ure – simple regular expressions

This module implements a subset of the corresponding CPython module, as described below. For more information, refer to the original CPython documentation: re.

This module implements regular expression operations. Regular expression syntax supported is a subset of CPython re module (and actually is a subset of POSIX extended regular expressions).

Supported operators and special sequences are:


Match any character.


Match set of characters. Individual characters and ranges are supported, including negated sets (e.g. [^a-c]).


Match the start of the string.


Match the end of the string.


Match zero or one of the previous sub-pattern.


Match zero or more of the previous sub-pattern.


Match one or more of the previous sub-pattern.


Non-greedy version of ?, match zero or one, with the preference for zero.


Non-greedy version of *, match zero or more, with the preference for the shortest match.


Non-greedy version of +, match one or more, with the preference for the shortest match.


Match either the left-hand side or the right-hand side sub-patterns of this operator.


Grouping. Each group is capturing (a substring it captures can be accessed with match.group() method).


Matches digit. Equivalent to [0-9].


Matches non-digit. Equivalent to [^0-9].


Matches whitespace. Equivalent to [ \t-\r].


Matches non-whitespace. Equivalent to [^ \t-\r].


Matches “word characters” (ASCII only). Equivalent to [A-Za-z0-9_].


Matches non “word characters” (ASCII only). Equivalent to [^A-Za-z0-9_].


Escape character. Any other character following the backslash, except for those listed above, is taken literally. For example, \* is equivalent to literal * (not treated as the * operator). Note that \r, \n, etc. are not handled specially, and will be equivalent to literal letters r, n, etc. Due to this, it’s not recommended to use raw Python strings (r"") for regular expressions. For example, r"\r\n" when used as the regular expression is equivalent to "rn". To match CR character followed by LF, use "\r\n".


  • counted repetitions ({m,n})

  • named groups ((?P<name>...))

  • non-capturing groups ((?:...))

  • more advanced assertions (\b, \B)

  • special character escapes like \r, \n - use Python’s own escaping instead

  • etc.


import ure

# As ure doesn't support escapes itself, use of r"" strings is not
# recommended.
regex = ure.compile("[\r\n]")


# Result:
# ['line1', 'line2', 'line3', '', '']


ure.compile(regex_str[, flags])

Compile regular expression, return regex object.

ure.match(regex_str, string)

Compile regex_str and match against string. Match always happens from starting position in a string.

ure.search(regex_str, string)

Compile regex_str and search it in a string. Unlike match, this will search string for first position which matches regex (which still may be 0 if regex is anchored).

ure.sub(regex_str, replace, string, count=0, flags=0, /)

Compile regex_str and search for it in string, replacing all matches with replace, and returning the new string.

replace can be a string or a function. If it is a string then escape sequences of the form \<number> and \g<number> can be used to expand to the corresponding group (or an empty string for unmatched groups). If replace is a function then it must take a single argument (the match) and should return a replacement string.

If count is specified and non-zero then substitution will stop after this many substitutions are made. The flags argument is ignored.

Note: availability of this function depends on MicroPython port.


Flag value, display debug information about compiled expression. (Availability depends on MicroPython port.)

Regex objects

Compiled regular expression. Instances of this class are created using ure.compile().

regex.sub(replace, string, count=0, flags=0, /)

Similar to the module-level functions match(), search() and sub(). Using methods is (much) more efficient if the same regex is applied to multiple strings.

regex.split(string, max_split=-1, /)

Split a string using regex. If max_split is given, it specifies maximum number of splits to perform. Returns list of strings (there may be up to max_split+1 elements if it’s specified).

Match objects

Match objects as returned by match() and search() methods, and passed to the replacement function in sub().


Return matching (sub)string. index is 0 for entire match, 1 and above for each capturing group. Only numeric groups are supported.


Return a tuple containing all the substrings of the groups of the match.

Note: availability of this method depends on MicroPython port.


Return the index in the original string of the start or end of the substring group that was matched. index defaults to the entire group, otherwise it will select a group.

Note: availability of these methods depends on MicroPython port.


Returns the 2-tuple (match.start(index), match.end(index)).

Note: availability of this method depends on MicroPython port.