[LLVMdev] Proposal: Enhance FileCheck's variable matching capabilities

Nadav Rotem nrotem at apple.com
Sun Nov 25 17:03:06 PST 2012

I think that this is a good idea.  


On Nov 16, 2012, at 5:58 AM, Eli Bendersky <eliben at google.com> wrote:

> Hello,
> FileCheck allows us to define match variables and use them on
> subsequent lines. This is quite useful, but could be even more useful
> if it was possible to use the variable later on the same line it
> matched. For example, I would want to write this:
> ; CHECK: bic [[REG:r[0-9]+]], [[REG]], #3
> But I currently can't because [[REG]] will only match a REG variable
> defined on a _previous_ line. As the FileCheck ref manual
> (http://llvm.org/docs/CommandGuide/FileCheck.html) mentions, there are
> known workarounds like having two separate CHECK lines. However, this
> is a hacky and inelegant solution that makes code less readable.
> I hope the rationale for the code above is clear: I want my
> instruction to be acting on the same register, though I don't care
> which (and don't want the test to be affected by reg-alloc changes
> sometime in the future).
> IMHO the proposed feature here is the natural way to match the same
> register on a line, and it can be useful in writing tests. I know it
> would be extremely useful in the tests I'm currently writing (not
> upstream yet, but soon will be).
> If the idea sounds good to people, all that's left is the
> implementation :-) I already have it in my branches and can provide a
> full implementation with tests (FileCheck now has a test/ dir all of
> its own since r168113) if the proposal is accepted.
> The rough outline of the implementation:
> To enable such matching in a natural way, our regex implementation
> needs to support backreferences in matches. This then allows to find
> all references to a variable defined on the same line and substitute
> them by backrefs.
> Luckily, our regex implementation already supports backreferences,
> although a bit of hacking is required to enable it. It supports both
> Basic Regular Expressions (BREs) and Extended Regular Expressions
> (EREs), without supporting backrefs for EREs, following POSIX strictly
> in this respect. And EREs is what we actually use (rightly). This is
> contrary to many implementations (including the default on Linux) of
> POSIX regexes, that do allow backrefs in EREs.
> Adding backref support to our EREs is a very simple change in the
> regcomp parsing code. I fail to think of significant cases where it
> would clash with existing things, and can bring more versatility to
> the regexes we write. There's always the danger of a backref in a
> specially crafted regex causing exponential matching times, but since
> we mainly use them for testing purposes I don't think it's a big
> problem. [it can also be placed behind a flag specific to FileCheck,
> if needed].
> Please share your thoughts,
> Eli
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