[Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

Programming in Emacs Lisp

This is an introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp, for people who are not programmers.

This master menu first lists each chapter and index; then it lists every node in every chapter.

Preface  What to look for.
1. List Processing  What is Lisp?
2. Practicing Evaluation  Running several programs.
3. How To Write Function Definitions  How to write function definitions.
4. A Few Buffer--Related Functions  Exploring a few buffer-related functions.
5. A Few More Complex Functions  A few, even more complex functions.
6. Narrowing and Widening  Restricting your and Emacs attention to a region.
7. car, cdr, cons: Fundamental Functions  Fundamental functions in Lisp.
8. Cutting and Storing Text  Removing text and saving it.
9. How Lists are Implemented  How lists are implemented in the computer.
10. Yanking Text Back  Pasting stored text.
11. Loops and Recursion  How to repeat a process.
12. Regular Expression Searches  Regular expression searches.
13. Counting: Repetition and Regexps  A review of repetition and regexps.
14. Counting Words in a defun  Counting words in a defun.
15. Readying a Graph  A prototype graph printing function.
16. Your `.emacs' File  How to write a `.emacs' file.
17. Debugging  How to run the Emacs Lisp debuggers.
18. Conclusion  Now you have the basics.
A. The the-the Function  An appendix: how to find reduplicated words.
B. Handling the Kill Ring  An appendix: how the kill ring works.
C. A Graph with Labelled Axes  How to create a graph with labelled axes.
D. GNU Free Documentation License  
About the Author  
-- The Detailed Node Listing ---
Why Study Emacs Lisp?  Why learn Emacs Lisp?
On Reading this Text  Read, gain familiarity, pick up habits....
For Whom This is Written  For whom this is written.
Lisp History  
A Note for Novices  You can read this as a novice.
Thank You  
List Processing
1.1 Lisp Lists  What are lists?
1.2 Run a Program  Any list in Lisp is a program ready to run.
1.3 Generate an Error Message  Generating an error message.
1.4 Symbol Names and Function Definitions  Names of symbols and function definitions.
1.5 The Lisp Interpreter  What the Lisp interpreter does.
1.6 Evaluation  Running a program.
1.7 Variables  Returning a value from a variable.
1.8 Arguments  Passing information to a function.
1.9 Setting the Value of a Variable  Setting the value of a variable.
1.10 Summary  The major points.
1.11 Exercises  
Lisp Lists
Numbers, Lists inside of Lists  List have numbers, other lists, in them.
1.1.1 Lisp Atoms  Elemental entities.
1.1.2 Whitespace in Lists  Formating lists to be readable.
1.1.3 GNU Emacs Helps You Type Lists  How GNU Emacs helps you type lists.
The Lisp Interpreter
Complications  Variables, Special forms, Lists within.
1.5.1 Byte Compiling  Specially processing code for speed.
1.6.1 Evaluating Inner Lists  Lists within lists...
fill-column, an Example Variable  
1.7.1 Error Message for a Symbol Without a Function  The error message for a symbol without a function.
1.7.2 Error Message for a Symbol Without a Value  The error message for a symbol without a value.
1.8.1 Arguments' Data Types  Types of data passed to a function.
1.8.2 An Argument as the Value of a Variable or List  An argument can be the value of a variable or list.
1.8.3 Variable Number of Arguments  Some functions may take a variable number of arguments.
1.8.4 Using the Wrong Type Object as an Argument  Passing an argument of the wrong type to a function.
1.8.5 The message Function  A useful function for sending messages.
Setting the Value of a Variable
1.9.1 Using set  Setting values.
1.9.2 Using setq  Setting a quoted value.
1.9.3 Counting  Using setq to count.
Practicing Evaluation
How to Evaluate  Typing editing commands or C-x C-e causes evaluation.
2.1 Buffer Names  Buffers and files are different.
2.2 Getting Buffers  Getting a buffer itself, not merely its name.
2.3 Switching Buffers  How to change to another buffer.
2.4 Buffer Size and the Location of Point  Where point is located and the size of the buffer.
2.5 Exercise  
How To Write Function Definitions
An Aside about Primitive Functions  
3.1 The defun Special Form  The defun special form.
3.2 Install a Function Definition  Install a function definition.
3.3 Make a Function Interactive  Making a function interactive.
3.4 Different Options for interactive  Different options for interactive.
3.5 Install Code Permanently  Installing code permanently.
3.6 let  Creating and initializing local variables.
3.7 The if Special Form  What if?
3.8 If--then--else Expressions  If--then--else expressions.
3.9 Truth and Falsehood in Emacs Lisp  What Lisp considers false and true.
3.10 save-excursion  Keeping track of point, mark, and buffer.
3.11 Review  
3.12 Exercises  
Install a Function Definition
The effect of installation  
3.2.1 Change a Function Definition  How to change a function definition.
Make a Function Interactive
An Interactive multiply-by-seven, An Overview  An overview.
3.3.1 An Interactive multiply-by-seven  The interactive version.
let Prevents Confusion  
3.6.1 The Parts of a let Expression  
3.6.2 Sample let Expression  
3.6.3 Uninitialized Variables in a let Statement  
The if Special Form
if in more detail  
3.7.1 The type-of-animal Function in Detail  An example of an if expression.
Truth and Falsehood in Emacs Lisp
An explanation of nil  nil has two meanings.
Point and Mark  A review of various locations.
3.10.1 Template for a save-excursion Expression  
A Few Buffer--Related Functions
4.1 Finding More Information  How to find more information.
4.2 A Simplified beginning-of-buffer Definition  Shows goto-char,
point-min, and push-mark.
4.3 The Definition of mark-whole-buffer  Almost the same as beginning-of-buffer.
4.4 The Definition of append-to-buffer  Uses save-excursion and
4.5 Review  
4.6 Exercises  
The Definition of mark-whole-buffer
An overview of mark-whole-buffer  
4.3.1 Body of mark-whole-buffer  Only three lines of code.
The Definition of append-to-buffer
An Overview of append-to-buffer  
4.4.1 The append-to-buffer Interactive Expression  A two part interactive expression.
4.4.2 The Body of append-to-buffer  Incorporates a let expression.
4.4.3 save-excursion in append-to-buffer  How the save-excursion works.
A Few More Complex Functions
5.1 The Definition of copy-to-buffer  With set-buffer, get-buffer-create.
5.2 The Definition of insert-buffer  Read-only, and with or.
5.3 Complete Definition of beginning-of-buffer  Shows goto-char,
point-min, and push-mark.
5.4 Review  
5.5 optional Argument Exercise  
The Definition of insert-buffer
The Code for insert-buffer  
5.2.1 The Interactive Expression in insert-buffer  When you can read, but not write.
5.2.2 The Body of the insert-buffer Function  The body has an or and a let.
5.2.3 insert-buffer With an if Instead of an or  Using an if instead of an or.
5.2.4 The or in the Body  How the or expression works.
5.2.5 The let Expression in insert-buffer  Two save-excursion expressions.
The Interactive Expression in insert-buffer
A Read-only Buffer  When a buffer cannot be modified.
`b' in an Interactive Expression  An existing buffer or else its name.
Complete Definition of beginning-of-buffer
5.3.1 Optional Arguments  
5.3.2 beginning-of-buffer with an Argument  Example with optional argument.
5.3.3 The Complete beginning-of-buffer  
beginning-of-buffer with an Argument
Disentangle beginning-of-buffer  
What happens in a large buffer  
What happens in a small buffer  
Narrowing and Widening
The Advantages of Narrowing  The advantages of narrowing
6.1 The save-restriction Special Form  The save-restriction special form.
6.2 what-line  The number of the line that point is on.
6.3 Exercise with Narrowing  
car, cdr, cons: Fundamental Functions
Strange Names  An historical aside: why the strange names?
7.1 car and cdr  Functions for extracting part of a list.
7.2 cons  Constructing a list.
7.3 nthcdr  Calling cdr repeatedly.
7.4 nth  
7.5 setcar  Changing the first element of a list.
7.6 setcdr  Changing the rest of a list.
7.7 Exercise  
Build a list  
7.2.1 Find the Length of a List: length  How to find the length of a list.
Cutting and Storing Text
Storing Text in a List  Text is stored in a list.
8.1 zap-to-char  Cutting out text up to a character.
8.2 kill-region  Cutting text out of a region.
8.3 delete-and-extract-region: Digressing into C  Minor note on C programming language macros.
8.4 Initializing a Variable with defvar  How to give a variable an initial value.
8.5 copy-region-as-kill  A definition for copying text.
8.6 Review  
8.7 Searching Exercises  
The Complete zap-to-char Implementation  The complete implementation.
8.1.1 The interactive Expression  A three part interactive expression.
8.1.2 The Body of zap-to-char  A short overview.
8.1.3 The search-forward Function  How to search for a string.
8.1.4 The progn Special Form  The progn special form.
8.1.5 Summing up zap-to-char  Using point and search-forward.
The Complete kill-region Definition  The function definition.
8.2.1 condition-case  Dealing with a problem.
8.2.2 delete-and-extract-region  Doing the work.
Initializing a Variable with defvar
Seeing the Current Value of a Variable  
8.4.1 defvar and an asterisk  An old-time convention.
The complete copy-region-as-kill function definition  The complete function definition.
8.5.1 The Body of copy-region-as-kill  The body of copy-region-as-kill.
The Body of copy-region-as-kill
last-command and this-command  
The kill-append function  
The kill-new function  
How Lists are Implemented
Lists diagrammed  
9.1 Symbols as a Chest of Drawers  Exploring a powerful metaphor.
9.2 Exercise  
Yanking Text Back
10.1 Kill Ring Overview  The kill ring is a list.
10.2 The kill-ring-yank-pointer Variable  The kill-ring-yank-pointer variable.
10.3 Exercises with yank and nthcdr  
Loops and Recursion
11.1 while  Causing a stretch of code to repeat.
11.2 Save your time: dolist and dotimes  
11.3 Recursion  Causing a function to call itself.
11.4 Looping Exercise  
Looping with while  Repeat so long as test returns true.
11.1.1 A while Loop and a List  A while loop that uses a list.
11.1.2 An Example: print-elements-of-list  Uses while, car, cdr.
11.1.3 A Loop with an Incrementing Counter  A loop with an incrementing counter.
11.1.4 Loop with a Decrementing Counter  A loop with a decrementing counter.
A Loop with an Incrementing Counter
Example with incrementing counter  Counting pebbles in a triangle.
The parts of the function definition  
Putting the function definition together  
Loop with a Decrementing Counter
Example with decrementing counter  More pebbles on the beach.
The parts of the function definition   
Putting the function definition together   
Save your time: dolist and dotimes
The dolist Macro  
The dotimes Macro  
11.3.1 Building Robots: Extending the Metaphor  Same model, different serial number ...
11.3.2 The Parts of a Recursive Definition  Walk until you stop ...
11.3.3 Recursion with a List  Using a list as the test whether to recurse.
11.3.4 Recursion in Place of a Counter  
11.3.5 Recursion Example Using cond  
11.3.6 Recursive Patterns  Often used templates.
11.3.7 Recursion without Deferments  Don't store up work ...
11.3.8 No Deferment Solution  
Recursion in Place of a Counter
An argument of 1 or 2  
An argument of 3 or 4  
Recursive Patterns
Recursive Pattern: every  
Recursive Pattern: accumulate  
Recursive Pattern: keep  
Regular Expression Searches
12.1 The Regular Expression for sentence-end  The regular expression for sentence-end.
12.2 The re-search-forward Function  Very similar to search-forward.
12.3 forward-sentence  A straightforward example of regexp search.
12.4 forward-paragraph: a Goldmine of Functions  A somewhat complex example.
12.5 Create Your Own `TAGS' File  How to create your own `TAGS' table.
12.6 Review  
12.7 Exercises with re-search-forward  
Complete forward-sentence function definition  
The while loops  Two while loops.
The regular expression search  A regular expression search.
forward-paragraph: a Goldmine of Functions
Shortened forward-paragraph function definition  Key parts of the function definition.
The let* expression  
The forward motion while loop  
Between paragraphs  Movement between paragraphs.
Within paragraphs  Movement within paragraphs.
No fill prefix  When there is no fill prefix.
With a fill prefix  When there is a fill prefix.
Summary  Summary of forward-paragraph code.
Counting: Repetition and Regexps
Counting words  
13.1 The count-words-region Function  Use a regexp, but find a problem.
13.2 Count Words Recursively  Start with case of no words in region.
13.3 Exercise: Counting Punctuation  
The count-words-region Function
Designing count-words-region  The definition using a while loop.
13.1.1 The Whitespace Bug in count-words-region  
Counting Words in a defun
Divide and Conquer  
14.1 What to Count?  What to count?
14.2 What Constitutes a Word or Symbol?  What constitutes a word or symbol?
14.3 The count-words-in-defun Function  Very like count-words.
14.4 Count Several defuns Within a File  Counting several defuns in a file.
14.5 Find a File  Do you want to look at a file?
14.6 lengths-list-file in Detail  A list of the lengths of many definitions.
14.7 Count Words in defuns in Different Files  Counting in definitions in different files.
14.8 Recursively Count Words in Different Files  Recursively counting in different files.
14.9 Prepare the Data for Display in a Graph  Prepare the data for display in a graph.
Count Words in defuns in Different Files
Determine the lengths of defuns  Return a list of the lengths of defuns.
14.7.1 The append Function  Attach one list to another.
Prepare the Data for Display in a Graph
14.9.1 Sorting Lists  Sorting lists.
14.9.2 Making a List of Files  Making a list of files.
14.9.3 Counting function definitions  
Readying a Graph
Printing the Columns of a Graph  
15.1 The graph-body-print Function  How to print the body of a graph.
15.2 The recursive-graph-body-print Function  
15.3 Need for Printed Axes  
15.4 Exercise  
Your `.emacs' File
Emacs' Default Configuration  
16.1 Site-wide Initialization Files  You can write site-wide init files.
16.2 Specifying Variables using defcustom  Emacs will write code for you.
16.3 Beginning a `.emacs' File  How to write a .emacs file.
16.4 Text and Auto Fill Mode  Automatically wrap lines.
16.5 Mail Aliases  Use abbreviations for email addresses.
16.6 Indent Tabs Mode  Don't use tabs with TeX
16.7 Some Keybindings  Create some personal keybindings.
16.8 Keymaps  More about key binding.
16.9 Loading Files  Load (i.e., evaluate) files automatically.
16.10 Autoloading  Make functions available.
16.11 A Simple Extension: line-to-top-of-window  Define a function; bind it to a key.
16.12 X11 Colors  Colors in version 19 in X.
16.13 Miscellaneous Settings for a `.emacs' File  
16.14 A Modified Mode Line  How to customize your mode line.
17.1 debug  How to use the built-in debugger.
17.2 debug-on-entry  Start debugging when you call a function.
17.3 debug-on-quit and (debug)  Start debugging when you quit with C-g.
17.4 The edebug Source Level Debugger  How to use Edebug, a source level debugger.
17.5 Debugging Exercises  
Handling the Kill Ring
B.1 The rotate-yank-pointer Function  Move a pointer along a list and around.
B.2 yank  Paste a copy of a clipped element.
B.3 yank-pop  Insert first element pointed to.
The rotate-yank-pointer Function
rotate-yank-pointer in Outline  
B.1.1 The Body of rotate-yank-pointer  The body of rotate-yank-pointer.
The Body of rotate-yank-pointer
Digression about the word `error'  How to mislead humans, but not computers.
The else-part of the if expression  
The % remainder function  The remainder, %, function.
Using % in rotate-yank-pointer  
Pointing to the last element  
Passing the argument  Pass the argument to rotate-yank-pointer.
Passing a negative argument  Pass a negative argument.
A Graph with Labelled Axes
Labelled Example Graph  
C.1 The print-graph Varlist  let expression in print-graph.
C.2 The print-Y-axis Function  Print a label for the vertical axis.
C.3 The print-X-axis Function  Print a horizontal label.
C.4 Printing the Whole Graph  The function to print a complete graph.
The print-Y-axis Function
What height should the label be?  What height for the Y axis?
C.2.1 Side Trip: Compute a Remainder  How to compute the remainder of a division.
C.2.2 Construct a Y Axis Element  Construct a line for the Y axis.
C.2.3 Create a Y Axis Column  Generate a list of Y axis labels.
C.2.4 The Not Quite Final Version of print-Y-axis  A not quite final version.
The print-X-axis Function
Similarities and differences  Much like print-Y-axis, but not exactly.
C.3.1 X Axis Tic Marks  Create tic marks for the horizontal axis.
Printing the Whole Graph
Changes for the Final Version  A few changes.
C.4.1 Testing print-graph  Run a short test.
C.4.2 Graphing Numbers of Words and Symbols  Executing the final code.
C.4.3 A lambda Expression: Useful Anonymity  How to write an anonymous function.
C.4.4 The mapcar Function  Apply a function to elements of a list.
C.4.5 Another Bug ... Most Insidious  Yet another bug ... most insidious.
C.4.6 The Printed Graph  The graph itself!

This document was generated by Dohn Arms on March, 6 2005 using texi2html