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Wildcard string compare (globbing)

By , 15 Feb 2005
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Usage:

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

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

Function:

int wildcmp(const char *wild, const char *string) {
  // Written by Jack Handy - <A href="mailto:jakkhandy@hotmail.com">jakkhandy@hotmail.com</A>
  const char *cp = NULL, *mp = NULL;

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

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

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

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

Jack Handy
Web Developer
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionMy vote of 5+ PinmemberSanmayce29-Nov-13 7:47 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberFranc Morales29-May-13 15:47 
Questionhelp required for wilcard matching * and # PinmemberSaimaAsif23-Feb-12 23:56 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberPlamen Petrov13-Dec-11 21:37 
SuggestionModification with '#' as wildcard joker for digits [modified] PinmemberThomas Haase25-Sep-11 23:16 
QuestionLicence Question Pinmemberrandommark23-Nov-10 0:33 
AnswerAnother C# version, with a twist Pinmembertomlev29-Jun-10 14:50 
GeneralObscurity PinmemberChuck O'Toole25-Apr-10 18:18 
AnswerMy C# contribution - recursive, of course! PinmemberRenniePet26-Mar-10 5:21 
This strikes me as an obvious place to use recursion. So here goes...
 
   public class MString
   {
      /// <summary>
      /// Function to compare two strings, where strA may contain wildcard characters '*' and 
      /// '?'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildcard_character
      /// </summary>
      /// <param name="strA">string which may contain wildcards, may be empty, must not be null</param>
      /// <param name="strB">string to compare to, no wildcard processing, may be empty, must not be null</param>
      /// <param name="ignoreCase">true = ignore upper/lower case, false = don't ignore case</param>
      /// <returns>true = match, false = non-match</returns>
      public static bool CompareWWc(string strA, string strB, bool ignoreCase)
      {
         if (ignoreCase)
            return CompareWWc(strA.ToLower(), strB.ToLower());
         else 
            return CompareWWc(strA, strB);
      }
 

      /// <summary>
      /// Recursive function to compare two strings, where strA may contain wildcard characters 
      /// '*' and '?'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildcard_character
      /// </summary>
      /// <param name="strA">string which may contain wildcards, may be empty, must not be null</param>
      /// <param name="strB">string to compare to, no wildcard processing, may be empty, must not be null</param>
      /// <returns>true = match, false = non-match</returns>
      public static bool CompareWWc(string strA, string strB)
      {
         // Top of loop to scan across strA (and strB)
         for (int i = 0; i < strA.Length; i++)
         {
            // Special processing when we hit a '*' in strA
            if (strA[i] == '*')
            {
               // If the '*' is at the end of strA then result = true irrespective of strB
               if (i == strA.Length - 1)
                  return true;  
 
               // Do recursive calls to try to find a match somewhere to the right in strB
               strA = strA.Substring(i + 1);  // The part of strA beyond the '*'
               for (int j = i; j < strB.Length; j++)
                  if (CompareWWc(strA, strB.Substring(j)))
                     return true;
               return false;
            }
 
            // Normal processing for non-'*' characters in strA
            if (i >= strB.Length || (strA[i] != strB[i] && strA[i] != '?'))
               return false;
         }
 
         // We've reached the end of strA and the last character is not '*'
         return strA.Length == strB.Length;
      }
 
   }
 
And here's a little test sequence:
 
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("", ""))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 

         if (!MString.CompareWWc("something", "something"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 
         if (MString.CompareWWc("something", "zomething"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (MString.CompareWWc("something", "some"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (MString.CompareWWc("something", "something else"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 

         if (!MString.CompareWWc("s?m?th???", "something"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (MString.CompareWWc("s?m?th???", "somethin"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 

         if (!MString.CompareWWc("*", ""))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("*", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("non*", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 

         if (!MString.CompareWWc("*nonsense", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("non*nse", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (MString.CompareWWc("non*nse", "nonsenze"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
         
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("non*n?e", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 

         if (!MString.CompareWWc("n*on*nse", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("n*n*nse", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 
         if (MString.CompareWWc("*non*nse", "nonsenze"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
 
         if (!MString.CompareWWc("n*n*n?e", "nonsense"))
            Console.WriteLine("Something wrong!");
      }
 
By the way, the name CompareWWc means Compare With Wildcards.
GeneralRe: My C# contribution - recursive, of course! PinmemberErwin de GRoot29-Mar-10 1:58 
GeneralDepends on whether you need to optimize the last few nanoseconds out of it... PinmemberRenniePet29-Mar-10 7:45 
GeneralSorry - revised numbers PinmemberRenniePet29-Mar-10 8:35 
GeneralRe: Depends on whether you need to optimize the last few nanoseconds out of it... PinmemberErwin de GRoot29-Mar-10 8:37 
GeneralYet another version - 25% faster, I think [modified] PinmemberRenniePet1-Apr-10 8:24 
GeneralRe: Yet another version - 25% faster, I think Pinmemberaleks1k21-Sep-11 2:47 
QuestionI used this function but I how I can catch variables from the * ??? Pinmembermoh.hijjawi20-Oct-09 1:55 
AnswerRe: I used this function but I how I can catch variables from the * ??? PinmemberRenniePet1-Apr-10 11:27 
Questionany updates ? Pinmemberalhambra-eidos2-Jul-09 5:12 
GeneralImproved matching with end-of-text PinmemberAnders Heie11-May-09 15:20 
GeneralRe: Improved matching with end-of-text: some cases don't work properly! Pinmemberroadrunner31412-Aug-09 3:35 
GeneralRe: Improved matching with end-of-text: some cases don't work properly! Pinmembersdiazdiaz20-Jun-13 1:50 
QuestionPathMatchSpec instead? Pinmemberkintz25-Mar-09 8:55 
AnswerRe: PathMatchSpec instead? PinmemberMandatoryDefault31-Aug-09 10:39 
Questionwchar_t version? Pinmemberrmorales8729-Nov-08 20:16 
AnswerRe: wchar_t version? Pinmemberrazvar31-Mar-11 21:49 
Generalwildcmp in XBLite PinmemberCodeGibbon27-Nov-08 13:56 
GeneralWildcard string compare in C# Pinmemberhaiquang10-Nov-08 22:15 
GeneralRe: Wildcard string compare in C# Pinmemberhaiquang3-Aug-09 22:22 
GeneralC# Direct Port Pinmemberhempels23-Sep-08 15:10 
General...and yet another C# port [modified] PinmemberDVF27-Aug-10 16:59 
GeneralRe: ...and yet another C# port PinmemberVUnreal21-Sep-10 11:22 
General[Message Removed] Pinmemberstonber18-Sep-08 14:22 
GeneralUsing in Artistic Style Pinmemberjimp023-Apr-08 4:43 
GeneralGeez... Pinmemberlarryfr5-Mar-08 9:39 
QuestionConvert to a replace? Pinmemberwilliaps20-Mar-07 8:31 
GeneralC# RexExp version Pinmemberspinsane4-Nov-06 6:30 
GeneralKudos Pinmemberquantumred14-Oct-06 4:37 
GeneralRe: Kudos Pinmembermilkplus24-Feb-10 11:19 
Generalwildcmp(&quot;*&amp;lt;*&amp;gt;&quot;, &quot;&amp;lt;field1&amp;gt;&amp;lt;field2&amp;gt;&quot;) not working [modified] PinmemberDaniel B.6-Sep-06 13:14 
GeneralRe: wildcmp(&quot;*&amp;lt;*&amp;gt;&quot;, &quot;&amp;lt;field1&amp;gt;&amp;lt;field2&amp;gt;&quot;) not working Pinmemberradboudp16-Feb-07 0:35 
Generalreturn value type Pinmemberwdx048-Jan-06 15:49 
General*? case match Pinmembertalimu3-Nov-05 23:42 
GeneralRe: *? case match Pinmemberkuhnm15-Sep-06 2:18 
GeneralRe: *? case match Pinmemberkuhnm18-Sep-06 4:48 
GeneralGets my 5 PinmemberFranc Morales18-Oct-05 17:05 
Generalmp and cp Pinmembertwopieman15-Mar-05 11:59 
GeneralRe: mp and cp Pinmemberradboudp16-Feb-07 1:14 
GeneralOK, but ... PinmemberSam Levy16-Feb-05 4:48 
QuestionWhy make 3 loop ? PinmemberDarkYoda Mickael2-Feb-05 22:22 
AnswerRe: Why make 3 loop ? PinmemberJack Handy13-Feb-05 10:02 

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