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           int (*pcre_callout)(pcre_callout_block *);
           PCRE provides a feature called "callout", which is a means of temporar-
           ily passing control to the caller of PCRE  in  the  middle  of  pattern
           matching.  The  caller of PCRE provides an external function by putting
           its entry point in the global variable pcre_callout. By  default,  this
           variable contains NULL, which disables all calling out.
           Within  a  regular  expression,  (?C) indicates the points at which the
           external function is to be called.  Different  callout  points  can  be
           identified  by  putting  a number less than 256 after the letter C. The
           default value is zero.  For  example,  this  pattern  has  two  callout
           If  the  PCRE_AUTO_CALLOUT  option  bit  is  set when pcre_compile() is
           called, PCRE automatically  inserts  callouts,  all  with  number  255,
           before  each  item in the pattern. For example, if PCRE_AUTO_CALLOUT is
           used with the pattern
           it is processed as if it were
           Notice that there is a callout before and after  each  parenthesis  and
           alternation  bar.  Automatic  callouts  can  be  used  for tracking the
           progress of pattern matching. The pcretest command has an  option  that
           sets  automatic callouts; when it is used, the output indicates how the
           pattern is matched. This is useful information when you are  trying  to
           optimize the performance of a particular pattern.


           You  should  be  aware  that,  because of optimizations in the way PCRE
           matches patterns, callouts sometimes do not happen. For example, if the
           pattern is
           PCRE knows that any matching string must contain the letter "d". If the
           subject string is "abyz", the lack of "d" means that  matching  doesn't
           ever  start,  and  the  callout is never reached. However, with "abyd",
           though the result is still no match, the callout is obeyed.


           During matching, when PCRE reaches a callout point, the external  func-
             void        *callout_data;
             int          pattern_position;
             int          next_item_length;
           The version field is an integer containing the version  number  of  the
           block  format. The initial version was 0; the current version is 1. The
           version number will change again in future  if  additional  fields  are
           added, but the intention is never to remove any of the existing fields.
           The callout_number field contains the number of the  callout,  as  com-
           piled  into  the pattern (that is, the number after ?C for manual call-
           outs, and 255 for automatically generated callouts).
           The offset_vector field is a pointer to the vector of offsets that  was
           passed   by   the   caller  to  pcre_exec()  or  pcre_dfa_exec().  When
           pcre_exec() is used, the contents can be inspected in order to  extract
           substrings  that  have  been  matched  so  far,  in the same way as for
           extracting substrings after a match has completed. For  pcre_dfa_exec()
           this field is not useful.
           The subject and subject_length fields contain copies of the values that
           were passed to pcre_exec().
           The start_match field normally contains the offset within  the  subject
           at  which  the  current  match  attempt started. However, if the escape
           sequence \K has been encountered, this value is changed to reflect  the
           modified  starting  point.  If the pattern is not anchored, the callout
           function may be called several times from the same point in the pattern
           for different starting points in the subject.
           The  current_position  field  contains the offset within the subject of
           the current match pointer.
           When the pcre_exec() function is used, the capture_top  field  contains
           one  more than the number of the highest numbered captured substring so
           far. If no substrings have been captured, the value of  capture_top  is
           one.  This  is always the case when pcre_dfa_exec() is used, because it
           does not support captured substrings.
           The capture_last field contains the number of the  most  recently  cap-
           tured  substring. If no substrings have been captured, its value is -1.
           This is always the case when pcre_dfa_exec() is used.
           The callout_data field contains a value that is passed  to  pcre_exec()
           or  pcre_dfa_exec() specifically so that it can be passed back in call-
           outs. It is passed in the pcre_callout field  of  the  pcre_extra  data
           structure.  If  no such data was passed, the value of callout_data in a
           pcre_callout block is NULL. There is a description  of  the  pcre_extra
           structure in the pcreapi documentation.
           The  pattern_position field is present from version 1 of the pcre_call-
           out structure. It contains the offset to the next item to be matched in
           The external callout function returns an integer to PCRE. If the  value
           is  zero,  matching  proceeds  as  normal. If the value is greater than
           zero, matching fails at the current point, but  the  testing  of  other
           matching possibilities goes ahead, just as if a lookahead assertion had
           failed. If the value is less than zero, the  match  is  abandoned,  and
           pcre_exec() (or pcre_dfa_exec()) returns the negative value.
           Negative   values   should   normally   be   chosen  from  the  set  of
           PCRE_ERROR_xxx values. In particular, PCRE_ERROR_NOMATCH forces a stan-
           dard  "no  match"  failure.   The  error  number  PCRE_ERROR_CALLOUT is
           reserved for use by callout functions; it will never be  used  by  PCRE


           Philip Hazel
           University Computing Service
           Cambridge CB2 3QH, England.


           Last updated: 29 May 2007
           Copyright (c) 1997-2007 University of Cambridge.

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