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 GETLINE(3)                                                       GETLINE(3)

      getline - command-line editing library with history

      char *getline(char *prompt);

      void gl_histadd(char *line);
      void gl_setwidth(int width);
      void gl_strwidth(int (*width_func)());

      extern int (*gl_in_hook)(char *buf);
      extern int (*gl_out_hook)(char *buf);
      extern int (*gl_tab_hook)(char *buf, int prompt_width, int

      The getline package is a set of library routines that implement an
      editable command-line history.

      Programming Interface
      getline returns a pointer to a line of text read from the user,
      prompting the user with the specified prompt.  The pointer refers to a
      static buffer allocated by the getline package.  Clients may assume
      that the pointer getline returns is always the same, and is never
      NULL.  The buffer getline returns to the caller contains the
      terminating newline character, except on end of file, in which case
      the first character in the buffer is 0 (NUL).  File descriptors 0 and
      1 must be connected to the terminal (not redirected), so the caller
      should check for this condition (using isatty()) and call stdio
      routines if the session is not interactive.

      gl_histadd adds the given line to the getline history list if the line
      is not empty and if it is different from the last line in the history
      list (so the caller need not check for these conditions).  gl_histadd
      makes its own copies of all the lines it adds to the history list.
      This is so the caller can reuse the buffer it supplies to gl_histadd.

      gl_setwidth specifies the terminal width to use for horizontal
      scrolling.  The default value is 80 columns, and it is important to
      properly specify the width or lines may wrap inadvertently.

      gl_strwidth allows the application program to supply a prompt string
      width calculation function that returns the number of screen positions
      used by the argument string. By default strlen is used, but if the
      prompt contains escape sequences the user can bind a function that
      returns the actual number of screen postitions used by the argument
      string, not including the escape characters.

      In addition to the function call interface, getline has three
      externally accessible function pointers that act as hooks if bound to
      user-defined functions.  getline supplies each of the functions with a

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 GETLINE(3)                                                       GETLINE(3)

      pointer to the current buffer as the first argument, and expects the
      return value to be the index of the first change the function made in
      the buffer (or -1 if the function did not alter the buffer).  After
      the functions return, getline updates the screen as necessary.  Note
      that the functions may not alter the size of the buffer.  Indeed, they
      do not even know how large the buffer is!

      getline calls gl_in_hook (initially NULL) each time it loads a new
      buffer.  More precisely, this is

      +    at the first call to getline (with an empty buffer)

      +    each time the user enters a new buffer from the history list
           (with ^P or ^N)

      +    when the user accepts an incremental search string (when the user
           terminates the search).

      getline calls gl_out_hook (initially NULL) when a line has been
      completed by the user entering a NEWLINE (^J) or RETURN (^M).  The
      buffer gl_out_hook sees does not yet have the newline appended, and
      gl_out_hook should not add a newline.

      getline calls gl_tab_hook whenever the user types a TAB.  In addition
      to the buffer, getline supplies the current prompt_width (presumably
      needed for tabbing calculations) and cursor_loc, a pointer to the
      cursor location.  (*cursor_loc = 0 corresponds to the first character
      in the buffer) *cursor_loc tells gl_tab_hook where the TAB was typed.
      Note that when it redraws the screen, getline will honor any change
      gl_tab_hook may make to *cursor_loc.  Note also that prompt_width may
      not correspond to the actual width of prompt on the screen if prompt
      contains escape sequences.  gl_tab_hook is initially bound to the
      getline internal static function gl_tab, which acts like a normal TAB
      key by inserting spaces.

      User Interface
      To edit, the user moves the cursor to the point needing correction and
      then inserts or deletes characters or words as needed.  All the
      editing commands are control characters, which typed by holding the
      CTRL key down while typing another character.  Control characters are
      indicated below as the caret (^) followed by another character, such
      as ^A.

      All edit commands operate from any place on the line, not just at the

      These are the getline key bindings.

             ^A   Move cursor to beginning of line.
             ^B   Move cursor left (back) 1 column.

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 GETLINE(3)                                                       GETLINE(3)

          ESC-B   Move cursor back one word.
             ^D   Delete the character under the cursor.
             ^E   Move cursor to end of line.
             ^F   Move cursor right (forward) 1 column.
          ESC-F   Move cursor forward one word.
             ^H   Delete the character left of the cursor.@
             ^I   Jump to next tab stop (may be redefined by the program).
             ^J   Return the current line.
             ^K   Kill from cursor to the end of the line (see ^Y).
             ^L   Redisplay current line.
             ^M   Return the current line.
             ^N   Fetches next line from the history list.
             ^O   Toggle overwrite/insert mode, initially in insert mode.
             ^P   Fetches previous line from the history list.
             ^R   Begin a reverse incremental search through history list.
                  Each printing character typed adds to the search substring
                  (initially empty), and getline finds and displays the
                  first matching location.  Typing ^R again marks the
                  current starting location and begins a new search for the
                  current substring.  Typing ^H or DEL deletes the last
                  character from the search string, and getline restarts the
                  search from the last starting location.  Repeated ^H or
                  DEL characters therefore appear to unwind the search to
                  the match nearest the point where the user last typed ^R
                  or ^S.  Typing ^H or DEL until the search string is empty
                  causes getline to reset the start of the search to the
                  beginning of the history list.  Typing ESC or any other
                  editing character accepts the current match and terminates
                  the search.
             ^S   Begin a forward incremental search through the history
                  list.  The behavior is like that of ^R but in the opposite
                  direction through the history list.
             ^T   Transpose current and previous character.
             ^U   Kill the entire line (see ^Y).
             ^Y   Yank previously killed text back at current location.
      BACKSPACE   Delete the character left of the cursor.
            DEL   Delete the character left of the cursor.
         RETURN   Return the current line.
            TAB   Jump to next tab stop (may be redefined by the program).

      getline recognizes DOS and ANSI arrow keys.  They cause the following
      actions: up is the same as ^P, down is the same as ^N, left is the
      same as ^P, and right is the same as ^F.

      Program by Christopher R. Thewalt (

      Original man page by DaviD W. Sanderson ( and
      Christopher R. Thewalt

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 GETLINE(3)                                                       GETLINE(3)


      (C) Copyright 1992,1993 by Christopher R. Thewalt and DaviD W.
      Sanderson (but freely redistributable)

                                    - 4 -          Formatted:  June 23, 2024