Regular Expression

The regular expression is a common method of searching, matching and separation of strings. This library provides the function by RegularExpression class. The implementation is based on Oniguruma.


The regular expression syntax is almost compatible with Perl and you can refer to many documentations about Perl regular expression.
Anyway, we'll provide the standard syntax reference here.

1. Syntax elements
\ escape (enable or disable meta character meaning)
| alternation
(...) group
[...] character class
2. Characters
\t horizontal tab (0x09)
\v vertical tab (0x0B)
\n newline (0x0A)
\r return (0x0D)
\b back space (0x08)
\f form feed (0x0C)
\a bell (0x07)
\e escape (0x1B)
\nnn octal char (encoded byte value)
\xHH hexadecimal char (encoded byte value)
\x{7HHHHHHH} wide hexadecimal char (character code point value)
\cx control char (character code point value)
\C-x control char (character code point value)
\M-x meta (x|0x80) (character code point value)
\M-\C-x meta control char (character code point value)
(* \b is effective in character class [...] only)
3. Character types
. any character (except newline)
\w word character
General_Category -- (Letter|Mark|Number|Connector_Punctuation)
\W non word char
\s whitespace char
0009, 000A, 000B, 000C, 000D, 0085(NEL),
General_Category -- Line_Separator
-- Paragraph_Separator
-- Space_Separator
\S non whitespace char
\d decimal digit char
General_Category -- Decimal_Number
\D non decimal digit char
\h hexadecimal digit char [0-9a-fA-F]
\H non hexadecimal digit char
4. Quantifier
? 1 or 0 times
* 0 or more times
+ 1 or more times
{n,m} at least n but not more than m times
{n,} at least n times
{,n} at least 0 but not more than n times ({0,n})
{n} n times
?? 1 or 0 times
*? 0 or more times
+? 1 or more times
{n,m}? at least n but not more than m times
{n,}? at least n times
{,n}? at least 0 but not more than n times (== {0,n}?)
possessive (greedy and does not backtrack after repeated)
?+ 1 or 0 times
*+ 0 or more times
++ 1 or more times
Note: {n,m}+, {n,}+, {n}+ are reluctant op.
ex. /a*+/ === /(?>a*)/
5. Anchors
^ beginning of the line
$ end of the line
\b word boundary
\B not word boundary
\A beginning of string
\Z end of string, or before newline at the end
\z end of string
\G matching start position (*)
* Ruby Regexp:
previous end-of-match position
(This specification is not related to this library.)
6. Character class
^... negative class (lowest precedence operator)
x-y range from x to y
[...] set (character class in character class)
..&&.. intersection (low precedence at the next of ^)
ex. [a-w&&[^c-g]z] ==> ([a-w] AND ([^c-g] OR z)) ==> [abh-w]
* If you want to use '[', '-', ']' as a normal character
in a character class, you should escape these characters by '\'.
POSIX bracket ([:xxxxx:], negate [:^xxxxx:])
alnum Letter | Mark | Decimal_Number
alpha Letter | Mark
ascii 0000 - 007F
blank Space_Separator | 0009
cntrl Control | Format | Unassigned | Private_Use | Surrogate
digit Decimal_Number
graph [[:^space:]] && ^Control && ^Unassigned && ^Surrogate
lower Lowercase_Letter
print [[:graph:]] | [[:space:]]
punct Connector_Punctuation | Dash_Punctuation | Close_Punctuation |
Final_Punctuation | Initial_Punctuation | Other_Punctuation |
space Space_Separator | Line_Separator | Paragraph_Separator |
0009 | 000A | 000B | 000C | 000D | 0085
upper Uppercase_Letter
xdigit 0030 - 0039 | 0041 - 0046 | 0061 - 0066
(0-9, a-f, A-F)
7. Extended groups
(?#...) comment
(?imx-imx) option on/off
i: ignore case
m: multi-line (dot(.) match newline)
x: extended form
(?imx-imx:subexp) option on/off for subexp
(?:subexp) not captured group
(subexp) captured group
(?=subexp) look-ahead
(?!subexp) negative look-ahead
(?<=subexp) look-behind
(?<!subexp) negative look-behind
Subexp of look-behind must be fixed character length.
But different character length is allowed in top level
alternatives only.
ex. (?<=a|bc) is OK. (?<=aaa(?:b|cd)) is not allowed.
In negative-look-behind, captured group isn't allowed,
but shy group(?:) is allowed.
(?>subexp) atomic group
don't backtrack in subexp.
(?<name>subexp) define named group
(All characters of the name must be a word character.
And first character must not be a digit or uppper case)
Not only a name but a number is assigned like a captured
Assigning the same name as two or more subexps is allowed.
In this case, a subexp call can not be performed although
the back reference is possible.
8. Back reference
\n back reference by group number (n >= 1)
\k<name> back reference by group name
In the back reference by the multiplex definition name,
a subexp with a large number is referred to preferentially.
(When not matched, a group of the small number is referred to.)
* Back reference by group number is forbidden if named group is defined
in the pattern.

Resources on the Internet

There're so much documents about Regular Expression and we recommends the following sites for your purpose:

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This document is made with doxygen 1.8.5 at Sun Dec 15 2013 19:38:06.
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