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Apache > HTTP Server > Documentation > Version 2.4

Expressions in Apache HTTP Server

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Historically, there are several syntax variants for expressions used to express a condition in the different modules of the Apache HTTP Server. There is some ongoing effort to only use a single variant, called ap_expr, for all configuration directives. This document describes the ap_expr expression parser.

The ap_expr expression is intended to replace most other expression variants in HTTPD. For example, the deprecated SSLRequire expressions can be replaced by Require expr.

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Grammar in Backus-Naur Form notation

Backus-Naur Form (BNF) is a notation technique for context-free grammars, often used to describe the syntax of languages used in computing. In most cases, expressions are used to express boolean values. For these, the starting point in the BNF is expr. However, a few directives like LogMessage accept expressions that evaluate to a string value. For those, the starting point in the BNF is string.

expr        ::= "true" | "false"
              | "!" expr
              | expr "&&" expr
              | expr "||" expr
              | "(" expr ")"
              | comp

comp        ::= stringcomp
              | integercomp
              | unaryop word
              | word binaryop word
              | word "in" "{" wordlist "}"
              | word "in" listfunction
              | word "=~" regex
              | word "!~" regex


stringcomp  ::= word "==" word
              | word "!=" word
              | word "<"  word
              | word "<=" word
              | word ">"  word
              | word ">=" word

integercomp ::= word "-eq" word | word "eq" word
              | word "-ne" word | word "ne" word
              | word "-lt" word | word "lt" word
              | word "-le" word | word "le" word
              | word "-gt" word | word "gt" word
              | word "-ge" word | word "ge" word

wordlist    ::= word
              | wordlist "," word

word        ::= word "." word
              | digit
              | "'" string "'"
              | """ string """
              | variable
              | rebackref
              | function

string      ::= stringpart
              | string stringpart

stringpart