Which languages ​​recognize Perl-compatible regular expressions

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Perl Compatible Regular Expressions

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PCRE is a popular program library for evaluating regular expressions. This is widespread in the field of server-side development and is used in projects such as PHP, Python, Ruby and Apache, among others.

general structure

A regular expression (according to PCRE) is always structured according to a certain scheme:

  • Delimiter, a character that delimits the expression
  • Pattern, also called search pattern
  • Delimiter (same as at the beginning)
  • Modifiers that control the behavior of the parser

So the sequence is:

In the following, the individual parts will be discussed.


The delimiter can be any character. A delimiter is optimally selected if it does not appear in the pattern, as otherwise it would have to be escaped by a. Popular delimiters are, for example, or.

Pattern (= search pattern)

This corresponds to normal regular expression syntax.


There are also some modifiers that can influence the search behavior of the entire pattern. These are given after the final modifier.

Upper and lower case is ignored, so [a-z] would also apply to [A-Z]
The expression is applied to every line, that is, ^ matches the beginning of the line and $ matches the end of the line.
The line break is also seen as "any character" (), ^ and $ stand for the beginning and end of the string (see modifier m)
Usually the parser looks for the largest sections. With the modifier it is set in such a way that it searches for the smallest sections.

Application in languages

Extensions are expressly desired here.


In PHP, expressions that conform to PCRE can be used via the corresponding PCRE functions.

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