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Wildcard string compare (globbing)

, 15 Feb 2005
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Matches a string against a wildcard string such as "*.*" or "bl?h.*" etc. This is good for file globbing or to match hostmasks.


This is a fast, lightweight, and simple pattern matching function.

if (wildcmp("bl?h.*", "blah.jpg")) {
  //we have a match!
} else {
  //no match =(


int wildcmp(const char *wild, const char *string) {
  // Written by Jack Handy - <A href=""></A>
  const char *cp = NULL, *mp = NULL;

  while ((*string) && (*wild != '*')) {
    if ((*wild != *string) && (*wild != '?')) {
      return 0;

  while (*string) {
    if (*wild == '*') {
      if (!*++wild) {
        return 1;
      mp = wild;
      cp = string+1;
    } else if ((*wild == *string) || (*wild == '?')) {
    } else {
      wild = mp;
      string = cp++;

  while (*wild == '*') {
  return !*wild;


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About the Author

Jack Handy
Web Developer
United States United States
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralGreat Code Pin
mediamaster404-Jul-01 21:18
membermediamaster404-Jul-01 21:18 
This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for! I have been searching the web for a simple wildcard matcher, and all I have found is regex after regex of source code. I even started reading a regex tutorial. Why waste time learning regex and bloating my program with 20k of regex code I'll never use when 20 lines of pure bliss can be inserted? Thanks!!!!!
GeneralRe: Great Code Pin
Anonymous5-Jul-01 11:24
memberAnonymous5-Jul-01 11:24 
GeneralRe: Great Code Pin
siukurnin4-Jul-02 3:15
membersiukurnin4-Jul-02 3:15 
GeneralRe: Great Code Pin
The C++ Guru8-Sep-02 8:22
sussThe C++ Guru8-Sep-02 8:22 
GeneralRe: Great Code Pin
Anonymous4-Dec-03 19:53
sussAnonymous4-Dec-03 19:53 

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