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preg replace – Are the PHP preg_functions multibyte safe?

Posted by: admin April 23, 2020 Leave a comment

Questions:

There are no multibyte ‘preg’ functions available in PHP, so does that mean the default preg_functions are all mb safe? Couldn’t find any mention in the php documentation.

How to&Answers:

PCRE can support UTF-8 and other Unicode encodings, but it has to be specified at compile time. From the man page for PCRE 8.0:

The current implementation of PCRE corresponds approximately with Perl 5.10, including support for UTF-8 encoded strings and Unicode general category properties. However, UTF-8 and Unicode support has to be explicitly enabled; it is not the default. The Unicode tables correspond to Unicode release 5.1.

PHP currently uses PCRE 7.9; your system might have an older version.

Taking a look at the PCRE lib that comes with PHP 5.2, it appears that it’s configured to support Unicode properties and UTF-8. Same for the 5.3 branch.

Answer:

pcre supports utf8 out of the box, see documentation for the ‘u’ modifier.

Illustration (\xC3\xA4 is the utf8 encoding for the german letter “ä”)

  echo preg_replace('~\w~', '@', "a\xC3\xA4b");

this echoes “@@¤@” because “\xC3” and “\xA4” were treated as distinct symbols

  echo preg_replace('~\w~u', '@', "a\xC3\xA4b");

(note the ‘u’) prints “@@@” because “\xC3\xA4” were treated as a single letter.

Answer:

No, they are not. See the question preg_match and UTF-8 in PHP for example.

Answer:

No, you need to use the multibyte string functions like mb_ereg

Answer:

Some of my more complicated preg functions:

(1a) validate username as alphanumeric + underscore:

preg_match('/^[A-Za-z][A-Za-z0-9]*(?:_[A-Za-z0-9]+)*$/',$username) 

(1b) possible UTF alternative:

preg_match('/^[A-Za-z][A-Za-z0-9]*(?:_[A-Za-z0-9]+)*$/u',$username) 

(2a) validate email:

preg_match("/^([a-z0-9\+_\-]+)(\.[a-z0-9\+_\-]+)*@([a-z0-9\-]+\.)+[a-z]{2,6}$/ix",$email))

(2b) possible UTF alternative:

preg_match("/^([a-z0-9\+_\-]+)(\.[a-z0-9\+_\-]+)*@([a-z0-9\-]+\.)+[a-z]{2,6}$/ixu",$email))

(3a) normalize newlines:

preg_replace("/(\n){2,}/","\n\n",$str);

(3b) possible UTF alternative:

preg_replace("/(\n){2,}/u","\n\n",$str);

Do thse changes look alright?