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PCRE regex syntax

From: Daniel Richard G.
Subject: PCRE regex syntax
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 21:05:43 -0400


I've been making good use of m4 1.9 lately, building up my little TeX-like 
HTML-generating language. As a workaround to the as-yet-unavailable 
multi-character argument separators, I'm preprocessing the source with 
s/}{/\037/g and using that control character as my separator. (Looking 
forward to when this will no longer be necessary!)

patsubst() has been very useful, but the available regex syntaxes aren't 
much compared to what Perl can do. The lack of look-ahead/behind assertions 
has already become an issue for me---a rather frustrating one, especially 
as PCRE has made Perl syntax a given in so many regex situations outside of 
Perl proper.

What are the prospects for m4 2.0 having PCRE-provided Perl regex support 
in the standard configuration? Would the preference be to have an m4 module 
that provides the new syntax (once the necessary hooks are in place), or 
for the base m4 binary to gain the libpcre dependency?

(I suspect that the manner in which the third-party dependency is handled 
is of greater concern than the actual implementation/integration.)


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