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12.4 Regular Expressions in gnatfind and gnatxref

As specified in the section about gnatfind, the pattern can be a regular expression. Actually, there are to set of regular expressions which are recognized by the program:

globbing patterns
These are the most usual regular expression. They are the same that you generally used in a Unix shell command line, or in a DOS session.

Here is a more formal grammar:

          regexp ::= term
          term   ::= elmt            -- matches elmt
          term   ::= elmt elmt       -- concatenation (elmt then elmt)
          term   ::= *               -- any string of 0 or more characters
          term   ::= ?               -- matches any character
          term   ::= [char {char}]   -- matches any character listed
          term   ::= [char - char]   -- matches any character in range

full regular expression
The second set of regular expressions is much more powerful. This is the type of regular expressions recognized by utilities such a grep.

The following is the form of a regular expression, expressed in Ada reference manual style BNF is as follows

          regexp ::= term {| term}   -- alternation (term or term ...)
          term ::= item {item}       -- concatenation (item then item)
          item ::= elmt              -- match elmt
          item ::= elmt *            -- zero or more elmt's
          item ::= elmt +            -- one or more elmt's
          item ::= elmt ?            -- matches elmt or nothing
          elmt ::= nschar            -- matches given character
          elmt ::= [nschar {nschar}]   -- matches any character listed
          elmt ::= [^ nschar {nschar}] -- matches any character not listed
          elmt ::= [char - char]     -- matches chars in given range
          elmt ::= \ char            -- matches given character
          elmt ::= .                 -- matches any single character
          elmt ::= ( regexp )        -- parens used for grouping
          char ::= any character, including special characters
          nschar ::= any character except ()[].*+?^

Following are a few examples:

will match any of the two strings `abcde' and `fghi',
will match any string like `abd', `abcd', `abccd', `abcccd', and so on,
will match any string which has only lowercase characters in it (and at least one character.