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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 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 
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 
YEAh this code is the sh*t. And his code does make more sense if you are able to think outsdie the box rather than whien about no recursion. The fact of the matter is that if his solution is better than you should use it, thats the whole point of a polymorphic language. And if you dont understand pointers enough to pass null pointers into functions, well... maybe you should... rewrite the code so it checks for pointers?
I am but a lowly highschool student, but i've been coding since i was 7. And anyways, if you want to know what kind of program would require intense wildcard comparing, well, I wrote a program that auto-comments a source code file using a wildcard scheme, basically checks each line based on wildcard queries it loads up from a file and if the test is successful it inserts that comment at the end of that line. Pretty mindless commenting, but its just cause i'm sick of commenting my CS homework. So yeah, Jack Handy is the man.
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 
GeneralRe: wildcmp( PinmemberJack Handy29-May-01 10:01 
GeneralNot DOS compatible PinmemberMiroslav Rajcic2-May-01 3:56 
GeneralRe: Not DOS compatible PinmemberJack Handy2-May-01 12:03 

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