The Official Standard: RFC 5322

Maybe you're wondering why there's no "official" fool-proof regex to match email addresses. Well, there is an official definition, but it's hardly fool-proof.
The official standard is known as RFC 5322. It describes the syntax that valid email addresses must adhere to. You can (but you shouldn't—read on) implement it with the following regular expression. RFC 5322 leaves the domain name part open to implementation-specific choices that won't work on the Internet today. The regex implements the "preferred" syntax from RFC 1035 which is one of the recommendations in RFC 5322:
\A(?:[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+(?:\.[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+)*
  |  "(?:[\x01-\x08\x0b\x0c\x0e-\x1f\x21\x23-\x5b\x5d-\x7f]
      |  \\[\x01-\x09\x0b\x0c\x0e-\x7f])*")
@ (?:(?:[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?\.)+[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?
  |  \[(?:(?:25[0-5]|2[0-4][0-9]|[01]?[0-9][0-9]?)\.){3}
       (?:25[0-5]|2[0-4][0-9]|[01]?[0-9][0-9]?|[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9]:
          (?:[\x01-\x08\x0b\x0c\x0e-\x1f\x21-\x5a\x53-\x7f]
          |  \\[\x01-\x09\x0b\x0c\x0e-\x7f])+)
     \])\z
This regex has two parts: the part before the @, and the part after the @. There are two alternatives for the part before the @: it can either consist of a series of letters, digits and certain symbols, including one or more dots. However, dots may not appear consecutively or at the start or end of the email address. The other alternative requires the part before the @ to be enclosed in double quotes, allowing any string of ASCII characters between the quotes. Whitespace characters, double quotes and backslashes must be escaped with backslashes.
The part after the @ also has two alternatives. It can either be a fully qualified domain name (e.g. regular-expressions.info), or it can be a literal Internet address between square brackets. The literal Internet address can either be an IP address, or a domain-specific routing address.
The reason you shouldn't use this regex is that it is overly broad. Your application may not be able to handle all email addresses this regex allows. Domain-specific routing addresses can contain non-printable ASCII control characters, which can cause trouble if your application needs to display addresses. Not all applications support the syntax for the local part using double quotes or square brackets. In fact, RFC 5322 itself marks the notation using square brackets as obsolete.
We get a more practical implementation of RFC 5322 if we omit IP addresses, domain-specific addresses, the syntax using double quotes and square brackets. It will still match 99.99% of all email addresses in actual use today.
\A[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+(?:\.[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+)*@
(?:[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?\.)+[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?\z
Neither of these regexes enforce length limits on the overall email address or the local part or the domain names. RFC 5322 does not specify any length limitations. Those stem from limitations in other protocols like the SMTP protocol for actually sending email. RFC 1035 does state that domains must be 63 characters or less, but does not include that in its syntax specification. The reason is that a true regular language cannot enforce a length limit and disallow consecutive hyphens at the same time. But modern regex flavors aren't truly regular, so we can add length limit checks using lookahead like we did before:
\A(?=[a-z0-9@.!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]{6,254}\z)
  (?=[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]{1,64}@)
  [a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+(?:\.[a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~-]+)*
@ (?:(?=[a-z0-9-]{1,63}\.)[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?\.)+
  (?=[a-z0-9-]{1,63}\z)[a-z0-9](?:[a-z0-9-]*[a-z0-9])?\z
So even when following official standards, there are still trade-offs to be made. Don't blindly copy regular expressions from online libraries or discussion forums. Always test them on your own data and with your own applications.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

HOW TO REGISTER FOR SAFETOKEN

How To Get Help In MMM Nigeria - Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox