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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;


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.

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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

GeneralTest Cases Pin
Paul McGuire4-Dec-01 13:00
memberPaul McGuire4-Dec-01 13:00 
GeneralRe: Test Cases Pin
Lee Elenbaas10-Sep-08 0:05
memberLee Elenbaas10-Sep-08 0:05 
GeneralSuper fast code - super, but... Pin
Rene Rassnitzer23-Aug-01 7:24
memberRene Rassnitzer23-Aug-01 7:24 
GeneralGreat Code Pin
mediamaster404-Jul-01 21:18
membermediamaster404-Jul-01 21:18 
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 
Guru, You're a douche bag.

And all that null program stuff is bullsh*t. Obviously the best program is first the one that works in all cases, then the fastest, and then smallest. Pretty simple criteria, really not necessary to be argue about. And readabillity has nothing to do with it, unless you are considering it from the computers standpoint, which I think is covered in the first criteria, no?

And small unreadable snippets are far better than bloated newb fragments if they run faster. And who said anything about impress more? you can stop taking pot shots at jack handy now, just because hes a better programmer than you doesnt mean you should try to bust his chops. Maybe if you werent such a f***ing pussy you'd "get a hotter chick". Clearly Jack Handy is able to write code that accomplishes a task more efficiently than you can. Yet you still try criticize, and then you come back with this post full of big bold text about irrelevant points... Maybe if your post is partly in bold it will IMPRESS MORE. f***ing douche.
Generalwildcmp("fold","??*"); Pin
Vadim Chavarha24-May-01 9:43
memberVadim Chavarha24-May-01 9:43 
GeneralRe: wildcmp( Pin
Jack Handy29-May-01 11:01
memberJack Handy29-May-01 11:01 
GeneralNot DOS compatible Pin
Miroslav Rajcic2-May-01 4:56
memberMiroslav Rajcic2-May-01 4:56 
GeneralRe: Not DOS compatible Pin
Jack Handy2-May-01 13:03
memberJack Handy2-May-01 13:03 
GeneralRe: Not DOS compatible Pin
Miroslav Rajcic7-May-01 0:04
memberMiroslav Rajcic7-May-01 0:04 
GeneralDOS compatible workaround Pin
Fredrik Wangel5-Jul-01 2:47
memberFredrik Wangel5-Jul-01 2:47 
GeneralRe: Not DOS compatible Pin
W2k27-Dec-02 14:26
memberW2k27-Dec-02 14:26 
QuestionWhy, oh why only? Pin
Anonymous2-May-01 3:17
memberAnonymous2-May-01 3:17 
AnswerRe: Why, oh why only? Pin
Simon Capewell2-May-01 3:39
memberSimon Capewell2-May-01 3:39 
GeneralRe: Why, oh why only? Pin
Anonymous5-Jul-01 11:27
memberAnonymous5-Jul-01 11:27 
AnswerRe: Why, oh why only? Pin
Paul McGuire4-Dec-01 5:18
memberPaul McGuire4-Dec-01 5:18 

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