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@c -*-texinfo-*-
@c This is part of the XEmacs Lisp Reference Manual.
@c Copyright (C) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
@c See the file lispref.texi for copying conditions.
@setfilename ../../info/markers.info
@node Markers, Text, Positions, Top
@chapter Markers
@cindex markers

  A @dfn{marker} is a Lisp object used to specify a position in a buffer
relative to the surrounding text.  A marker changes its offset from the
beginning of the buffer automatically whenever text is inserted or
deleted, so that it stays with the two characters on either side of it.

@menu
* Overview of Markers::      The components of a marker, and how it relocates.
* Predicates on Markers::    Testing whether an object is a marker.
* Creating Markers::         Making empty markers or markers at certain places.
* Information from Markers:: Finding the marker's buffer or character position.
* Changing Markers::         Moving the marker to a new buffer or position.
* The Mark::                 How ``the mark'' is implemented with a marker.
* The Region::               How to access ``the region''.
@end menu

@node Overview of Markers
@section Overview of Markers

  A marker specifies a buffer and a position in that buffer.  The marker
can be used to represent a position in the functions that require one,
just as an integer could be used.  @xref{Positions}, for a complete
description of positions.

  A marker has two attributes: the marker position, and the marker
buffer.  The marker position is an integer that is equivalent (at a
given time) to the marker as a position in that buffer.  But the
marker's position value can change often during the life of the marker.
Insertion and deletion of text in the buffer relocate the marker.  The
idea is that a marker positioned between two characters remains between
those two characters despite insertion and deletion elsewhere in the
buffer.  Relocation changes the integer equivalent of the marker.

@cindex marker relocation
  Deleting text around a marker's position leaves the marker between the
characters immediately before and after the deleted text.  Inserting
text at the position of a marker normally leaves the marker in front of
the new text---unless it is inserted with @code{insert-before-markers}
(@pxref{Insertion}).

@cindex marker garbage collection
  Insertion and deletion in a buffer must check all the markers and
relocate them if necessary.  This slows processing in a buffer with a
large number of markers.  For this reason, it is a good idea to make a
marker point nowhere if you are sure you don't need it any more.
Unreferenced markers are garbage collected eventually, but until then
will continue to use time if they do point somewhere.

@cindex markers as numbers
  Because it is common to perform arithmetic operations on a marker
position, most of the arithmetic operations (including @code{+} and
@code{-}) accept markers as arguments.  In such cases, the marker
stands for its current position.

@cindex markers vs. extents
  Note that you can use extents to achieve the same functionality, and
more, as markers. (Markers were defined before extents, which is why
they both continue to exist.) A zero-length extent with the
@code{detachable} property removed is almost identical to a marker.
(@xref{Extent Endpoints}, for more information on zero-length extents.)

In particular:

@itemize @bullet
@item
In order to get marker-like behavior in a zero-length extent, the
@code{detachable} property must be removed (otherwise, the extent
will disappear when text near it is deleted) and exactly one
endpoint must be closed (if both endpoints are closed, the extent
will expand to contain text inserted where it is located).
@item
If a zero-length extent has the @code{end-open} property but not
the @code{start-open} property (this is the default), text inserted
at the extent's location causes the extent to move forward, just
like a marker.
@item
If a zero-length extent has the @code{start-open} property but not
the @code{end-open} property, text inserted at the extent's location
causes the extent to remain before the text, like what happens to
markers when @code{insert-before-markers} is used.
@item
Markers end up after or before inserted text depending on whether
@code{insert} or @code{insert-before-markers} was called.  These
functions do not affect zero-length extents differently; instead,
the presence or absence of the @code{start-open} and @code{end-open}
extent properties determines this, as just described.
@item
Markers are automatically removed from a buffer when they are no
longer in use.  Extents remain around until explicitly removed
from a buffer.
@item
Many functions are provided for listing the extents in a buffer or
in a region of a buffer.  No such functions exist for markers.
@end itemize

Here are examples of creating markers, setting markers, and moving point
to markers:

@example
@group
;; @r{Make a new marker that initially does not point anywhere:}
(setq m1 (make-marker))
     @result{} #<marker in no buffer>
@end group

@group
;; @r{Set @code{m1} to point between the 99th and 100th characters}
;;   @r{in the current buffer:}
(set-marker m1 100)
     @result{} #<marker at 100 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
;; @r{Now insert one character at the beginning of the buffer:}
(goto-char (point-min))
     @result{} 1
(insert "Q")
     @result{} nil
@end group

@group
;; @r{@code{m1} is updated appropriately.}
m1
     @result{} #<marker at 101 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
;; @r{Two markers that point to the same position}
;;   @r{are not @code{eq}, but they are @code{equal}.}
(setq m2 (copy-marker m1))
     @result{} #<marker at 101 in markers.texi>
(eq m1 m2)
     @result{} nil
(equal m1 m2)
     @result{} t
@end group

@group
;; @r{When you are finished using a marker, make it point nowhere.}
(set-marker m1 nil)
     @result{} #<marker in no buffer>
@end group
@end example

@node Predicates on Markers
@section Predicates on Markers

  You can test an object to see whether it is a marker, or whether it is
either an integer or a marker or either an integer, a character, or a
marker.  The latter tests are useful in connection with the arithmetic
functions that work with any of markers, integers, or characters.

@defun markerp object
This function returns @code{t} if @var{object} is a marker, @code{nil}
otherwise.  Note that integers are not markers, even though many
functions will accept either a marker or an integer.
@end defun

@defun integer-or-marker-p object
This function returns @code{t} if @var{object} is an integer or a marker,
@code{nil} otherwise.
@end defun

@defun integer-char-or-marker-p object
This function returns @code{t} if @var{object} is an integer, a
character, or a marker, @code{nil} otherwise.
@end defun

@defun number-or-marker-p object
This function returns @code{t} if @var{object} is a number (either kind)
or a marker, @code{nil} otherwise.
@end defun

@defun number-char-or-marker-p object
This function returns @code{t} if @var{object} is a number (either
kind), a character, or a marker, @code{nil} otherwise.
@end defun

@node Creating Markers
@section Functions That Create Markers

  When you create a new marker, you can make it point nowhere, or point
to the present position of point, or to the beginning or end of the
accessible portion of the buffer, or to the same place as another given
marker.

@defun make-marker
This functions returns a newly created marker that does not point
anywhere.

@example
@group
(make-marker)
     @result{} #<marker in no buffer>
@end group
@end example
@end defun

@defun point-marker &optional dont-copy-p buffer
This function returns a marker that points to the present position of
point in @var{buffer}, which defaults to the current buffer.
@xref{Point}.  For an example, see @code{copy-marker}, below.

Internally, a marker corresponding to point is always maintained.
Normally the marker returned by @code{point-marker} is a copy; you
may modify it with reckless abandon.  However, if optional argument
@var{dont-copy-p} is non-@code{nil}, then the real point-marker is
returned; modifying the position of this marker will move point.
It is illegal to change the buffer of it, or make it point nowhere.
@end defun

@defun point-min-marker &optional buffer
This function returns a new marker that points to the beginning of the
accessible portion of @var{buffer}, which defaults to the current
buffer.  This will be the beginning of the buffer unless narrowing is in
effect.  @xref{Narrowing}.
@end defun

@defun point-max-marker &optional buffer
@cindex end of buffer marker
This function returns a new marker that points to the end of the
accessible portion of @var{buffer}, which defaults to the current
buffer.  This will be the end of the buffer unless narrowing is in
effect.  @xref{Narrowing}.

Here are examples of this function and @code{point-min-marker}, shown in
a buffer containing a version of the source file for the text of this
chapter.

@example
@group
(point-min-marker)
     @result{} #<marker at 1 in markers.texi>
(point-max-marker)
     @result{} #<marker at 15573 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(narrow-to-region 100 200)
     @result{} nil
@end group
@group
(point-min-marker)
     @result{} #<marker at 100 in markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(point-max-marker)
     @result{} #<marker at 200 in markers.texi>
@end group
@end example
@end defun

@defun copy-marker marker-or-integer &optional marker-type
If passed a marker as its argument, @code{copy-marker} returns a
new marker that points to the same place and the same buffer as does
@var{marker-or-integer}.  If passed an integer as its argument,
@code{copy-marker} returns a new marker that points to position
@var{marker-or-integer} in the current buffer.

If passed an integer argument less than 1, @code{copy-marker} returns a
new marker that points to the beginning of the current buffer.  If
passed an integer argument greater than the length of the buffer,
@code{copy-marker} returns a new marker that points to the end of the
buffer.

An error is signaled if @var{marker-or-integer} is neither a marker nor
an integer.

Optional second argument @var{marker-type} specifies the insertion type
of the new marker; see @code{marker-insertion-type}.

@example
@group
(setq p (point-marker))
     @result{} #<marker at 2139 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(setq q (copy-marker p))
     @result{} #<marker at 2139 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(eq p q)
     @result{} nil
@end group

@group
(equal p q)
     @result{} t
@end group

@group
(point)
     @result{} 2139
@end group

@group
(set-marker p 3000)
     @result{} #<marker at 3000 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(point)
     @result{} 2139
@end group

@group
(setq p (point-marker t))
     @result{} #<marker at 2139 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(set-marker p 3000)
     @result{} #<marker at 3000 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(point)
     @result{} 3000
@end group

@group
(copy-marker 0)
     @result{} #<marker at 1 in markers.texi>
@end group

@group
(copy-marker 20000)
     @result{} #<marker at 7572 in markers.texi>
@end group
@end example
@end defun

@node Information from Markers
@section Information from Markers

  This section describes the functions for accessing the components of a
marker object.

@defun marker-position marker
This function returns the position that @var{marker} points to, or
@code{nil} if it points nowhere.
@end defun

@defun marker-buffer marker
This function returns the buffer that @var{marker} points into, or
@code{nil} if it points nowhere.

@example
@group
(setq m (make-marker))
     @result{} #<marker in no buffer>
@end group
@group
(marker-position m)
     @result{} nil
@end group
@group
(marker-buffer m)
     @result{} nil
@end group

@group
(set-marker m 3770 (current-buffer))
     @result{} #<marker at 3770 in markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(marker-buffer m)
     @result{} #<buffer markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(marker-position m)
     @result{} 3770
@end group
@end example
@end defun

  Two distinct markers are considered @code{equal} (even though not
@code{eq}) to each other if they have the same position and buffer, or
if they both point nowhere.

@node Changing Markers
@section Changing Marker Positions

  This section describes how to change the position of an existing
marker.  When you do this, be sure you know whether the marker is used
outside of your program, and, if so, what effects will result from
moving it---otherwise, confusing things may happen in other parts of
Emacs.

@defun set-marker marker position &optional buffer
This function moves @var{marker} to @var{position}
in @var{buffer}.  If @var{buffer} is not provided, it defaults to
the current buffer.

@var{position} can be a marker, an integer or @code{nil}.  If
@var{position} is an integer, @code{set-marker} moves @var{marker} to
point before the @var{position}th character in @var{buffer}.  If
@var{position} is @code{nil}, @var{marker} is made to point nowhere.
Then it no longer slows down editing in any buffer.  If @var{position}
is less than 1, @var{marker} is moved to the beginning of @var{buffer}.
If @var{position} is greater than the size of @var{buffer}, @var{marker}
is moved to the end of @var{buffer}.

The value returned is @var{marker}.

@example
@group
(setq m (point-marker))
     @result{} #<marker at 4714 in markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(set-marker m 55)
     @result{} #<marker at 55 in markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(setq b (get-buffer "foo"))
     @result{} #<buffer foo>
@end group
@group
(set-marker m 0 b)
     @result{} #<marker at 1 in foo>
@end group
@end example
@end defun

@defun move-marker marker position &optional buffer
This is another name for @code{set-marker}.
@end defun

@node The Mark
@section The Mark
@cindex mark, the
@cindex mark ring
@cindex global mark ring

  One special marker in each buffer is designated @dfn{the mark}.  It
records a position for the user for the sake of commands such as
@kbd{C-w} and @kbd{C-x @key{TAB}}.  Lisp programs should set the mark
only to values that have a potential use to the user, and never for
their own internal purposes.  For example, the @code{replace-regexp}
command sets the mark to the value of point before doing any
replacements, because this enables the user to move back there
conveniently after the replace is finished.

  Once the mark ``exists'' in a buffer, it normally never ceases to
exist.  However, it may become @dfn{inactive}, and usually does so
after each command (other than simple motion commands and some
commands that explicitly activate the mark).  When the mark is active,
the region between point and the mark is called the @dfn{active region}
and is highlighted specially.

  Many commands are designed so that when called interactively they
operate on the text between point and the mark.  Such commands work
only when an active region exists, i.e. when the mark is active.
(The reason for this is to prevent you from accidentally deleting
or changing large chunks of your text.) If you are writing such
a command, don't examine the mark directly; instead, use
@code{interactive} with the @samp{r} specification.  This provides the
values of point and the mark as arguments to the command in an
interactive call, but permits other Lisp programs to specify arguments
explicitly, and automatically signals an error if the command is called
interactively when no active region exists.  @xref{Interactive Codes}.

  Each buffer has its own value of the mark that is independent of the
value of the mark in other buffers. (When a buffer is created, the mark
exists but does not point anywhere.  We consider this state as ``the
absence of a mark in that buffer.'') However, only one active region can
exist at a time.  Activating the mark in one buffer automatically
deactivates an active mark in any other buffer.  Note that the user can
explicitly activate a mark at any time by using the command
@code{activate-region} (normally bound to @kbd{M-C-z}) or by using the
command @code{exchange-point-and-mark} (normally bound to @kbd{C-x C-x}),
which has the side effect of activating the mark.

  Some people do not like active regions, so they disable this behavior
by setting the variable @code{zmacs-regions} to @code{nil}.  This makes
the mark always active (except when a buffer is just created and the
mark points nowhere), and turns off the highlighting of the region
between point and the mark.  Commands that explicitly retrieve the value
of the mark should make sure that they behave correctly and consistently
irrespective of the setting of @code{zmacs-regions}; some primitives are
provided to ensure this behavior.

  In addition to the mark, each buffer has a @dfn{mark ring} which is a
list of markers containing previous values of the mark.  When editing
commands change the mark, they should normally save the old value of the
mark on the mark ring.  The variable @code{mark-ring-max} specifies the
maximum number of entries in the mark ring; once the list becomes this
long, adding a new element deletes the last element.

@defun mark &optional force buffer
@cindex current buffer mark
This function returns @var{buffer}'s mark position as an integer.
@var{buffer} defaults to the current buffer if omitted.

If the mark is inactive, @code{mark} normally returns @code{nil}.
However, if @var{force} is non-@code{nil}, then @code{mark} returns the
mark position anyway---or @code{nil}, if the mark is not yet set for
the buffer.

(Remember that if @code{zmacs-regions} is @code{nil}, the mark is
always active as long as it exists, and the @var{force} argument
will have no effect.)

If you are using this in an editing command, you are most likely making
a mistake; see the documentation of @code{set-mark} below.
@end defun

@defun mark-marker &optional force buffer
This function returns @var{buffer}'s mark.  @var{buffer} defaults to the
current buffer if omitted.  This is the very marker that records the
mark location inside XEmacs, not a copy.  Therefore, changing this
marker's position will directly affect the position of the mark.  Don't
do it unless that is the effect you want.

If the mark is inactive, @code{mark-marker} normally returns @code{nil}.
However, if @var{force} is non-@code{nil}, then @code{mark-marker}
returns the mark anyway.
@example
@group
(setq m (mark-marker))
     @result{} #<marker at 3420 in markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(set-marker m 100)
     @result{} #<marker at 100 in markers.texi>
@end group
@group
(mark-marker)
     @result{} #<marker at 100 in markers.texi>
@end group
@end example

Like any marker, this marker can be set to point at any buffer you like.
We don't recommend that you make it point at any buffer other than the
one of which it is the mark.  If you do, it will yield perfectly
consistent, but rather odd, results.
@end defun

@ignore
@deffn Command set-mark-command jump
If @var{jump} is @code{nil}, this command sets the mark to the value
of point and pushes the previous value of the mark on the mark ring.  The
message @samp{Mark set} is also displayed in the echo area.

If @var{jump} is not @code{nil}, this command sets point to the value
of the mark, and sets the mark to the previous saved mark value, which
is popped off the mark ring.

This function is @emph{only} intended for interactive use.
@end deffn
@end ignore

@defun set-mark position &optional buffer
This function sets @code{buffer}'s mark to @var{position}, and activates
the mark.  @var{buffer} defaults to the current buffer if omitted.  The
old value of the mark is @emph{not} pushed onto the mark ring.

@strong{Please note:} Use this function only if you want the user to
see that the mark has moved, and you want the previous mark position to
be lost.  Normally, when a new mark is set, the old one should go on the
@code{mark-ring}.  For this reason, most applications should use
@code{push-mark} and @code{pop-mark}, not @code{set-mark}.

Novice XEmacs Lisp programmers often try to use the mark for the wrong
purposes.  The mark saves a location for the user's convenience.  An
editing command should not alter the mark unless altering the mark is
part of the user-level functionality of the command.  (And, in that
case, this effect should be documented.)  To remember a location for
internal use in the Lisp program, store it in a Lisp variable.  For
example:

@example
@group
(let ((start (point)))
  (forward-line 1)
  (delete-region start (point))).
@end group
@end example
@end defun

@deffn Command exchange-point-and-mark &optional dont-activate-region
This function exchanges the positions of point and the mark.
It is intended for interactive use.  The mark is also activated
unless @var{dont-activate-region} is non-@code{nil}.
@end deffn

@defun push-mark &optional position nomsg activate buffer
This function sets @var{buffer}'s mark to @var{position}, and pushes a
copy of the previous mark onto @code{mark-ring}.  @var{buffer} defaults
to the current buffer if omitted.  If @var{position} is @code{nil}, then
the value of point is used.  @code{push-mark} returns @code{nil}.

If the last global mark pushed was not in @var{buffer}, also push
@var{position} on the global mark ring (see below).

The function @code{push-mark} normally @emph{does not} activate the
mark.  To do that, specify @code{t} for the argument @var{activate}.

A @samp{Mark set} message is displayed unless @var{nomsg} is
non-@code{nil}.
@end defun

@defun pop-mark
This function pops off the top element of @code{mark-ring} and makes
that mark become the buffer's actual mark.  This does not move point in
the buffer, and it does nothing if @code{mark-ring} is empty.  It
deactivates the mark.

The return value is not meaningful.
@end defun

@defvar mark-ring
The value of this buffer-local variable is the list of saved former
marks of the current buffer, most recent first.

@example
@group
mark-ring
@result{} (#<marker at 11050 in markers.texi>
    #<marker at 10832 in markers.texi>
    @dots{})
@end group
@end example
@end defvar

@defopt mark-ring-max
The value of this variable is the maximum size of @code{mark-ring}.  If
more marks than this are pushed onto the @code{mark-ring},
@code{push-mark} discards an old mark when it adds a new one.
@end defopt

In additional to a per-buffer mark ring, there is a @dfn{global mark
ring}.  Marks are pushed onto the global mark ring the first time you
set a mark after switching buffers.

@defvar global-mark-ring
The value of this variable is the list of saved former global marks,
most recent first.
@end defvar

@defopt mark-ring-max
The value of this variable is the maximum size of
@code{global-mark-ring}.  If more marks than this are pushed onto the
@code{global-mark-ring}, @code{push-mark} discards an old mark when it
adds a new one.
@end defopt

@deffn Command pop-global-mark
This function pops a mark off the global mark ring and jumps to that
location.
@end deffn

@node The Region
@section The Region
@cindex region, the

  The text between point and the mark is known as @dfn{the region}.
Various functions operate on text delimited by point and the mark, but
only those functions specifically related to the region itself are
described here.

  When @code{zmacs-regions} is non-@code{nil} (this is the default), the
concept of an @dfn{active region} exists.  The region is active when the
corresponding mark is active.  Note that only one active region at a
time can exist---i.e. only one buffer's region is active at a time.
@xref{The Mark}, for more information about active regions.

@defopt zmacs-regions
If non-@code{nil} (the default), active regions are used.  @xref{The Mark},
for a detailed explanation of what this means.
@end defopt

  A number of functions are provided for explicitly determining the
bounds of the region and whether it is active.  Few programs need to use
these functions, however.  A command designed to operate on a region
should normally use @code{interactive} with the @samp{r} specification
to find the beginning and end of the region.  This lets other Lisp
programs specify the bounds explicitly as arguments and automatically
respects the user's setting for @code{zmacs-regions}.
(@xref{Interactive Codes}.)

@defun region-beginning &optional buffer
This function returns the position of the beginning of @var{buffer}'s
region (as an integer).  This is the position of either point or the
mark, whichever is smaller.  @var{buffer} defaults to the current buffer
if omitted.

If the mark does not point anywhere, an error is signaled.  Note that
this function ignores whether the region is active.
@end defun

@defun region-end &optional buffer
This function returns the position of the end of @var{buffer}'s region
(as an integer).  This is the position of either point or the mark,
whichever is larger.  @var{buffer} defaults to the current buffer if
omitted.

If the mark does not point anywhere, an error is signaled.  Note that
this function ignores whether the region is active.
@end defun

@defun region-exists-p
This function is non-@code{nil} if the region exists.  If active regions
are in use (i.e. @code{zmacs-regions} is true), this means that the
region is active.  Otherwise, this means that the user has pushed a mark
in this buffer at some point in the past.  If this function returns @code{nil},
a function that uses the @samp{r} interactive specification will cause
an error when called interactively.
@end defun

@defun region-active-p
If @code{zmacs-regions} is true, this is equivalent to
@code{region-exists-p}.  Otherwise, this function always returns false.
This function is used by commands such as @code{fill-paragraph-or-region}
and @code{capitalize-region-or-word}, which operate either on the active
region or on something else (e.g. the word or paragraph at point).
@end defun

@defvar zmacs-region-stays
If a command sets this variable to true, the currently active region
will remain activated when the command finishes. (Normally the region is
deactivated when each command terminates.) If @code{zmacs-regions} is
false, however, this has no effect.  Under normal circumstances, you do
not need to set this; use the interactive specification @samp{_}
instead, if you want the region to remain active.
@end defvar

@defun zmacs-activate-region
This function activates the region in the current buffer (this is
equivalent to activating the current buffer's mark).  This will normally
also highlight the text in the active region and set
@code{zmacs-region-stays} to @code{t}. (If @code{zmacs-regions} is
false, however, this function has no effect.)
@end defun

@defun zmacs-deactivate-region
This function deactivates the region in the current buffer (this is
equivalent to deactivating the current buffer's mark).  This will
normally also unhighlight the text in the active region and set
@code{zmacs-region-stays} to @code{nil}. (If @code{zmacs-regions} is
false, however, this function has no effect.)
@end defun

@defun zmacs-update-region
This function updates the active region, if it's currently active.  (If
there is no active region, this function does nothing.) This has the
effect of updating the highlighting on the text in the region; but you
should never need to call this except under rather strange
circumstances.  The command loop automatically calls it when
appropriate.  Calling this function will call the hook
@code{zmacs-update-region-hook}, if the region is active.
@end defun

@defvar zmacs-activate-region-hook
This normal hook is called when a region becomes active. (Usually this
happens as a result of a command that activates the region, such as
@code{set-mark-command}, @code{activate-region}, or
@code{exchange-point-and-mark}.) Note that calling
@file{zmacs-activate-region} will call this hook, even if the region is
already active.  If @code{zmacs-regions} is false, however, this hook
will never get called under any circumstances.
@end defvar

@defvar zmacs-deactivate-region-hook
This normal hook is called when an active region becomes inactive.
(Calling @file{zmacs-deactivate-region} when the region is inactive will
@emph{not} cause this hook to be called.)  If @code{zmacs-regions} is
false, this hook will never get called.
@end defvar

@defvar zmacs-update-region-hook
This normal hook is called when an active region is "updated" by
@code{zmacs-update-region}.  This normally gets called at the end
of each command that sets @code{zmacs-region-stays} to @code{t},
indicating that the region should remain activated.  The motion
commands do this.
@end defvar