/[pcre]/code/trunk/doc/pcrepartial.3
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revision 75 by nigel, Sat Feb 24 21:40:37 2007 UTC revision 77 by nigel, Sat Feb 24 21:40:45 2007 UTC
# Line 5  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressio Line 5  PCRE - Perl-compatible regular expressio
5  .rs  .rs
6  .sp  .sp
7  In normal use of PCRE, if the subject string that is passed to  In normal use of PCRE, if the subject string that is passed to
8  \fBpcre_exec()\fP matches as far as it goes, but is too short to match the  \fBpcre_exec()\fP or \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP matches as far as it goes, but is
9  entire pattern, PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH is returned. There are circumstances where  too short to match the entire pattern, PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH is returned. There
10  it might be helpful to distinguish this case from other cases in which there is  are circumstances where it might be helpful to distinguish this case from other
11  no match.  cases in which there is no match.
12  .P  .P
13  Consider, for example, an application where a human is required to type in data  Consider, for example, an application where a human is required to type in data
14  for a field with specific formatting requirements. An example might be a date  for a field with specific formatting requirements. An example might be a date
# Line 24  user interface than a check that is dela Line 24  user interface than a check that is dela
24  entered.  entered.
25  .P  .P
26  PCRE supports the concept of partial matching by means of the PCRE_PARTIAL  PCRE supports the concept of partial matching by means of the PCRE_PARTIAL
27  option, which can be set when calling \fBpcre_exec()\fP. When this is done, the  option, which can be set when calling \fBpcre_exec()\fP or
28  return code PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH is converted into PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL if at any  \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP. When this flag is set for \fBpcre_exec()\fP, the return
29  time during the matching process the entire subject string matched part of the  code PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH is converted into PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL if at any time
30  pattern. No captured data is set when this occurs.  during the matching process the last part of the subject string matched part of
31    the pattern. Unfortunately, for non-anchored matching, it is not possible to
32    obtain the position of the start of the partial match. No captured data is set
33    when PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL is returned.
34    .P
35    When PCRE_PARTIAL is set for \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP, the return code
36    PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH is converted into PCRE_ERROR_PARTIAL if the end of the
37    subject is reached, there have been no complete matches, but there is still at
38    least one matching possibility. The portion of the string that provided the
39    partial match is set as the first matching string.
40  .P  .P
41  Using PCRE_PARTIAL disables one of PCRE's optimizations. PCRE remembers the  Using PCRE_PARTIAL disables one of PCRE's optimizations. PCRE remembers the
42  last literal byte in a pattern, and abandons matching immediately if such a  last literal byte in a pattern, and abandons matching immediately if such a
# Line 38  for a subject string that might match on Line 47  for a subject string that might match on
47  .SH "RESTRICTED PATTERNS FOR PCRE_PARTIAL"  .SH "RESTRICTED PATTERNS FOR PCRE_PARTIAL"
48  .rs  .rs
49  .sp  .sp
50  Because of the way certain internal optimizations are implemented in PCRE, the  Because of the way certain internal optimizations are implemented in the
51  PCRE_PARTIAL option cannot be used with all patterns. Repeated single  \fBpcre_exec()\fP function, the PCRE_PARTIAL option cannot be used with all
52  characters such as  patterns. These restrictions do not apply when \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP is used.
53    For \fBpcre_exec()\fP, repeated single characters such as
54  .sp  .sp
55    a{2,4}    a{2,4}
56  .sp  .sp
# Line 85  uses the date example quoted above: Line 95  uses the date example quoted above:
95  .sp  .sp
96  The first data string is matched completely, so \fBpcretest\fP shows the  The first data string is matched completely, so \fBpcretest\fP shows the
97  matched substrings. The remaining four strings do not match the complete  matched substrings. The remaining four strings do not match the complete
98  pattern, but the first two are partial matches.  pattern, but the first two are partial matches. The same test, using DFA
99    matching (by means of the \eD escape sequence), produces the following output:
100    .sp
101        re> /^\d?\d(jan|feb|mar|apr|may|jun|jul|aug|sep|oct|nov|dec)\d\d$/
102      data> 25jun04\eP\eD
103       0: 25jun04
104      data> 23dec3\eP\eD
105      Partial match: 23dec3
106      data> 3ju\eP\eD
107      Partial match: 3ju
108      data> 3juj\eP\eD
109      No match
110      data> j\eP\eD
111      No match
112    .sp
113    Notice that in this case the portion of the string that was matched is made
114    available.
115    .
116    .
117    .SH "MULTI-SEGMENT MATCHING WITH pcre_dfa_exec()"
118    .rs
119    .sp
120    When a partial match has been found using \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP, it is possible
121    to continue the match by providing additional subject data and calling
122    \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP again with the PCRE_DFA_RESTART option and the same
123    working space (where details of the previous partial match are stored). Here is
124    an example using \fBpcretest\fP, where the \eR escape sequence sets the
125    PCRE_DFA_RESTART option and the \eD escape sequence requests the use of
126    \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP:
127    .sp
128        re> /^\d?\d(jan|feb|mar|apr|may|jun|jul|aug|sep|oct|nov|dec)\d\d$/
129      data> 23ja\eP\eD
130      Partial match: 23ja
131      data> n05\eR\eD
132       0: n05
133    .sp
134    The first call has "23ja" as the subject, and requests partial matching; the
135    second call has "n05" as the subject for the continued (restarted) match.
136    Notice that when the match is complete, only the last part is shown; PCRE does
137    not retain the previously partially-matched string. It is up to the calling
138    program to do that if it needs to.
139    .P
140    This facility can be used to pass very long subject strings to
141    \fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP. However, some care is needed for certain types of
142    pattern.
143    .P
144    1. If the pattern contains tests for the beginning or end of a line, you need
145    to pass the PCRE_NOTBOL or PCRE_NOTEOL options, as appropriate, when the
146    subject string for any call does not contain the beginning or end of a line.
147    .P
148    2. If the pattern contains backward assertions (including \eb or \eB), you need
149    to arrange for some overlap in the subject strings to allow for this. For
150    example, you could pass the subject in chunks that were 500 bytes long, but in
151    a buffer of 700 bytes, with the starting offset set to 200 and the previous 200
152    bytes at the start of the buffer.
153    .P
154    3. Matching a subject string that is split into multiple segments does not
155    always produce exactly the same result as matching over one single long string.
156    The difference arises when there are multiple matching possibilities, because a
157    partial match result is given only when there are no completed matches in a
158    call to fBpcre_dfa_exec()\fP. This means that as soon as the shortest match has
159    been found, continuation to a new subject segment is no longer possible.
160    Consider this \fBpcretest\fP example:
161    .sp
162        re> /dog(sbody)?/
163      data> do\eP\eD
164      Partial match: do
165      data> gsb\eR\eP\eD
166       0: g
167      data> dogsbody\eD
168       0: dogsbody
169       1: dog
170    .sp
171    The pattern matches the words "dog" or "dogsbody". When the subject is
172    presented in several parts ("do" and "gsb" being the first two) the match stops
173    when "dog" has been found, and it is not possible to continue. On the other
174    hand, if "dogsbody" is presented as a single string, both matches are found.
175    .P
176    Because of this phenomenon, it does not usually make sense to end a pattern
177    that is going to be matched in this way with a variable repeat.
178  .  .
179  .  .
180  .P  .P
181  .in 0  .in 0
182  Last updated: 08 September 2004  Last updated: 28 February 2005
183  .br  .br
184  Copyright (c) 1997-2004 University of Cambridge.  Copyright (c) 1997-2005 University of Cambridge.

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