EXPR(1)                 NetBSD General Commands Manual                 EXPR(1)

NAME
     expr -- evaluate expression

SYNOPSIS
     expr expression

DESCRIPTION
     The expr utility evaluates expression and writes the result on standard
     output.

     All operators are separate arguments to the expr utility.  Characters
     special to the command interpreter must be escaped.

     Operators are listed below in order of increasing precedence.  Operators
     with equal precedence are grouped within { } symbols.

     expr1 | expr2
             Returns the evaluation of expr1 if it is neither an empty string
             nor zero; otherwise, returns the evaluation of expr2.

     expr1 & expr2
             Returns the evaluation of expr1 if neither expression evaluates
             to an empty string or zero; otherwise, returns zero.

     expr1 {=, >, >=, <, <=, !=} expr2
             Returns the results of integer comparison if both arguments are
             integers; otherwise, returns the results of string comparison
             using the locale-specific collation sequence.  The result of each
             comparison is 1 if the specified relation is true, or 0 if the
             relation is false.

     expr1 {+, -} expr2
             Returns the results of addition or subtraction of integer-valued
             arguments.

     expr1 {*, /, %} expr2
             Returns the results of multiplication, integer division, or
             remainder of integer-valued arguments.

     expr1 : expr2
             The ``:'' operator matches expr1 against expr2, which must be a
             regular expression.  The regular expression is anchored to the
             beginning of  the string with an implicit ``^''.

             If the match succeeds and the pattern contains at least one regu-
             lar expression subexpression ``\(...\)'', the string correspond-
             ing to ``\1'' is returned; otherwise the matching operator
             returns the number of characters matched.  If the match fails and
             the pattern contains a regular expression subexpression the null
             string is returned; otherwise 0.

     (  expr  )
             Parentheses are used for grouping in the usual manner.

     Additionally, the following keywords are recognized:

     length expr
             Returns the length of the specified string in bytes.

     Operator precedence (from highest to lowest):
           1.   parentheses
           2.   length
           3.   ``:''
           4.   ``*'', ``/'', and ``%''
           5.   ``+'' and ``-''
           6.   compare operators
           7.   ``_''
           8.   ``|''

EXIT STATUS
     The expr utility exits with one of the following values:
     0       the expression is neither an empty string nor 0.
     1       the expression is an empty string or 0.
     2       the expression is invalid.
     >2      an error occurred (such as memory allocation failure).

EXAMPLES
     1.   The following example adds one to the variable a.
                a=`expr $a + 1`

     2.   The following example returns zero, due to deduction having higher
          precedence than '&' operator.
                expr 1 '&' 1 - 1

     3.   The following example returns the filename portion of a pathname
          stored in variable a.
                expr /$a : '.*/\(.*\)'

     4.   The following example returns the number of characters in variable
          a.
                expr $a : '.*'

STANDARDS
     The expr utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'').  The length
     keyword is an extension for compatibility with GNU expr.

AUTHORS
     Original implementation was written by J.T. Conklin <jtc@NetBSD.org>.  It
     was rewritten for NetBSD 1.6 by
     Jaromir Dolecek <jdolecek@NetBSD.org>.

NOTES
     The empty string ``'' cannot be matched with the intuitive:

           expr '' : '$'

     The reason is that the returned number of matched characters (zero) is
     indistinguishable from a failed match, so this returns failure.  To match
     the empty string, use something like:

           expr x'' : 'x$'

COMPATIBILITY
     This implementation of expr internally uses 64 bit representation of
     integers and checks for over- and underflows.  It also treats / (division
     mark) and option '--' correctly depending upon context.

     expr on other systems (including NetBSD up to and including NetBSD 1.5)
     might not be so graceful.  Arithmetic results might be arbitrarily lim-
     ited on such systems, most commonly to 32 bit quantities.  This means
     such expr can only process values between -2147483648 and +2147483647.

     On other systems, expr might also not work correctly for regular expres-
     sions where either side contains single forward slash, like this:

           expr / : '.*/\(.*\)'

     If this is the case, you might use // (double forward slash) to avoid
     confusion with the division operator:

           expr "//$a" : '.*/\(.*\)'

     According to IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2''), expr has to recognize special
     option '--', treat it as an end of command line options and ignore it.
     Some expr implementations don't recognize it at all, others might ignore
     it even in cases where doing so results in syntax error.  There should be
     same result for both following examples, but it might not always be:
           1.   expr -- : .
           2.   expr -- -- : .
     Although NetBSD expr handles both cases correctly, you should not depend
     on this behavior for portability reasons and avoid passing bare '--' as
     first argument.

NetBSD 5.0.1                    April 20, 2004                    NetBSD 5.0.1

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