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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

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: too complicated PinmemberJim Bob22-Mar-02 15:29 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinmemberSimon Capewell22-May-02 2:48 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinmemberTargys8-Jan-03 1:57 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinsussThe C++ Guru24-Feb-03 10:43 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinmemberJack Handy24-Feb-03 16:52 
GeneralRe: too complicated Pinmemberhector santos1-Mar-03 1:49 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinsussKent C. Dorner2-Mar-03 5:26 
GeneralRe: too complicated Pinmemberhector santos2-Mar-03 10:05 
Personally, I agree. I believe Jack's code is more readible. I tend to look for look for logic that looks for recursion.
Correct, both codes do not check for nulls.
[SIDE NOTE] I've been involved in hundreds of corporate development projects. I lead many of them before eventually leaving to start my own company. IMO, it depends on the "large team" make up. If you include non-trained (no where else to put them) programmers in the loop, sure, its harder for them to read code. But then again, they shouldn't be part of the "tools development" group. They are usually not expected to have input in the matter. However, I would suggest that they would be the first to find the bug by accidently introducing NULLs. Smile | :)
In general, tools are usually designed by trained computer scientist. Applications development uses them. Nonetheless, in the new world of IDEs and Component Engineering, many of these disciplines are merged (good or bad) even to the extend that you don't need an "official education" (whatever that means) in computer coding techniques.

Hector Santos, CTO
Santronics Software, Inc.
GeneralRe: too complicated PinmemberJack Handy2-Jun-03 13:56 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinsussAnonymous2-Jun-03 14:48 
GeneralRe: too complicated PinsussAnonymous4-Dec-03 18:29 
GeneralRe: too complicated Pinmemberolegxxx4-Mar-05 19:24 
GeneralSweet! PinmemberEpicBoy1-Feb-02 16:08 
GeneralRe: Sweet! PinmemberMichael Dunn1-Feb-02 17:10 
GeneralRe: Sweet! PinmemberSteve Mallam13-May-02 0:29 
GeneralI found this very useful. PinmemberTodd Smith4-Jan-02 14:40 
GeneralTest Cases PinmemberPaul McGuire4-Dec-01 12:00 
GeneralRe: Test Cases PinmemberLee Elenbaas9-Sep-08 23:05 
GeneralSuper fast code - super, but... PinmemberRene Rassnitzer23-Aug-01 6:24 
GeneralGreat Code Pinmembermediamaster404-Jul-01 20:18 
GeneralRe: Great Code PinmemberAnonymous5-Jul-01 10:24 
GeneralRe: Great Code Pinmembersiukurnin4-Jul-02 2:15 
GeneralRe: Great Code PinsussThe C++ Guru8-Sep-02 7:22 
GeneralRe: Great Code PinsussAnonymous4-Dec-03 18:53 
Generalwildcmp("fold","??*"); PinmemberVadim Chavarha24-May-01 8:43 

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