not
       inside  subpattern parentheses), the change applies to the remainder of
       the pattern that follows. If the change is placed right at the start of
       a pattern, PCRE extracts it into the global options (and it will there-
       fore show up in data extracted by the pcre_fullinfo() function).

       An option change within a subpattern (see below for  a  description  of
       subpatterns)  affects only that part of the subpattern that follows it,
       so

         (a(?i)b)c

       matches abc and aBc and no other strings (assuming PCRE_CASELESS is not
       used).   By  this means, options can be made to have different settings
       in different parts of the pattern. Any changes made in one  alternative
       do  carry  on  into subsequent branches within the same subpattern. For
       example,

         (a(?i)b|c)

       matches "ab", "aB", "c", and "C", even though  when  matching  "C"  the
       first  branch  is  abandoned before the option setting. This is because
       the effects of option settings happen at compile time. There  would  be
       some very weird behaviour otherwise.

       Note:  There  are  other  PCRE-specific  options that can be set by the
       application when the compiling or matching  functions  are  called.  In
       some  cases  the  pattern can contain special leading sequences such as
       (*CRLF) to override what the application  has  set  or  what  has  been
       defaulted.   Details   are  given  in  the  section  entitled  "Newline
       sequences" above. There are also the  (*UTF8),  (*UTF16),(*UTF32),  and
       (*UCP)  leading sequences that can be used to set UTF and Unicode prop-
       erty modes; they are equivalent to setting the  PCRE_UTF8,  PCRE_UTF16,
       PCRE_UTF32  and the PCRE_UCP options, respectively. The (*UTF) sequence
       is a generic version that can be used with any of the  libraries.  How-
       ever,  the  application  can set the PCRE_NEVER_UTF option, which locks
       out the use of the (*UTF) sequences.


SUBPATTERNS

       Subpatterns are delimited by parentheses (round brackets), which can be
       nested.  Turning part of a pattern into a subpattern does two things:

       1. It localizes a set of alternatives. For example, the pattern

         cat(aract|erpillar|)

       matches  "cataract",  "caterpillar", or "cat". Without the parentheses,
       it would match "cataract", "erpillar" or an empty string.

       2. It sets up the subpattern as  a  capturing  subpattern.  This  means
       that,  when  the  whole  pattern  matches,  that portion of the subject
       string that matched the subpattern is passed back to the caller via the
       ovector  argument  of  the matching function. (This applies only to the
       traditional matching functions; the DFA matching functions do not  sup-
       port capturing.)

       Opening parentheses are counted from left to right (starting from 1) to
       obtain numbers for the  capturing  subpatterns.  For  example,  if  the
       string "the red king" is matched against the pattern

         the ((red|white) (king|queen))

       the captured substrings are "red king", "red", and "king", and are num-
       bered 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

       The fact that plain parentheses fulfil  two  functions  is  not  always
       helpful.   There are often times when a grouping subpattern is required
       without a capturing requirement. If an opening parenthesis is  followed
       by  a question mark and a colon, the subpattern does not do any captur-
       ing, and is not counted when computing the  number  of  any  subsequent
       capturing  subpatterns. For example, if the string "the white queen" is
       matched against the pattern

         the ((?:red|white) (king|queen))

       the captured substrings are "white queen" and "queen", and are numbered
       1 and 2. The maximum number of capturing subpatterns is 65535.

       As  a  convenient shorthand, if any option settings are required at the
       start of a non-capturing subpattern,  the  option  letters  may  appear
       between the "?" and the ":". Thus the two patterns

         (?i:saturday|sunday)
         (?:(?i)saturday|sunday)

       match exactly the same set of strings. Because alternative branches are
       tried from left to right, and options are not reset until  the  end  of
       the  subpattern is reached, an option setting in one branch does affect
       subsequent branches, so the above patterns match "SUNDAY"  as  well  as
       "Saturday".


DUPLICATE SUBPATTERN NUMBERS

       Perl 5.10 introduced a feature whereby each alternative in a subpattern
       uses the same numbers for its capturing parentheses. Such a  subpattern
       starts  with (?| and is itself a non-capturing subpattern. For example,
       consider this pattern:

         (?|(Sat)ur|(Sun))day

       Because the two alternatives are inside a (?| group, both sets of  cap-
       turing  parentheses  are  numbered one. Thus, when the pattern matches,
       you can look at captured substring number  one,  whichever  alternative
       matched.  This  construct  is useful when you want to capture part, but
       not all, of one of a number of alternatives. Inside a (?| group, paren-
       theses  are  numbered as usual, but the number is reset at the start of
       each branch. The numbers of any capturing parentheses that  follow  the
       subpattern  start after the highest number used in any branch. The fol-
       lowing example is taken from the Perl documentation. The numbers under-
       neath show in which buffer the captured content will be stored.

         # before  ---------------branch-reset----------- after
         / ( a )  (?| x ( y ) z | (p (q) r) | (t) u (v) ) ( z ) /x
         # 1            2         2  3        2     3     4

       A  back  reference  to a numbered subpattern uses the most recent value
       that is set for that number by any subpattern.  The  following  pattern
       matches "abcabc" or "defdef":

         /(?|(abc)|(def))\1/

       In  contrast,  a subroutine call to a numbered subpattern always refers
       to the first one in the pattern with the given  number.  The  following
       pattern matches "abcabc" or "defabc":

         /(?|(abc)|(def))(?1)/

       If  a condition test for a subpattern's having matched refers to a non-
       unique number, the test is true if any of the subpatterns of that  num-
       ber have matched.

       An  alternative approach to using this "branch reset" feature is to use
       duplicate named subpatterns, as described in the next section.


NAMED SUBPATTERNS

       Identifying capturing parentheses by number is simple, but  it  can  be
       very  hard  to keep track of the numbers in complicated regular expres-
       sions. Furthermore, if an  expression  is  modified,  the  numbers  may
       change.  To help with this difficulty, PCRE supports the naming of sub-
       patterns. This feature was not added to Perl until release 5.10. Python
       had  the  feature earlier, and PCRE introduced it at release 4.0, using
       the Python syntax. PCRE now supports both the Perl and the Python  syn-
       tax.  Perl  allows  identically  numbered subpatterns to have different
       names, but PCRE does not.

       In PCRE, a subpattern can be named in one of three  ways:  (?...)
       or  (?'name'...)  as in Perl, or (?P...) as in Python. References
       to capturing parentheses from other parts of the pattern, such as  back
       references,  recursion,  and conditions, can be made by name as well as
       by number.

       Names consist of up to  32  alphanumeric  characters  and  underscores.
       Named  capturing  parentheses  are  still  allocated numbers as well as
       names, exactly as if the names were not present. The PCRE API  provides
       function calls for extracting the name-to-number translation table from
       a compiled pattern. There is also a convenience function for extracting
       a captured substring by name.

       By  default, a name must be unique within a pattern, but it is possible
       to relax this constraint by setting the PCRE_DUPNAMES option at compile
       time.  (Duplicate  names are also always permitted for subpatterns with
       the same number, set up as described in the previous  section.)  Dupli-
       cate  names  can  be useful for patterns where only one instance of the
       named parentheses can match. Suppose you want to match the  name  of  a
       weekday,  either as a 3-letter abbreviation or as the full name, and in
       both cases you want to extract the abbreviation. This pattern (ignoring
       the line breaks) does the job:

         (?Mon|Fri|Sun)(?:day)?|
         (?Tue)(?:sday)?|
         (?Wed)(?:nesday)?|
         (?Thu)(?:rsday)?|
         (?Sat)(?:urday)?

       There  are  five capturing substrings, but only one is ever set after a
       match.  (An alternative way of solving this problem is to use a "branch
       reset" subpattern, as described in the previous section.)

       The  convenience  function  for extracting the data by name returns the
       substring for the first (and in this example, the only)  subpattern  of
       that  name  that  matched.  This saves searching to find which numbered
       subpattern it was.

       If you make a back reference to  a  non-unique  named  subpattern  from
       elsewhere  in the pattern, the one that corresponds to the first occur-
       rence of the name is used. In the absence of duplicate numbers (see the
       previous  section) this is the one with the lowest number. If you use a
       named reference in a condition test (see the section  about  conditions
       below),  either  to check whether a subpattern has matched, or to check
       for recursion, all subpatterns with the same name are  tested.  If  the
       condition  is  true for any one of them, the overall condition is true.
       This is the same behaviour as testing by number. For further details of
       the interfaces for handling named subpatterns, see the pcreapi documen-
       tation.

       Warning: You cannot use different names to distinguish between two sub-
       patterns  with  the same number because PCRE uses only the numbers when
       matching. For this reason, an error is given at compile time if differ-
       ent  names  are given to subpatterns with the same number. However, you
       can give the same name to subpatterns with the same number,  even  when
       PCRE_DUPNAMES is not set.


REPETITION

       Repetition  is  specified  by  quantifiers, which can follow any of the
       following items:

         a literal data character
         the dot metacharacter
         the \C escape sequence
         the \X escape sequence
         the \R escape sequence
         an escape such as \d or \pL that matches a single character
         a character class
         a back reference (see next section)
         a parenthesized subpattern (including assertions)
         a subroutine call to a subpattern (recursive or otherwise)

       The general repetition quantifier specifies a minimum and maximum  num-
       ber  of  permitted matches, by giving the two numbers in curly brackets
       (braces), separated by a comma. The numbers must be  less  than  65536,
       and the first must be less than or equal to the second. For example:

         z{2,4}

       matches  "zz",  "zzz",  or  "zzzz". A closing brace on its own is not a
       special character. If the second number is omitted, but  the  comma  is
       present,  there  is  no upper limit; if the second number and the comma
       are both omitted, the quantifier specifies an exact number of  required
       matches. Thus

         [aeiou]{3,}

       matches at least 3 successive vowels, but may match many more, while

         \d{8}

       matches  exactly  8  digits. An opening curly bracket that appears in a
       position where a quantifier is not allowed, or one that does not  match
       the  syntax of a quantifier, is taken as a literal character. For exam-
       ple, {,6} is not a quantifier, but a literal string of four characters.

       In UTF modes, quantifiers apply to characters rather than to individual
       data  units. Thus, for example, \x{100}{2} matches two characters, each
       of which is represented by a two-byte sequence in a UTF-8 string. Simi-
       larly,  \X{3} matches three Unicode extended grapheme clusters, each of
       which may be several data units long (and  they  may  be  of  different
       lengths).

       The quantifier {0} is permitted, causing the expression to behave as if
       the previous item and the quantifier were not present. This may be use-
       ful  for  subpatterns that are referenced as subroutines from elsewhere
       in the pattern (but see also the section entitled "Defining subpatterns
       for  use  by  reference only" below). Items other than subpatterns that
       have a {0} quantifier are omitted from the compiled pattern.

       For convenience, the three most common quantifiers have  single-charac-
       ter abbreviations:

         *    is equivalent to {0,}
         +    is equivalent to {1,}
         ?    is equivalent to {0,1}

       It  is  possible  to construct infinite loops by following a subpattern
       that can match no characters with a quantifier that has no upper limit,
       for example:

         (a?)*

       Earlier versions of Perl and PCRE used to give an error at compile time
       for such patterns. However, because there are cases where this  can  be
       useful,  such  patterns  are now accepted, but if any repetition of the
       subpattern does in fact match no characters, the loop is forcibly  bro-
       ken.

       By  default,  the quantifiers are "greedy", that is, they match as much
       as possible (up to the maximum  number  of  permitted  times),  without
       causing  the  rest of the pattern to fail. The classic example of where
       this gives problems is in trying to match comments in C programs. These
       appear  between  /*  and  */ and within the comment, individual * and /
       characters may appear. An attempt to match C comments by  applying  the
       pattern

         /\*.*\*/

       to the string

         /* first comment */  not comment  /* second comment */

       fails,  because it matches the entire string owing to the greediness of
       the .*  item.

       However, if a quantifier is followed by a question mark, it  ceases  to
       be greedy, and instead matches the minimum number of times possible, so
       the pattern

         /\*.*?\*/

       does the right thing with the C comments. The meaning  of  the  various
       quantifiers  is  not  otherwise  changed,  just the preferred number of
       matches.  Do not confuse this use of question mark with its  use  as  a
       quantifier  in its own right. Because it has two uses, it can sometimes
       appear doubled, as in

         \d??\d

       which matches one digit by preference, but can match two if that is the
       only way the rest of the pattern matches.

       If  the PCRE_UNGREEDY option is set (an option that is not available in
       Perl), the quantifiers are not greedy by default, but  individual  ones
       can  be  made  greedy  by following them with a question mark. In other
       words, it inverts the default behaviour.

       When a parenthesized subpattern is quantified  with  a  minimum  repeat
       count  that is greater than 1 or with a limited maximum, more memory is
       required for the compiled pattern, in proportion to  the  size  of  the
       minimum or maximum.

       If a pattern starts with .* or .{0,} and the PCRE_DOTALL option (equiv-
       alent to Perl's /s) is set, thus allowing the dot  to  match  newlines,
       the  pattern  is  implicitly anchored, because whatever follows will be
       tried against every character position in the subject string, so  there
       is  no  point  in  retrying the overall match at any position after the
       first. PCRE normally treats such a pattern as though it  were  preceded
       by \A.

       In  cases  where  it  is known that the subject string contains no new-
       lines, it is worth setting PCRE_DOTALL in order to  obtain  this  opti-
       mization, or alternatively using ^ to indicate anchoring explicitly.

       However,  there  are  some cases where the optimization cannot be used.
       When .*  is inside capturing parentheses that are the subject of a back
       reference elsewhere in the pattern, a match at the start may fail where
       a later one succeeds. Consider, for example:

         (.*)abc\1

       If the subject is "xyz123abc123" the match point is the fourth  charac-
       ter. For this reason, such a pattern is not implicitly anchored.

       Another  case where implicit anchoring is not applied is when the lead-
       ing .* is inside an atomic group. Once again, a match at the start  may
       fail where a later one succeeds. Consider this pattern:

         (?>.*?a)b

       It  matches "ab" in the subject "aab". The use of the backtracking con-
       trol verbs (*PRUNE) and (*SKIP) also disable this optimization.

       When a capturing subpattern is repeated, the value captured is the sub-
       string that matched the final iteration. For example, after

         (tweedle[dume]{3}\s*)+

       has matched "tweedledum tweedledee" the value of the captured substring
       is "tweedledee". However, if there are  nested  capturing  subpatterns,
       the  corresponding captured values may have been set in previous itera-
       tions. For example, after

         /(a|(b))+/

       matches "aba" the value of the second captured substring is "b".


ATOMIC GROUPING AND POSSESSIVE QUANTIFIERS

       With both maximizing ("greedy") and minimizing ("ungreedy"  or  "lazy")
       repetition,  failure  of what follows normally causes the repeated item
       to be re-evaluated to see if a different number of repeats  allows  the
       rest  of  the pattern to match. Sometimes it is useful to prevent this,
       either to change the nature of the match, or to cause it  fail  earlier
       than  it otherwise might, when the author of the pattern knows there is
       no point in carrying on.

       Consider, for example, the pattern \d+foo when applied to  the  subject
       line

         123456bar

       After matching all 6 digits and then failing to match "foo", the normal
       action of the matcher is to try again with only 5 digits  matching  the
       \d+  item,  and  then  with  4,  and  so on, before ultimately failing.
       "Atomic grouping" (a term taken from Jeffrey  Friedl's  book)  provides
       the  means for specifying that once a subpattern has matched, it is not
       to be re-evaluated in this way.

       If we use atomic grouping for the previous example, the  matcher  gives
       up  immediately  on failing to match "foo" the first time. The notation
       is a kind of special parenthesis, starting with (?> as in this example:

         (?>\d+)foo

       This kind of parenthesis "locks up" the  part of the  pattern  it  con-
       tains  once  it  has matched, and a failure further into the pattern is
       prevented from backtracking into it. Backtracking past it  to  previous
       items, however, works as normal.

       An  alternative  description  is that a subpattern of this type matches
       the string of characters that an  identical  standalone  pattern  would
       match, if anchored at the current point in the subject string.

       Atomic grouping subpatterns are not capturing subpatterns. Simple cases
       such as the above example can be thought of as a maximizing repeat that
       must  swallow  everything  it can. So, while both \d+ and \d+? are pre-
       pared to adjust the number of digits they match in order  to  make  the
       rest of the pattern match, (?>\d+) can only match an entire sequence of
       digits.

       Atomic groups in general can of course contain arbitrarily  complicated
       subpatterns,  and  can  be  nested. However, when the subpattern for an
       atomic group is just a single repeated item, as in the example above, a
       simpler  notation,  called  a "possessive quantifier" can be used. This
       consists of an additional + character  following  a  quantifier.  Using
       this notation, the previous example can be rewritten as

         \d++foo

       Note that a possessive quantifier can be used with an entire group, for
       example:

         (abc|xyz){2,3}+

       Possessive  quantifiers  are  always  greedy;  the   setting   of   the
       PCRE_UNGREEDY option is ignored. They are a convenient notation for the
       simpler forms of atomic group. However, there is no difference  in  the
       meaning  of  a  possessive  quantifier and the equivalent atomic group,
       though there may be a performance  difference;  possessive  quantifiers
       should be slightly faster.

       The  possessive  quantifier syntax is an extension to the Perl 5.8 syn-
       tax.  Jeffrey Friedl originated the idea (and the name)  in  the  first
       edition of his book. Mike McCloskey liked it, so implemented it when he
       built Sun's Java package, and PCRE copied it from there. It  ultimately
       found its way into Perl at release 5.10.

       PCRE has an optimization that automatically "possessifies" certain sim-
       ple pattern constructs. For example, the sequence  A+B  is  treated  as
       A++B  because  there is no point in backtracking into a sequence of A's
       when B must follow.

       When a pattern contains an unlimited repeat inside  a  subpattern  that
       can  itself  be  repeated  an  unlimited number of times, the use of an
       atomic group is the only way to avoid some  failing  matches  taking  a
       very long time indeed. The pattern

         (\D+|<\d+>)*[!?]

       matches  an  unlimited number of substrings that either consist of non-
       digits, or digits enclosed in <>, followed by either ! or  ?.  When  it
       matches, it runs quickly. However, if it is applied to

         aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

       it  takes  a  long  time  before reporting failure. This is because the
       string can be divided between the internal \D+ repeat and the  external
       *  repeat  in  a  large  number of ways, and all have to be tried. (The
       example uses [!?] rather than a single character at  the  end,  because
       both  PCRE  and  Perl have an optimization that allows for fast failure
       when a single character is used. They remember the last single  charac-
       ter  that  is required for a match, and fail early if it is not present
       in the string.) If the pattern is changed so that  it  uses  an  atomic
       group, like this:

         ((?>\D+)|<\d+>)*[!?]

       sequences of non-digits cannot be broken, and failure happens quickly.


BACK REFERENCES

       Outside a character class, a backslash followed by a digit greater than
       0 (and possibly further digits) is a back reference to a capturing sub-
       pattern  earlier  (that is, to its left) in the pattern, provided there
       have been that many previous capturing left parentheses.

       However, if the decimal number following the backslash is less than 10,
       it  is  always  taken  as a back reference, and causes an error only if
       there are not that many capturing left parentheses in the  entire  pat-
       tern.  In  other words, the parentheses that are referenced need not be
       to the left of the reference for numbers less than 10. A "forward  back
       reference"  of  this  type can make sense when a repetition is involved
       and the subpattern to the right has participated in an  earlier  itera-
       tion.

       It  is  not  possible to have a numerical "forward back reference" to a
       subpattern whose number is 10 or  more  using  this  syntax  because  a
       sequence  such  as  \50 is interpreted as a character defined in octal.
       See the subsection entitled "Non-printing characters" above for further
       details  of  the  handling of digits following a backslash. There is no
       such problem when named parentheses are used. A back reference  to  any
       subpattern is possible using named parentheses (see below).

       Another  way  of  avoiding  the ambiguity inherent in the use of digits
       following a backslash is to use the \g  escape  sequence.  This  escape
       must be followed by an unsigned number or a negative number, optionally
       enclosed in braces. These examples are all identical:

         (ring), \1
         (ring), \g1
         (ring), \g{1}

       An unsigned number specifies an absolute reference without the  ambigu-
       ity that is present in the older syntax. It is also useful when literal
       digits follow the reference. A negative number is a relative reference.
       Consider this example:

         (abc(def)ghi)\g{-1}

       The sequence \g{-1} is a reference to the most recently started captur-
       ing subpattern before \g, that is, is it equivalent to \2 in this exam-
       ple.   Similarly, \g{-2} would be equivalent to \1. The use of relative
       references can be helpful in long patterns, and also in  patterns  that
       are  created  by  joining  together  fragments  that contain references
       within themselves.

       A back reference matches whatever actually matched the  capturing  sub-
       pattern  in  the  current subject string, rather than anything matching
       the subpattern itself (see "Subpatterns as subroutines" below for a way
       of doing that). So the pattern

         (sens|respons)e and \1ibility

       matches  "sense and sensibility" and "response and responsibility", but
       not "sense and responsibility". If caseful matching is in force at  the
       time  of the back reference, the case of letters is relevant. For exam-
       ple,

         ((?i)rah)\s+\1

       matches "rah rah" and "RAH RAH", but not "RAH  rah",  even  though  the
       original capturing subpattern is matched caselessly.

       There  are  several  different ways of writing back references to named
       subpatterns. The .NET syntax \k{name} and the Perl syntax  \k  or
       \k'name'  are supported, as is the Python syntax (?P=name). Perl 5.10's
       unified back reference syntax, in which \g can be used for both numeric
       and  named  references,  is  also supported. We could rewrite the above
       example in any of the following ways:

         (?(?i)rah)\s+\k
         (?'p1'(?i)rah)\s+\k{p1}
         (?P(?i)rah)\s+(?P=p1)
         (?(?i)rah)\s+\g{p1}

       A subpattern that is referenced by  name  may  appear  in  the  pattern
       before or after the reference.

       There  may be more than one back reference to the same subpattern. If a
       subpattern has not actually been used in a particular match,  any  back
       references to it always fail by default. For example, the pattern

         (a|(bc))\2

       always  fails  if  it starts to match "a" rather than "bc". However, if
       the PCRE_JAVASCRIPT_COMPAT option is set at compile time, a back refer-
       ence to an unset value matches an empty string.

       Because  there may be many capturing parentheses in a pattern, all dig-
       its following a backslash are taken as part of a potential back  refer-
       ence  number.   If  the  pattern continues with a digit character, some
       delimiter must  be  used  to  terminate  the  back  reference.  If  the
       PCRE_EXTENDED  option  is  set, this can be white space. Otherwise, the
       \g{ syntax or an empty comment (see "Comments" below) can be used.

   Recursive back references

       A back reference that occurs inside the parentheses to which it  refers
       fails  when  the subpattern is first used, so, for example, (a\1) never
       matches.  However, such references can be useful inside  repeated  sub-
       patterns. For example, the pattern

         (a|b\1)+

       matches any number of "a"s and also "aba", "ababbaa" etc. At each iter-
       ation of the subpattern,  the  back  reference  matches  the  character
       string  corresponding  to  the previous iteration. In order for this to
       work, the pattern must be such that the first iteration does  not  need
       to  match the back reference. This can be done using alternation, as in
       the example above, or by a quantifier with a minimum of zero.

       Back references of this type cause the group that they reference to  be
       treated  as  an atomic group.  Once the whole group has been matched, a
       subsequent matching failure cannot cause backtracking into  the  middle
       of the group.


ASSERTIONS

       An  assertion  is  a  test on the characters following or preceding the
       current matching point that does not actually consume  any  characters.
       The  simple  assertions  coded  as  \b, \B, \A, \G, \Z, \z, ^ and $ are
       described above.

       More complicated assertions are coded as  subpatterns.  There  are  two
       kinds:  those  that  look  ahead of the current position in the subject
       string, and those that look  behind  it.  An  assertion  subpattern  is
       matched  in  the  normal way, except that it does not cause the current
       matching position to be changed.

       Assertion subpatterns are not capturing subpatterns. If such an  asser-
       tion  contains  capturing  subpatterns within it, these are counted for
       the purposes of numbering the capturing subpatterns in the  whole  pat-
       tern.  However,  substring  capturing  is carried out only for positive
       assertions. (Perl sometimes, but not always, does do capturing in nega-
       tive assertions.)

       For  compatibility  with  Perl,  assertion subpatterns may be repeated;
       though it makes no sense to assert the same thing  several  times,  the
       side  effect  of  capturing  parentheses may occasionally be useful. In
       practice, there only three cases:

       (1) If the quantifier is {0}, the  assertion  is  never  obeyed  during
       matching.   However,  it  may  contain internal capturing parenthesized
       groups that are called from elsewhere via the subroutine mechanism.

       (2) If quantifier is {0,n} where n is greater than zero, it is  treated
       as  if  it  were  {0,1}.  At run time, the rest of the pattern match is
       tried with and without the assertion, the order depending on the greed-
       iness of the quantifier.

       (3)  If  the minimum repetition is greater than zero, the quantifier is
       ignored.  The assertion is obeyed just  once  when  encountered  during
       matching.

   Lookahead assertions

       Lookahead assertions start with (?= for positive assertions and (?! for
       negative assertions. For example,

         \w+(?=;)

       matches a word followed by a semicolon, but does not include the  semi-
       colon in the match, and

         foo(?!bar)

       matches  any  occurrence  of  "foo" that is not followed by "bar". Note
       that the apparently similar pattern

         (?!foo)bar

       does not find an occurrence of "bar"  that  is  preceded  by  something
       other  than "foo"; it finds any occurrence of "bar" whatsoever, because
       the assertion (?!foo) is always true when the next three characters are
       "bar". A lookbehind assertion is needed to achieve the other effect.

       If you want to force a matching failure at some point in a pattern, the
       most convenient way to do it is  with  (?!)  because  an  empty  string
       always  matches, so an assertion that requires there not to be an empty
       string must always fail.  The backtracking control verb (*FAIL) or (*F)
       is a synonym for (?!).

   Lookbehind assertions

       Lookbehind  assertions start with (?<= for positive assertions and (?)...) or (?('name')...)  to  test  for  a
       used  subpattern  by  name.  For compatibility with earlier versions of
       PCRE, which had this facility before Perl, the syntax  (?(name)...)  is
       also  recognized. However, there is a possible ambiguity with this syn-
       tax, because subpattern names may  consist  entirely  of  digits.  PCRE
       looks  first for a named subpattern; if it cannot find one and the name
       consists entirely of digits, PCRE looks for a subpattern of  that  num-
       ber,  which must be greater than zero. Using subpattern names that con-
       sist entirely of digits is not recommended.

       Rewriting the above example to use a named subpattern gives this:

         (? \( )?    [^()]+    (?() \) )

       If the name used in a condition of this kind is a duplicate,  the  test
       is  applied to all subpatterns of the same name, and is true if any one
       of them has matched.

   Checking for pattern recursion

       If the condition is the string (R), and there is no subpattern with the
       name  R, the condition is true if a recursive call to the whole pattern
       or any subpattern has been made. If digits or a name preceded by amper-
       sand follow the letter R, for example:

         (?(R3)...) or (?(R&name)...)

       the condition is true if the most recent recursion is into a subpattern
       whose number or name is given. This condition does not check the entire
       recursion  stack.  If  the  name  used in a condition of this kind is a
       duplicate, the test is applied to all subpatterns of the same name, and
       is true if any one of them is the most recent recursion.

       At  "top  level",  all  these recursion test conditions are false.  The
       syntax for recursive patterns is described below.

   Defining subpatterns for use by reference only

       If the condition is the string (DEFINE), and  there  is  no  subpattern
       with  the  name  DEFINE,  the  condition is always false. In this case,
       there may be only one alternative  in  the  subpattern.  It  is  always
       skipped  if  control  reaches  this  point  in the pattern; the idea of
       DEFINE is that it can be used to define subroutines that can be  refer-
       enced  from elsewhere. (The use of subroutines is described below.) For
       example, a pattern to match an IPv4 address  such  as  "192.168.23.245"
       could be written like this (ignore white space and line breaks):

         (?(DEFINE) (? 2[0-4]\d | 25[0-5] | 1\d\d | [1-9]?\d) )
         \b (?&byte) (\.(?&byte)){3} \b

       The  first part of the pattern is a DEFINE group inside which a another
       group named "byte" is defined. This matches an individual component  of
       an  IPv4  address  (a number less than 256). When matching takes place,
       this part of the pattern is skipped because DEFINE acts  like  a  false
       condition.  The  rest of the pattern uses references to the named group
       to match the four dot-separated components of an IPv4 address,  insist-
       ing on a word boundary at each end.

   Assertion conditions

       If  the  condition  is  not  in any of the above formats, it must be an
       assertion.  This may be a positive or negative lookahead or  lookbehind
       assertion.  Consider  this  pattern,  again  containing non-significant
       white space, and with the two alternatives on the second line:

         (?(?=[^a-z]*[a-z])
         \d{2}-[a-z]{3}-\d{2}  |  \d{2}-\d{2}-\d{2} )

       The condition  is  a  positive  lookahead  assertion  that  matches  an
       optional  sequence of non-letters followed by a letter. In other words,
       it tests for the presence of at least one letter in the subject.  If  a
       letter  is found, the subject is matched against the first alternative;
       otherwise it is  matched  against  the  second.  This  pattern  matches
       strings  in  one  of the two forms dd-aaa-dd or dd-dd-dd, where aaa are
       letters and dd are digits.


COMMENTS

       There are two ways of including comments in patterns that are processed
       by PCRE. In both cases, the start of the comment must not be in a char-
       acter class, nor in the middle of any other sequence of related charac-
       ters  such  as  (?: or a subpattern name or number. The characters that
       make up a comment play no part in the pattern matching.

       The sequence (?# marks the start of a comment that continues up to  the
       next  closing parenthesis. Nested parentheses are not permitted. If the
       PCRE_EXTENDED option is set, an unescaped # character also introduces a
       comment,  which  in  this  case continues to immediately after the next
       newline character or character sequence in the pattern.  Which  charac-
       ters are interpreted as newlines is controlled by the options passed to
       a compiling function or by a special sequence at the start of the  pat-
       tern, as described in the section entitled "Newline conventions" above.
       Note that the end of this type of comment is a literal newline sequence
       in  the pattern; escape sequences that happen to represent a newline do
       not count. For example, consider this  pattern  when  PCRE_EXTENDED  is
       set, and the default newline convention is in force:

         abc #comment \n still comment

       On  encountering  the  # character, pcre_compile() skips along, looking
       for a newline in the pattern. The sequence \n is still literal at  this
       stage,  so  it does not terminate the comment. Only an actual character
       with the code value 0x0a (the default newline) does so.


RECURSIVE PATTERNS

       Consider the problem of matching a string in parentheses, allowing  for
       unlimited  nested  parentheses.  Without the use of recursion, the best
       that can be done is to use a pattern that  matches  up  to  some  fixed
       depth  of  nesting.  It  is not possible to handle an arbitrary nesting
       depth.

       For some time, Perl has provided a facility that allows regular expres-
       sions  to recurse (amongst other things). It does this by interpolating
       Perl code in the expression at run time, and the code can refer to  the
       expression itself. A Perl pattern using code interpolation to solve the
       parentheses problem can be created like this:

         $re = qr{\( (?: (?>[^()]+) | (?p{$re}) )* \)}x;

       The (?p{...}) item interpolates Perl code at run time, and in this case
       refers recursively to the pattern in which it appears.

       Obviously, PCRE cannot support the interpolation of Perl code. Instead,
       it supports special syntax for recursion of  the  entire  pattern,  and
       also  for  individual  subpattern  recursion. After its introduction in
       PCRE and Python, this kind of  recursion  was  subsequently  introduced
       into Perl at release 5.10.

       A  special  item  that consists of (? followed by a number greater than
       zero and a closing parenthesis is a recursive subroutine  call  of  the
       subpattern  of  the  given  number, provided that it occurs inside that
       subpattern. (If not, it is a non-recursive subroutine  call,  which  is
       described  in  the  next  section.)  The special item (?R) or (?0) is a
       recursive call of the entire regular expression.

       This PCRE pattern solves the nested  parentheses  problem  (assume  the
       PCRE_EXTENDED option is set so that white space is ignored):

         \( ( [^()]++ | (?R) )* \)

       First  it matches an opening parenthesis. Then it matches any number of
       substrings which can either be a  sequence  of  non-parentheses,  or  a
       recursive  match  of the pattern itself (that is, a correctly parenthe-
       sized substring).  Finally there is a closing parenthesis. Note the use
       of a possessive quantifier to avoid backtracking into sequences of non-
       parentheses.

       If this were part of a larger pattern, you would not  want  to  recurse
       the entire pattern, so instead you could use this:

         ( \( ( [^()]++ | (?1) )* \) )

       We  have  put the pattern into parentheses, and caused the recursion to
       refer to them instead of the whole pattern.

       In a larger pattern,  keeping  track  of  parenthesis  numbers  can  be
       tricky.  This is made easier by the use of relative references. Instead
       of (?1) in the pattern above you can write (?-2) to refer to the second
       most  recently  opened  parentheses  preceding  the recursion. In other
       words, a negative number counts capturing  parentheses  leftwards  from
       the point at which it is encountered.

       It  is  also  possible  to refer to subsequently opened parentheses, by
       writing references such as (?+2). However, these  cannot  be  recursive
       because  the  reference  is  not inside the parentheses that are refer-
       enced. They are always non-recursive subroutine calls, as described  in
       the next section.

       An  alternative  approach is to use named parentheses instead. The Perl
       syntax for this is (?&name); PCRE's earlier syntax  (?P>name)  is  also
       supported. We could rewrite the above example as follows:

         (? \( ( [^()]++ | (?&pn) )* \) )

       If  there  is more than one subpattern with the same name, the earliest
       one is used.

       This particular example pattern that we have been looking  at  contains
       nested unlimited repeats, and so the use of a possessive quantifier for
       matching strings of non-parentheses is important when applying the pat-
       tern  to  strings  that do not match. For example, when this pattern is
       applied to

         (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa()

       it yields "no match" quickly. However, if a  possessive  quantifier  is
       not  used, the match runs for a very long time indeed because there are
       so many different ways the + and * repeats can carve  up  the  subject,
       and all have to be tested before failure can be reported.

       At  the  end  of a match, the values of capturing parentheses are those
       from the outermost level. If you want to obtain intermediate values,  a
       callout  function can be used (see below and the pcrecallout documenta-
       tion). If the pattern above is matched against

         (ab(cd)ef)

       the value for the inner capturing parentheses  (numbered  2)  is  "ef",
       which  is the last value taken on at the top level. If a capturing sub-
       pattern is not matched at the top level, its final  captured  value  is
       unset,  even  if  it was (temporarily) set at a deeper level during the
       matching process.

       If there are more than 15 capturing parentheses in a pattern, PCRE  has
       to  obtain extra memory to store data during a recursion, which it does
       by using pcre_malloc, freeing it via pcre_free afterwards. If no memory
       can be obtained, the match fails with the PCRE_ERROR_NOMEMORY error.

       Do  not  confuse  the (?R) item with the condition (R), which tests for
       recursion.  Consider this pattern, which matches text in  angle  brack-
       ets,  allowing for arbitrary nesting. Only digits are allowed in nested
       brackets (that is, when recursing), whereas any characters are  permit-
       ted at the outer level.

         < (?: (?(R) \d++  | [^<>]*+) | (?R)) * >

       In  this  pattern, (?(R) is the start of a conditional subpattern, with
       two different alternatives for the recursive and  non-recursive  cases.
       The (?R) item is the actual recursive call.

   Differences in recursion processing between PCRE and Perl

       Recursion  processing  in PCRE differs from Perl in two important ways.
       In PCRE (like Python, but unlike Perl), a recursive subpattern call  is
       always treated as an atomic group. That is, once it has matched some of
       the subject string, it is never re-entered, even if it contains untried
       alternatives  and  there  is a subsequent matching failure. This can be
       illustrated by the following pattern, which purports to match a  palin-
       dromic  string  that contains an odd number of characters (for example,
       "a", "aba", "abcba", "abcdcba"):

         ^(.|(.)(?1)\2)$

       The idea is that it either matches a single character, or two identical
       characters  surrounding  a sub-palindrome. In Perl, this pattern works;
       in PCRE it does not if the pattern is  longer  than  three  characters.
       Consider the subject string "abcba":

       At  the  top level, the first character is matched, but as it is not at
       the end of the string, the first alternative fails; the second alterna-
       tive is taken and the recursion kicks in. The recursive call to subpat-
       tern 1 successfully matches the next character ("b").  (Note  that  the
       beginning and end of line tests are not part of the recursion).

       Back  at  the top level, the next character ("c") is compared with what
       subpattern 2 matched, which was "a". This fails. Because the  recursion
       is  treated  as  an atomic group, there are now no backtracking points,
       and so the entire match fails. (Perl is able, at  this  point,  to  re-
       enter  the  recursion  and try the second alternative.) However, if the
       pattern is written with the alternatives in the other order, things are
       different:

         ^((.)(?1)\2|.)$

       This  time,  the recursing alternative is tried first, and continues to
       recurse until it runs out of characters, at which point  the  recursion
       fails.  But  this  time  we  do  have another alternative to try at the
       higher level. That is the big difference:  in  the  previous  case  the
       remaining alternative is at a deeper recursion level, which PCRE cannot
       use.

       To change the pattern so that it matches all palindromic  strings,  not
       just  those  with an odd number of characters, it is tempting to change
       the pattern to this:

         ^((.)(?1)\2|.?)$

       Again, this works in Perl, but not in PCRE, and for  the  same  reason.
       When  a  deeper  recursion has matched a single character, it cannot be
       entered again in order to match an empty string.  The  solution  is  to
       separate  the two cases, and write out the odd and even cases as alter-
       natives at the higher level:

         ^(?:((.)(?1)\2|)|((.)(?3)\4|.))

       If you want to match typical palindromic phrases, the  pattern  has  to
       ignore all non-word characters, which can be done like this:

         ^\W*+(?:((.)\W*+(?1)\W*+\2|)|((.)\W*+(?3)\W*+\4|\W*+.\W*+))\W*+$

       If run with the PCRE_CASELESS option, this pattern matches phrases such
       as "A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!" and it works well in both PCRE and
       Perl.  Note the use of the possessive quantifier *+ to avoid backtrack-
       ing into sequences of non-word characters. Without this, PCRE  takes  a
       great  deal  longer  (ten  times or more) to match typical phrases, and
       Perl takes so long that you think it has gone into a loop.

       WARNING: The palindrome-matching patterns above work only if  the  sub-
       ject  string  does not start with a palindrome that is shorter than the
       entire string.  For example, although "abcba" is correctly matched,  if
       the  subject  is "ababa", PCRE finds the palindrome "aba" at the start,
       then fails at top level because the end of the string does not  follow.
       Once  again, it cannot jump back into the recursion to try other alter-
       natives, so the entire match fails.

       The second way in which PCRE and Perl differ in  their  recursion  pro-
       cessing  is in the handling of captured values. In Perl, when a subpat-
       tern is called recursively or as a subpattern (see the  next  section),
       it  has  no  access to any values that were captured outside the recur-
       sion, whereas in PCRE these values can  be  referenced.  Consider  this
       pattern:

         ^(.)(\1|a(?2))

       In  PCRE,  this  pattern matches "bab". The first capturing parentheses
       match "b", then in the second group, when the back reference  \1  fails
       to  match "b", the second alternative matches "a" and then recurses. In
       the recursion, \1 does now match "b" and so the whole  match  succeeds.
       In  Perl,  the pattern fails to match because inside the recursive call
       \1 cannot access the externally set value.


SUBPATTERNS AS SUBROUTINES

       If the syntax for a recursive subpattern call (either by number  or  by
       name)  is  used outside the parentheses to which it refers, it operates
       like a subroutine in a programming language. The called subpattern  may
       be  defined  before or after the reference. A numbered reference can be
       absolute or relative, as in these examples:

         (...(absolute)...)...(?2)...
         (...(relative)...)...(?-1)...
         (...(?+1)...(relative)...

       An earlier example pointed out that the pattern

         (sens|respons)e and \1ibility

       matches "sense and sensibility" and "response and responsibility",  but
       not "sense and responsibility". If instead the pattern

         (sens|respons)e and (?1)ibility

       is  used, it does match "sense and responsibility" as well as the other
       two strings. Another example is  given  in  the  discussion  of  DEFINE
       above.

       All  subroutine  calls, whether recursive or not, are always treated as
       atomic groups. That is, once a subroutine has matched some of the  sub-
       ject string, it is never re-entered, even if it contains untried alter-
       natives and there is  a  subsequent  matching  failure.  Any  capturing
       parentheses  that  are  set  during the subroutine call revert to their
       previous values afterwards.

       Processing options such as case-independence are fixed when  a  subpat-
       tern  is defined, so if it is used as a subroutine, such options cannot
       be changed for different calls. For example, consider this pattern:

         (abc)(?i:(?-1))

       It matches "abcabc". It does not match "abcABC" because the  change  of
       processing option does not affect the called subpattern.


ONIGURUMA SUBROUTINE SYNTAX

       For  compatibility with Oniguruma, the non-Perl syntax \g followed by a
       name or a number enclosed either in angle brackets or single quotes, is
       an  alternative  syntax  for  referencing a subpattern as a subroutine,
       possibly recursively. Here are two of the examples used above,  rewrit-
       ten using this syntax:

         (? \( ( (?>[^()]+) | \g )* \) )
         (sens|respons)e and \g'1'ibility

       PCRE  supports  an extension to Oniguruma: if a number is preceded by a
       plus or a minus sign it is taken as a relative reference. For example:

         (abc)(?i:\g<-1>)

       Note that \g{...} (Perl syntax) and \g<...> (Oniguruma syntax) are  not
       synonymous.  The former is a back reference; the latter is a subroutine
       call.


CALLOUTS

       Perl has a feature whereby using the sequence (?{...}) causes arbitrary
       Perl  code to be obeyed in the middle of matching a regular expression.
       This makes it possible, amongst other things, to extract different sub-
       strings that match the same pair of parentheses when there is a repeti-
       tion.

       PCRE provides a similar feature, but of course it cannot obey arbitrary
       Perl code. The feature is called "callout". The caller of PCRE provides
       an external function by putting its entry point in the global  variable
       pcre_callout  (8-bit  library) or pcre[16|32]_callout (16-bit or 32-bit
       library).  By default, this variable contains NULL, which disables  all
       calling out.

       Within  a  regular  expression,  (?C) indicates the points at which the
       external function is to be called. If you want  to  identify  different
       callout  points, you can put a number less than 256 after the letter C.
       The default value is zero.  For example, this pattern has  two  callout
       points:

         (?C1)abc(?C2)def

       If  the PCRE_AUTO_CALLOUT flag is passed to a compiling function, call-
       outs are automatically installed before each item in the pattern.  They
       are  all  numbered  255. If there is a conditional group in the pattern
       whose condition is an assertion, an additional callout is inserted just
       before the condition. An explicit callout may also be set at this posi-
       tion, as in this example:

         (?(?C9)(?=a)abc|def)

       Note that this applies only to assertion conditions, not to other types
       of condition.

       During  matching, when PCRE reaches a callout point, the external func-
       tion is called. It is provided with the  number  of  the  callout,  the
       position  in  the pattern, and, optionally, one item of data originally
       supplied by the caller of the matching function. The  callout  function
       may  cause  matching to proceed, to backtrack, or to fail altogether. A
       complete description of the interface to the callout function is  given
       in the pcrecallout documentation.


BACKTRACKING CONTROL

       Perl  5.10 introduced a number of "Special Backtracking Control Verbs",
       which are still described in the Perl  documentation  as  "experimental
       and  subject to change or removal in a future version of Perl". It goes
       on to say: "Their usage in production code should  be  noted  to  avoid
       problems  during upgrades." The same remarks apply to the PCRE features
       described in this section.

       The new verbs make use of what was previously invalid syntax: an  open-
       ing parenthesis followed by an asterisk. They are generally of the form
       (*VERB) or (*VERB:NAME). Some may take either form,  possibly  behaving
       differently  depending  on  whether or not a name is present. A name is
       any sequence of characters that does not include a closing parenthesis.
       The maximum length of name is 255 in the 8-bit library and 65535 in the
       16-bit and 32-bit libraries. If the name is  empty,  that  is,  if  the
       closing  parenthesis immediately follows the colon, the effect is as if
       the colon were not there.  Any number of these verbs  may  occur  in  a
       pattern.

       Since  these  verbs  are  specifically related to backtracking, most of
       them can be used only when the pattern is to be matched  using  one  of
       the  traditional  matching  functions, because these use a backtracking
       algorithm. With the exception of (*FAIL), which behaves like a  failing
       negative  assertion,  the  backtracking control verbs cause an error if
       encountered by a DFA matching function.

       The behaviour of these verbs in repeated  groups,  assertions,  and  in
       subpatterns called as subroutines (whether or not recursively) is docu-
       mented below.

   Optimizations that affect backtracking verbs

       PCRE contains some optimizations that are used to speed up matching  by
       running some checks at the start of each match attempt. For example, it
       may know the minimum length of matching subject, or that  a  particular
       character must be present. When one of these optimizations bypasses the
       running of a match,  any  included  backtracking  verbs  will  not,  of
       course, be processed. You can suppress the start-of-match optimizations
       by setting the PCRE_NO_START_OPTIMIZE  option  when  calling  pcre_com-
       pile() or pcre_exec(), or by starting the pattern with (*NO_START_OPT).
       There is more discussion of this option in the section entitled "Option
       bits for pcre_exec()" in the pcreapi documentation.

       Experiments  with  Perl  suggest that it too has similar optimizations,
       sometimes leading to anomalous results.

   Verbs that act immediately

       The following verbs act as soon as they are encountered. They  may  not
       be followed by a name.

          (*ACCEPT)

       This  verb causes the match to end successfully, skipping the remainder
       of the pattern. However, when it is inside a subpattern that is  called
       as  a  subroutine, only that subpattern is ended successfully. Matching
       then continues at the outer level. If (*ACCEPT) in triggered in a posi-
       tive  assertion,  the  assertion succeeds; in a negative assertion, the
       assertion fails.

       If (*ACCEPT) is inside capturing parentheses, the data so far  is  cap-
       tured. For example:

         A((?:A|B(*ACCEPT)|C)D)

       This  matches  "AB", "AAD", or "ACD"; when it matches "AB", "B" is cap-
       tured by the outer parentheses.

         (*FAIL) or (*F)

       This verb causes a matching failure, forcing backtracking to occur.  It
       is  equivalent to (?!) but easier to read. The Perl documentation notes
       that it is probably useful only when combined  with  (?{})  or  (??{}).
       Those  are,  of course, Perl features that are not present in PCRE. The
       nearest equivalent is the callout feature, as for example in this  pat-
       tern:

         a+(?C)(*FAIL)

       A  match  with the string "aaaa" always fails, but the callout is taken
       before each backtrack happens (in this example, 10 times).

   Recording which path was taken

       There is one verb whose main purpose  is  to  track  how  a  match  was
       arrived  at,  though  it  also  has a secondary use in conjunction with
       advancing the match starting point (see (*SKIP) below).

         (*MARK:NAME) or (*:NAME)

       A name is always  required  with  this  verb.  There  may  be  as  many
       instances  of  (*MARK) as you like in a pattern, and their names do not
       have to be unique.

       When a match succeeds, the name of the  last-encountered  (*MARK:NAME),
       (*PRUNE:NAME),  or  (*THEN:NAME) on the matching path is passed back to
       the caller as  described  in  the  section  entitled  "Extra  data  for
       pcre_exec()"  in  the  pcreapi  documentation.  Here  is  an example of
       pcretest output, where the /K modifier requests the retrieval and  out-
       putting of (*MARK) data:

           re> /X(*MARK:A)Y|X(*MARK:B)Z/K
         data> XY
          0: XY
         MK: A
         XZ
          0: XZ
         MK: B

       The (*MARK) name is tagged with "MK:" in this output, and in this exam-
       ple it indicates which of the two alternatives matched. This is a  more
       efficient  way of obtaining this information than putting each alterna-
       tive in its own capturing parentheses.

       If a verb with a name is encountered in a positive  assertion  that  is
       true,  the  name  is recorded and passed back if it is the last-encoun-
       tered. This does not happen for negative assertions or failing positive
       assertions.

       After  a  partial match or a failed match, the last encountered name in
       the entire match process is returned. For example:

           re> /X(*MARK:A)Y|X(*MARK:B)Z/K
         data> XP
         No match, mark = B

       Note that in this unanchored example the  mark  is  retained  from  the
       match attempt that started at the letter "X" in the subject. Subsequent
       match attempts starting at "P" and then with an empty string do not get
       as far as the (*MARK) item, but nevertheless do not reset it.

       If  you  are  interested  in  (*MARK)  values after failed matches, you
       should probably set the PCRE_NO_START_OPTIMIZE option  (see  above)  to
       ensure that the match is always attempted.

   Verbs that act after backtracking

       The following verbs do nothing when they are encountered. Matching con-
       tinues with what follows, but if there is no subsequent match,  causing
       a  backtrack  to  the  verb, a failure is forced. That is, backtracking
       cannot pass to the left of the verb. However, when one of  these  verbs
       appears inside an atomic group or an assertion that is true, its effect
       is confined to that group, because once the  group  has  been  matched,
       there  is never any backtracking into it. In this situation, backtrack-
       ing can "jump back" to the left of the entire atomic  group  or  asser-
       tion.  (Remember  also,  as  stated  above, that this localization also
       applies in subroutine calls.)

       These verbs differ in exactly what kind of failure  occurs  when  back-
       tracking  reaches  them.  The behaviour described below is what happens
       when the verb is not in a subroutine or an assertion.  Subsequent  sec-
       tions cover these special cases.

         (*COMMIT)

       This  verb, which may not be followed by a name, causes the whole match
       to fail outright if there is a later matching failure that causes back-
       tracking  to  reach  it.  Even if the pattern is unanchored, no further
       attempts to find a match by advancing the starting point take place. If
       (*COMMIT)  is  the  only backtracking verb that is encountered, once it
       has been passed pcre_exec() is committed to finding a match at the cur-
       rent starting point, or not at all. For example:

         a+(*COMMIT)b

       This  matches  "xxaab" but not "aacaab". It can be thought of as a kind
       of dynamic anchor, or "I've started, so I must finish." The name of the
       most  recently passed (*MARK) in the path is passed back when (*COMMIT)
       forces a match failure.

       If there is more than one backtracking verb in a pattern,  a  different
       one  that  follows  (*COMMIT) may be triggered first, so merely passing
       (*COMMIT) during a match does not always guarantee that a match must be
       at this starting point.

       Note  that  (*COMMIT)  at  the start of a pattern is not the same as an
       anchor, unless PCRE's start-of-match optimizations are turned  off,  as
       shown in this pcretest example:

           re> /(*COMMIT)abc/
         data> xyzabc
          0: abc
         xyzabc\Y
         No match

       PCRE  knows  that  any  match  must start with "a", so the optimization
       skips along the subject to "a" before running the first match  attempt,
       which  succeeds.  When the optimization is disabled by the \Y escape in
       the second subject, the match starts at "x" and so the (*COMMIT) causes
       it to fail without trying any other starting points.

         (*PRUNE) or (*PRUNE:NAME)

       This  verb causes the match to fail at the current starting position in
       the subject if there is a later matching failure that causes backtrack-
       ing  to  reach it. If the pattern is unanchored, the normal "bumpalong"
       advance to the next starting character then happens.  Backtracking  can
       occur  as  usual to the left of (*PRUNE), before it is reached, or when
       matching to the right of (*PRUNE), but if there  is  no  match  to  the
       right,  backtracking cannot cross (*PRUNE). In simple cases, the use of
       (*PRUNE) is just an alternative to an atomic group or possessive  quan-
       tifier, but there are some uses of (*PRUNE) that cannot be expressed in
       any other way. In an anchored pattern (*PRUNE) has the same  effect  as
       (*COMMIT).

       The   behaviour   of   (*PRUNE:NAME)   is   the   not   the   same   as
       (*MARK:NAME)(*PRUNE).  It is like (*MARK:NAME)  in  that  the  name  is
       remembered  for  passing  back  to  the  caller.  However, (*SKIP:NAME)
       searches only for names set with (*MARK).

         (*SKIP)

       This verb, when given without a name, is like (*PRUNE), except that  if
       the  pattern  is unanchored, the "bumpalong" advance is not to the next
       character, but to the position in the subject where (*SKIP) was encoun-
       tered.  (*SKIP)  signifies that whatever text was matched leading up to
       it cannot be part of a successful match. Consider:

         a+(*SKIP)b

       If the subject is "aaaac...",  after  the  first  match  attempt  fails
       (starting  at  the  first  character in the string), the starting point
       skips on to start the next attempt at "c". Note that a possessive quan-
       tifer  does not have the same effect as this example; although it would
       suppress backtracking  during  the  first  match  attempt,  the  second
       attempt  would  start at the second character instead of skipping on to
       "c".

         (*SKIP:NAME)

       When (*SKIP) has an associated name, its behaviour is modified. When it
       is triggered, the previous path through the pattern is searched for the
       most recent (*MARK) that has the  same  name.  If  one  is  found,  the
       "bumpalong" advance is to the subject position that corresponds to that
       (*MARK) instead of to where (*SKIP) was encountered. If no (*MARK) with
       a matching name is found, the (*SKIP) is ignored.

       Note  that (*SKIP:NAME) searches only for names set by (*MARK:NAME). It
       ignores names that are set by (*PRUNE:NAME) or (*THEN:NAME).

         (*THEN) or (*THEN:NAME)

       This verb causes a skip to the next innermost  alternative  when  back-
       tracking  reaches  it.  That  is,  it  cancels any further backtracking
       within the current alternative. Its name  comes  from  the  observation
       that it can be used for a pattern-based if-then-else block:

         ( COND1 (*THEN) FOO | COND2 (*THEN) BAR | COND3 (*THEN) BAZ ) ...

       If  the COND1 pattern matches, FOO is tried (and possibly further items
       after the end of the group if FOO succeeds); on  failure,  the  matcher
       skips  to  the second alternative and tries COND2, without backtracking
       into COND1. If that succeeds and BAR fails, COND3 is tried.  If  subse-
       quently  BAZ fails, there are no more alternatives, so there is a back-
       track to whatever came before the  entire  group.  If  (*THEN)  is  not
       inside an alternation, it acts like (*PRUNE).

       The    behaviour   of   (*THEN:NAME)   is   the   not   the   same   as
       (*MARK:NAME)(*THEN).  It is like  (*MARK:NAME)  in  that  the  name  is
       remembered  for  passing  back  to  the  caller.  However, (*SKIP:NAME)
       searches only for names set with (*MARK).

       A subpattern that does not contain a | character is just a part of  the
       enclosing  alternative;  it  is  not a nested alternation with only one
       alternative. The effect of (*THEN) extends beyond such a subpattern  to
       the  enclosing alternative. Consider this pattern, where A, B, etc. are
       complex pattern fragments that do not contain any | characters at  this
       level:

         A (B(*THEN)C) | D

       If  A and B are matched, but there is a failure in C, matching does not
       backtrack into A; instead it moves to the next alternative, that is, D.
       However,  if the subpattern containing (*THEN) is given an alternative,
       it behaves differently:

         A (B(*THEN)C | (*FAIL)) | D

       The effect of (*THEN) is now confined to the inner subpattern. After  a
       failure in C, matching moves to (*FAIL), which causes the whole subpat-
       tern to fail because there are no more alternatives  to  try.  In  this
       case, matching does now backtrack into A.

       Note  that  a  conditional  subpattern  is not considered as having two
       alternatives, because only one is ever used.  In  other  words,  the  |
       character in a conditional subpattern has a different meaning. Ignoring
       white space, consider:

         ^.*? (?(?=a) a | b(*THEN)c )

       If the subject is "ba", this pattern does not  match.  Because  .*?  is
       ungreedy,  it  initially  matches  zero characters. The condition (?=a)
       then fails, the character "b" is matched,  but  "c"  is  not.  At  this
       point,  matching does not backtrack to .*? as might perhaps be expected
       from the presence of the | character.  The  conditional  subpattern  is
       part of the single alternative that comprises the whole pattern, and so
       the match fails. (If there was a backtrack into  .*?,  allowing  it  to
       match "b", the match would succeed.)

       The  verbs just described provide four different "strengths" of control
       when subsequent matching fails. (*THEN) is the weakest, carrying on the
       match  at  the next alternative. (*PRUNE) comes next, failing the match
       at the current starting position, but allowing an advance to  the  next
       character  (for an unanchored pattern). (*SKIP) is similar, except that
       the advance may be more than one character. (*COMMIT) is the strongest,
       causing the entire match to fail.

   More than one backtracking verb

       If  more  than  one  backtracking verb is present in a pattern, the one
       that is backtracked onto first acts. For example,  consider  this  pat-
       tern, where A, B, etc. are complex pattern fragments:

         (A(*COMMIT)B(*THEN)C|ABD)

       If  A matches but B fails, the backtrack to (*COMMIT) causes the entire
       match to fail. However, if A and B match, but C fails, the backtrack to
       (*THEN)  causes  the next alternative (ABD) to be tried. This behaviour
       is consistent, but is not always the same as Perl's. It means  that  if
       two  or  more backtracking verbs appear in succession, all the the last
       of them has no effect. Consider this example:

         ...(*COMMIT)(*PRUNE)...

       If there is a matching failure to the right, backtracking onto (*PRUNE)
       cases it to be triggered, and its action is taken. There can never be a
       backtrack onto (*COMMIT).

   Backtracking verbs in repeated groups

       PCRE differs from  Perl  in  its  handling  of  backtracking  verbs  in
       repeated groups. For example, consider:

         /(a(*COMMIT)b)+ac/

       If  the  subject  is  "abac",  Perl matches, but PCRE fails because the
       (*COMMIT) in the second repeat of the group acts.

   Backtracking verbs in assertions

       (*FAIL) in an assertion has its normal effect: it forces  an  immediate
       backtrack.

       (*ACCEPT) in a positive assertion causes the assertion to succeed with-
       out any further processing. In a negative assertion,  (*ACCEPT)  causes
       the assertion to fail without any further processing.

       The  other  backtracking verbs are not treated specially if they appear
       in a positive assertion. In  particular,  (*THEN)  skips  to  the  next
       alternative  in  the  innermost  enclosing group that has alternations,
       whether or not this is within the assertion.

       Negative assertions are, however, different, in order  to  ensure  that
       changing  a  positive  assertion  into a negative assertion changes its
       result. Backtracking into (*COMMIT), (*SKIP), or (*PRUNE) causes a neg-
       ative assertion to be true, without considering any further alternative
       branches in the assertion.  Backtracking into (*THEN) causes it to skip
       to  the next enclosing alternative within the assertion (the normal be-
       haviour), but if the assertion  does  not  have  such  an  alternative,
       (*THEN) behaves like (*PRUNE).

   Backtracking verbs in subroutines

       These  behaviours  occur whether or not the subpattern is called recur-
       sively.  Perl's treatment of subroutines is different in some cases.

       (*FAIL) in a subpattern called as a subroutine has its  normal  effect:
       it forces an immediate backtrack.

       (*ACCEPT)  in a subpattern called as a subroutine causes the subroutine
       match to succeed without any further processing. Matching then  contin-
       ues after the subroutine call.

       (*COMMIT), (*SKIP), and (*PRUNE) in a subpattern called as a subroutine
       cause the subroutine match to fail.

       (*THEN) skips to the next alternative in the innermost enclosing  group
       within  the subpattern that has alternatives. If there is no such group
       within the subpattern, (*THEN) causes the subroutine match to fail.

EXAMPLES

a = 5 + b * c / 7 % 8 %% 9;
if a == b && a =~ "^(?P\d\d\d\d)-(?P\d\d)-(?P\d\d)$" then
        "a is equal to b and year = "; getre("year");
else
        "a is not equal to b";
endif

res={{
        a = 0x12;
        b = 0x01;
        a | b;
        " " ; a & 0x02;
        " " ; 0b10110 ^ 0b01001 ;
        " " ; 0x16 & 0x02;
        " " ; a = 0xfc; ~a & 0xff;
}}
return

res=19 2 31 2 3.

res={{ a = 5; b = 6; a <=> b;}}. return res=-1.

res={{ a=read("/tests/testread","/includes/extenso.sn"); a =~:xi"
        # Match the keywork Multiline
        Multiline";}}. return res=true.

SEE ALSO

AUTHOR

Written by Pierre Laplante, <laplante@sednove.com>

MODIFICATIONS

1.0 2014-09-09 21:24:14 laplante@sednove.com

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