Example of using: regcomp, regexec


Could anyone give me some examples about how to use regcom, and regexec? Thanks in advance.
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I'll append a sample program that lets you enter a regular expression, then checks for matches of the expression in other strings you enter.  When you enter a blank line, you can enter a new regular expression.

This program was compiled on a Sun Ultra running Solaris-2.5.1.  Other systems' versions of regcomp are slightly different, as are the regular expressions they handle.  Still, this should get you started.  If you're using a really odd system, let me know what it is and I'll see if I can figure out how the regcomp works on it.

Here's what the program looks like in action:

dhm@eagleone(18)$ ./regexp
Enter a regular expression (empty line to exit): abc(def|xyz)
Expression contains 1 sub-expressions
Enter a string to compare (empty line to exit): 123abcdef456
Match  0 from  3 to  9: "abcdef"
Match  1 from  6 to  9: "def"
Enter a string to compare (empty line to exit): 123abcxyz456
Match  0 from  3 to  9: "abcxyz"
Match  1 from  6 to  9: "xyz"
Enter a string to compare (empty line to exit): abcxy
No match: failed to match
Enter a string to compare (empty line to exit):
Enter a regular expression (empty line to exit):

And here's the program itself:

 * Regular expression sample program
 * by dave madden <dhm@webvision.com>
 * copyright (c) 1996 by dave madden and webvision inc.  all rights
 * reserved.  unauthorized use, distribution, sale, or modification
 * prohibited.
#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <malloc.h>
#include <regex.h>

main( int argc, char **argv )
      int                   result;
      regex_t             rx;
      regmatch_t      *matches;
      char             buf[1024];

      for ( ; ; ) {
            fputs( "Enter a regular expression (empty line to exit): ", stderr );
            if (!gets( buf ) || !buf[0]) break;

            result = regcomp( &rx, buf, REG_EXTENDED );
            if (result != 0) {
                  regerror( result, &rx, buf, sizeof(buf) );
                  fprintf( stderr, "Invalid regular expression: %s\n", buf );
                  regfree( &rx );

            fprintf( stderr, "Expression contains %d sub-expressions\n", rx.re_nsub );

            matches = (regmatch_t *)malloc( (rx.re_nsub + 1) * sizeof(regmatch_t) );
            if (!matches) {
                  fputs( "Out of memory!\n", stderr );

            for ( ; ; ) {
                  fputs( "Enter a string to compare (empty line to exit): ", stderr );
                  if (!gets( buf ) || !buf[0]) break;

                  result = regexec( &rx, buf, rx.re_nsub + 1, matches, 0 );

                  if (!result) {
                        int       i;
                        for (i = 0; i <= rx.re_nsub; i++) {
                              if (matches[i].rm_so != -1) {
                                    fprintf( stderr, "Match %2d from %2d to %2d: \"%.*s\"\n",
                                                 i, matches[i].rm_so, matches[i].rm_eo,
                                                 matches[i].rm_eo - matches[i].rm_so,
                                                 buf + matches[i].rm_so );
                  } else {
                        regerror( result, &rx, buf, sizeof(buf) );
                        fprintf( stderr, "No match: %s\n", buf );

            free( matches );
            regfree( &rx );

      fputs( "Goodbye\n", stderr );
      exit( 0 );


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yxw1Author Commented:
Some comment in programme will be more appreciated.
yxw1Author Commented:
The program runs fine. However, I found that:

1) if regular expression is like a{0,9}, I want to match 0 to 9 "a"s, The system seems can't match it in expression 123aa, only works on aa123.

2) The loop is limited to 255, i.e, expression: a{0,256} will be invalid. Why?

3) I am using Sparc 2 station, so could you please tell me where I can get GNU version of regular expression libs.

Thanks. Please e-mail me at ywang@maingate.net
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