I am creating a small website in which users will be searching mostly for words but possibly also for short alphanumeric phrases. I wouldn't dream of asking my users to learn regex, but would like to give some basic pattern search capacity. E.g. ? for once or nonce, + for once or more, * for either single wildcard letter or wildcard phrase (I would need another symbol for the other possibility).

Are there any existing "lightweight" and friendly tools for doing these basic pattern search operations? My strings are guaranteed to be be alphanumeric.

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