GNU Emacs Common Lisp Emulation
This file documents the GNU Emacs Common Lisp emulation package.
Copyright © 1993, 2001–2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being “A GNU Manual”, and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.
(a) The FSF’s Back-Cover Text is: “You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual.”
|Overview||Basics, usage, organization, naming conventions.|
|Program Structure||Arglists, |
|Predicates||Type predicates and equality predicates.|
|Control Structure||Assignment, conditionals, blocks, looping.|
|Macros||Destructuring, compiler macros.|
|Symbols||Property lists, creating symbols.|
|Numbers||Predicates, functions, random numbers.|
|Sequences||Mapping, functions, searching, sorting.|
|Lists||Functions, substitution, sets, associations.|
|Assertions||Assertions and type checking.|
|Efficiency Concerns||Hints and techniques.|
|Common Lisp Compatibility||All known differences with Steele.|
|Porting Common Lisp||Hints for porting Common Lisp code.|
|Obsolete Features||Obsolete features.|
|GNU Free Documentation License||The license for this documentation.|
|Function Index||An entry for each documented function.|
|Variable Index||An entry for each documented variable.|
This document describes a set of Emacs Lisp facilities borrowed from Common Lisp. All the facilities are described here in detail. While this document does not assume any prior knowledge of Common Lisp, it does assume a basic familiarity with Emacs Lisp.
Common Lisp is a huge language, and Common Lisp systems tend to be massive and extremely complex. Emacs Lisp, by contrast, is rather minimalist in the choice of Lisp features it offers the programmer. As Emacs Lisp programmers have grown in number, and the applications they write have grown more ambitious, it has become clear that Emacs Lisp could benefit from many of the conveniences of Common Lisp.
The CL package adds a number of Common Lisp functions and control structures to Emacs Lisp. While not a 100% complete implementation of Common Lisp, it adds enough functionality to make Emacs Lisp programming significantly more convenient.
Some Common Lisp features have been omitted from this package for various reasons:
- Some features are too complex or bulky relative to their benefit to Emacs Lisp programmers. CLOS and Common Lisp streams are fine examples of this group. (The separate package EIEIO implements a subset of CLOS functionality. See Introduction in EIEIO.)
- Other features cannot be implemented without modification to the Emacs Lisp interpreter itself, such as multiple return values, case-insensitive symbols, and complex numbers. This package generally makes no attempt to emulate these features.
This package was originally written by Dave Gillespie, firstname.lastname@example.org, as a total rewrite of an earlier 1986 cl.el package by Cesar Quiroz. Care has been taken to ensure that each function is defined efficiently, concisely, and with minimal impact on the rest of the Emacs environment. Stefan Monnier added the file cl-lib.el and rationalized the namespace for Emacs 24.3.
|• Usage:||How to use this package.|
|• Organization:||The package’s component files.|
|• Naming Conventions:||Notes on function names.|
This package is distributed with Emacs, so there is no need to install any additional files in order to start using it. Lisp code that uses features from this package should simply include at the beginning:
You may wish to add such a statement to your init file, if you make frequent use of features from this package.
Code that only uses macros from this package can enclose the above in
eval-when-compile. Internally, this library is divided into
several files, see Organization. Your code should only ever load
the main cl-lib file, which will load the others as needed.
The Common Lisp package is organized into four main files:
This is the main file, which contains basic functions and information about the package. This file is relatively compact.
This file contains the larger, more complex or unusual functions. It is kept separate so that packages which only want to use Common Lisp fundamentals like the
cl-incffunction won’t need to pay the overhead of loading the more advanced functions.
This file contains most of the advanced functions for operating on sequences or lists, such as
This file contains the features that are macros instead of functions. Macros expand when the caller is compiled, not when it is run, so the macros generally only need to be present when the byte-compiler is running (or when the macros are used in uncompiled code). Most of the macros of this package are isolated in cl-macs.el so that they won’t take up memory unless you are compiling.
The file cl-lib.el includes all necessary
commands for the functions and macros in the other three files.
All you have to do is
(require 'cl-lib), and cl-lib.el
will take care of pulling in the other files when they are
There is another file, cl.el, which was the main entry point to
this package prior to Emacs 24.3. Nowadays, it is replaced by
cl-lib.el. The two provide the same features (in most cases),
but use different function names (in fact, cl.el mainly just
defines aliases to the cl-lib.el definitions). Where
cl-lib.el defines a function called, for example,
cl-incf, cl.el uses the same name but without the
‘cl-’ prefix, e.g.,
incf in this example. There are a few
exceptions to this. First, functions such as
the unprefixed version was already used for a standard Emacs Lisp
function. In such cases, the cl.el version adds a ‘*’
defun*. Second, there are some obsolete features
that are only implemented in cl.el, not in cl-lib.el,
because they are replaced by other standard Emacs Lisp features.
Finally, in a very few cases the old cl.el versions do not
behave in exactly the same way as the cl-lib.el versions.
See Obsolete Features.
Since the old cl.el does not use a clean namespace, Emacs has a
policy that packages distributed with Emacs must not load
run time. (It is ok for them to load
cl at compile
eval-when-compile, and use the macros it provides.)
There is no such restriction on the use of
cl-lib. New code
cl-lib rather than
There is one more file, cl-compat.el, which defines some routines from the older Quiroz cl.el package that are not otherwise present in the new package. This file is obsolete and should not be used in new code.
1.3 Naming Conventions
Except where noted, all functions defined by this package have the same calling conventions as their Common Lisp counterparts, and names that are those of Common Lisp plus a ‘cl-’ prefix.
Internal function and variable names in the package are prefixed
cl--. Here is a complete list of functions prefixed by
cl- that were not taken from Common Lisp:
cl-callf cl-callf2 cl-defsubst cl-letf cl-letf*
The following simple functions and macros are defined in cl-lib.el; they do not cause other components like cl-extra to be loaded.
cl-evenp cl-oddp cl-minusp cl-plusp cl-endp cl-subst cl-copy-list cl-list* cl-ldiff cl-rest cl-decf  cl-incf  cl-acons cl-adjoin  cl-pairlis cl-pushnew [1,2] cl-declaim cl-proclaim cl-caaar…cl-cddddr cl-first…cl-tenth cl-mapcar 
 Only when place is a plain variable name.
 Only if
equal, or unspecified,
:key is not used.
 Only for one sequence argument or two list arguments.
2 Program Structure
This section describes features of this package that have to
do with programs as a whole: advanced argument lists for functions,
|• Argument Lists:|
|• Time of Evaluation:||The |
2.1 Argument Lists
Emacs Lisp’s notation for argument lists of functions is a subset of
the Common Lisp notation. As well as the familiar
&rest markers, Common Lisp allows you to specify default
values for optional arguments, and it provides the additional markers
Since argument parsing is built-in to Emacs, there is no way for this package to implement Common Lisp argument lists seamlessly. Instead, this package defines alternates for several Lisp forms which you must use if you need Common Lisp argument lists.
- Macro: cl-defun name arglist body…
This form is identical to the regular
defunform, except that arglist is allowed to be a full Common Lisp argument list. Also, the function body is enclosed in an implicit block called name; see Blocks and Exits.
- Macro: cl-iter-defun name arglist body…
This form is identical to the regular
iter-defunform, except that arglist is allowed to be a full Common Lisp argument list. Also, the function body is enclosed in an implicit block called name; see Blocks and Exits.
- Macro: cl-defsubst name arglist body…
This is just like
cl-defun, except that the function that is defined is automatically proclaimed
inline, i.e., calls to it may be expanded into in-line code by the byte compiler. This is analogous to the
cl-defsubstuses a different method (compiler macros) which works in all versions of Emacs, and also generates somewhat more efficient inline expansions. In particular,
cl-defsubstarranges for the processing of keyword arguments, default values, etc., to be done at compile-time whenever possible.
- Macro: cl-defmacro name arglist body…
This is identical to the regular
defmacroform, except that arglist is allowed to be a full Common Lisp argument list. The
&environmentkeyword is supported as described in Steele’s book Common Lisp, the Language. The
&wholekeyword is supported only within destructured lists (see below); top-level
&wholecannot be implemented with the current Emacs Lisp interpreter. The macro expander body is enclosed in an implicit block called name.
- Macro: cl-function symbol-or-lambda
This is identical to the regular
functionform, except that if the argument is a
lambdaform then that form may use a full Common Lisp argument list.
Also, all forms (such as
in this package that include arglists in their syntax allow
full Common Lisp argument lists.
Note that it is not necessary to use
order to have access to most CL features in your function.
These features are always present;
defun is its more flexible argument
lists and its implicit block.
The full form of a Common Lisp argument list is
(var… &optional (var initform svar)… &rest var &key ((keyword var) initform svar)… &aux (var initform)…)
Each of the five argument list sections is optional. The svar, initform, and keyword parts are optional; if they are omitted, then ‘(var)’ may be written simply ‘var’.
The first section consists of zero or more required arguments. These arguments must always be specified in a call to the function; there is no difference between Emacs Lisp and Common Lisp as far as required arguments are concerned.
The second section consists of optional arguments. These
arguments may be specified in the function call; if they are not,
initform specifies the default value used for the argument.
(No initform means to use
nil as the default.) The
initform is evaluated with the bindings for the preceding
arguments already established;
(a &optional (b (1+ a)))
matches one or two arguments, with the second argument defaulting
to one plus the first argument. If the svar is specified,
it is an auxiliary variable which is bound to
t if the optional
argument was specified, or to
nil if the argument was omitted.
If you don’t use an svar, then there will be no way for your
function to tell whether it was called with no argument, or with
the default value passed explicitly as an argument.
The third section consists of a single rest argument. If
more arguments were passed to the function than are accounted for
by the required and optional arguments, those extra arguments are
collected into a list and bound to the “rest” argument variable.
&rest is equivalent to that of Emacs Lisp.
Common Lisp accepts
&body as a synonym for
macro contexts; this package accepts it all the time.
The fourth section consists of keyword arguments. These are optional arguments which are specified by name rather than positionally in the argument list. For example,
(cl-defun foo (a &optional b &key c d (e 17)))
defines a function which may be called with one, two, or more
arguments. The first two arguments are bound to
b in the usual way. The remaining arguments must be
pairs of the form
by the value to be bound to the corresponding argument variable.
(Symbols whose names begin with a colon are called keywords,
and they are self-quoting in the same way as
For example, the call
(foo 1 2 :d 3 :c 4) sets the five
arguments to 1, 2, 4, 3, and 17, respectively. If the same keyword
appears more than once in the function call, the first occurrence
takes precedence over the later ones. Note that it is not possible
to specify keyword arguments without specifying the optional
b as well, since
(foo 1 :c 2) would bind
b to the keyword
:c, then signal an error because
2 is not a valid keyword.
You can also explicitly specify the keyword argument; it need not be simply the variable name prefixed with a colon. For example,
(cl-defun bar (&key (a 1) ((baz b) 4)))
specifies a keyword
:a that sets the variable
default value 1, as well as a keyword
baz that sets the
b with default value 4. In this case, because
baz is not self-quoting, you must quote it explicitly in the
function call, like this:
(bar :a 10 'baz 42)
Ordinarily, it is an error to pass an unrecognized keyword to
a function, e.g.,
(foo 1 2 :c 3 :goober 4). You can ask
Lisp to ignore unrecognized keywords, either by adding the
&allow-other-keys after the keyword section
of the argument list, or by specifying an
argument in the call whose value is non-
nil. If the
function uses both
&key at the same time,
the “rest” argument is bound to the keyword list as it appears
in the call. For example:
(cl-defun find-thing (thing &rest rest &key need &allow-other-keys) (or (apply 'cl-member thing thing-list :allow-other-keys t rest) (if need (error "Thing not found"))))
This function takes a
:need keyword argument, but also
accepts other keyword arguments which are passed on to the
allow-other-keys is used to
cl-member from complaining
about each others’ keywords in the arguments.
The fifth section of the argument list consists of auxiliary
variables. These are not really arguments at all, but simply
variables which are bound to
nil or to the specified
initforms during execution of the function. There is no
difference between the following two functions, except for a
matter of stylistic taste:
(cl-defun foo (a b &aux (c (+ a b)) d) body) (cl-defun foo (a b) (let ((c (+ a b)) d) body))
Argument lists support destructuring. In Common Lisp,
destructuring is only allowed with
defmacro; this package
allows it with
cl-defun and other argument lists as well.
In destructuring, any argument variable (var in the above
example) can be replaced by a list of variables, or more generally,
a recursive argument list. The corresponding argument value must
be a list whose elements match this recursive argument list.
(cl-defmacro dolist ((var listform &optional resultform) &rest body) …)
This says that the first argument of
dolist must be a list
of two or three items; if there are other arguments as well as this
list, they are stored in
body. All features allowed in
regular argument lists are allowed in these recursive argument lists.
In addition, the clause ‘&whole var’ is allowed at the
front of a recursive argument list. It binds var to the
whole list being matched; thus
(&whole all a b) matches
a list of two things, with
a bound to the first thing,
b bound to the second thing, and
all bound to the
list itself. (Common Lisp allows
&whole in top-level
defmacro argument lists as well, but Emacs Lisp does not
support this usage.)
One last feature of destructuring is that the argument list may be
dotted, so that the argument list
(a b . c) is functionally
(a b &rest c).
If the optimization quality
safety is set to 0
(see Declarations), error checking for wrong number of
arguments and invalid keyword arguments is disabled. By default,
argument lists are rigorously checked.
2.2 Time of Evaluation
Normally, the byte-compiler does not actually execute the forms in
a file it compiles. For example, if a file contains
(setq foo t),
the act of compiling it will not actually set
This is true even if the
setq was a top-level form (i.e., not
enclosed in a
defun or other form). Sometimes, though, you
would like to have certain top-level forms evaluated at compile-time.
For example, the compiler effectively evaluates
at compile-time so that later parts of the file can refer to the
macros that are defined.
- Macro: cl-eval-when (situations…) forms…
This form controls when the body forms are evaluated. The situations list may contain any set of the symbols
eval(or their long-winded ANSI equivalents,
cl-eval-whenform is handled differently depending on whether or not it is being compiled as a top-level form. Specifically, it gets special treatment if it is being compiled by a command such as
byte-compile-filewhich compiles files or buffers of code, and it appears either literally at the top level of the file or inside a top-level
For compiled top-level
cl-eval-whens, the body forms are executed at compile-time if
compileis in the situations list, and the forms are written out to the file (to be executed at load-time) if
loadis in the situations list.
For non-compiled-top-level forms, only the
evalsituation is relevant. (This includes forms executed by the interpreter, forms compiled with
byte-compile-file, and non-top-level forms.) The
cl-eval-whenacts like a
evalis specified, and like
nil(ignoring the body forms) if not.
The rules become more subtle when
cl-eval-whens are nested; consult Steele (second edition) for the gruesome details (and some gruesome examples).
Some simple examples:
;; Top-level forms in foo.el: (cl-eval-when (compile) (setq foo1 'bar)) (cl-eval-when (load) (setq foo2 'bar)) (cl-eval-when (compile load) (setq foo3 'bar)) (cl-eval-when (eval) (setq foo4 'bar)) (cl-eval-when (eval compile) (setq foo5 'bar)) (cl-eval-when (eval load) (setq foo6 'bar)) (cl-eval-when (eval compile load) (setq foo7 'bar))
When foo.el is compiled, these variables will be set during the compilation itself:
foo1 foo3 foo5 foo7 ; 'compile'
When foo.elc is loaded, these variables will be set:
foo2 foo3 foo6 foo7 ; 'load'
And if foo.el is loaded uncompiled, these variables will be set:
foo4 foo5 foo6 foo7 ; 'eval'
If these seven
cl-eval-whens had been, say, inside a
defun, then the first three would have been equivalent to
niland the last four would have been equivalent to the corresponding
(cl-eval-when (load eval) …)is equivalent to
(progn …)in all contexts. The compiler treats certain top-level forms, like
require, as if they were wrapped in
(cl-eval-when (compile load eval) …).
Emacs includes two special forms related to
See Eval During Compile in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
One of these,
eval-when-compile, is not quite equivalent to
cl-eval-when construct and is described below.
The other form,
(eval-and-compile …), is exactly
equivalent to ‘(cl-eval-when (compile load eval) …)’.
- Macro: eval-when-compile forms…
The forms are evaluated at compile-time; at execution time, this form acts like a quoted constant of the resulting value. Used at top-level,
eval-when-compileis just like ‘eval-when (compile eval)’. In other contexts,
eval-when-compileallows code to be evaluated once at compile-time for efficiency or other reasons.
This form is similar to the ‘#.’ syntax of true Common Lisp.
- Macro: cl-load-time-value form
The form is evaluated at load-time; at execution time, this form acts like a quoted constant of the resulting value.
Early Common Lisp had a ‘#,’ syntax that was similar to this, but ANSI Common Lisp replaced it with
load-time-valueand gave it more well-defined semantics.
In a compiled file,
cl-load-time-valuearranges for form to be evaluated when the .elc file is loaded and then used as if it were a quoted constant. In code compiled by
byte-compile-file, the effect is identical to
eval-when-compile. In uncompiled code, both
cl-load-time-valueact exactly like
(defun report () (insert "This function was executed on: " (current-time-string) ", compiled on: " (eval-when-compile (current-time-string)) ;; or '#.(current-time-string) in real Common Lisp ", and loaded on: " (cl-load-time-value (current-time-string))))
Byte-compiled, the above defun will result in the following code (or its compiled equivalent, of course) in the .elc file:
(setq --temp-- (current-time-string)) (defun report () (insert "This function was executed on: " (current-time-string) ", compiled on: " '"Wed Oct 31 16:32:28 2012" ", and loaded on: " --temp--))
This section describes functions for testing whether various facts are true or false.
|• Type Predicates:|
|• Equality Predicates:|
3.1 Type Predicates
- Function: cl-typep object type
Check if object is of type type, where type is a (quoted) type name of the sort used by Common Lisp. For example,
(cl-typep foo 'integer)is equivalent to
The type argument to the above function is either a symbol or a list beginning with a symbol.
- If the type name is a symbol, Emacs appends ‘-p’ to the symbol name to form the name of a predicate function for testing the type. (Built-in predicates whose names end in ‘p’ rather than ‘-p’ are used when appropriate.)
- The type symbol
tstands for the union of all types.
(cl-typep object t)is always true. Likewise, the type symbol
nilstands for nothing at all, and
(cl-typep object nil)is always false.
- The type symbol
nullrepresents the symbol
(cl-typep object 'null)is equivalent to
- The type symbol
atomrepresents all objects that are not cons cells. Thus
(cl-typep object 'atom)is equivalent to
- The type symbol
realis a synonym for
fixnumis a synonym for
- The type symbols
string-charmatch integers in the range from 0 to 255.
- The type list
(integer low high)represents all integers between low and high, inclusive. Either bound may be a list of a single integer to specify an exclusive limit, or a
*to specify no limit. The type
(integer * *)is thus equivalent to
- Likewise, lists beginning with
numberrepresent numbers of that type falling in a particular range.
- Lists beginning with
notform combinations of types. For example,
(or integer (float 0 *))represents all objects that are integers or non-negative floats.
- Lists beginning with
eqlto any of the following values. For example,
(member 1 2 3 4)is equivalent to
(integer 1 4), and
(member nil)is equivalent to
- Lists of the form
(satisfies predicate)represent all objects for which predicate returns true when called with that object as an argument.
The following function and macro (not technically predicates) are
- Function: cl-coerce object type
This function attempts to convert object to the specified type. If object is already of that type as determined by
cl-typep, it is simply returned. Otherwise, certain types of conversions will be made: If type is any sequence type (
list, etc.) then object will be converted to that type if possible. If type is
character, then strings of length one and symbols with one-character names can be coerced. If type is
float, then integers can be coerced in versions of Emacs that support floats. In all other circumstances,
cl-coercesignals an error.
- Macro: cl-deftype name arglist forms…
This macro defines a new type called name. It is similar to
defmacroin many ways; when name is encountered as a type name, the body forms are evaluated and should return a type specifier that is equivalent to the type. The arglist is a Common Lisp argument list of the sort accepted by
cl-defmacro. The type specifier ‘(name args…)’ is expanded by calling the expander with those arguments; the type symbol ‘name’ is expanded by calling the expander with no arguments. The arglist is processed the same as for
cl-defmacroexcept that optional arguments without explicit defaults use
nilas the “default” default. Some examples:
(cl-deftype null () '(satisfies null)) ; predefined (cl-deftype list () '(or null cons)) ; predefined (cl-deftype unsigned-byte (&optional bits) (list 'integer 0 (if (eq bits '*) bits (1- (lsh 1 bits))))) (unsigned-byte 8) ≡ (integer 0 255) (unsigned-byte) ≡ (integer 0 *) unsigned-byte ≡ (integer 0 *)
The last example shows how the Common Lisp
unsigned-bytetype specifier could be implemented if desired; this package does not implement
cl-typecase (see Conditionals) and
(see Assertions) macros also use type names. The
cl-merge functions take type-name
arguments to specify the type of sequence to return. See Sequences.
3.2 Equality Predicates
This package defines the Common Lisp predicate
- Function: cl-equalp a b
This function is a more flexible version of
equal. In particular, it compares strings case-insensitively, and it compares numbers without regard to type (so that
(cl-equalp 3 3.0)is true). Vectors and conses are compared recursively. All other objects are compared as if by
This function differs from Common Lisp
equalpin several respects. First, Common Lisp’s
equalpalso compares characters case-insensitively, which would be impractical in this package since Emacs does not distinguish between integers and characters. In keeping with the idea that strings are less vector-like in Emacs Lisp, this package’s
cl-equalpalso will not compare strings against vectors of integers.
Also note that the Common Lisp functions
eql to compare elements, whereas Emacs Lisp follows the
MacLisp tradition and uses
equal for these two functions.
as in Common Lisp. The standard Emacs Lisp functions
eq, and the standard
4 Control Structure
The features described in the following sections implement
various advanced control structures, including extensions to the
setf facility, and a number of looping and conditional
|• Assignment:||The |
|• Generalized Variables:||Extensions to generalized variables.|
|• Variable Bindings:|
|• Blocks and Exits:|
|• Loop Facility:||The Common Lisp |
|• Multiple Values:|
cl-psetq form is just like
setq, except that multiple
assignments are done in parallel rather than sequentially.
- Macro: cl-psetq [symbol form]…
This special form (actually a macro) is used to assign to several variables simultaneously. Given only one symbol and form, it has the same effect as
setq. Given several symbol and form pairs, it evaluates all the forms in advance and then stores the corresponding variables afterwards.
(setq x 2 y 3) (setq x (+ x y) y (* x y)) x ⇒ 5 y ;
ywas computed after
xwas set. ⇒ 15 (setq x 2 y 3) (cl-psetq x (+ x y) y (* x y)) x ⇒ 5 y ;
ywas computed before
xwas set. ⇒ 6
The simplest use of
(cl-psetq x y y x), which exchanges the values of two variables. (The
cl-rotatefform provides an even more convenient way to swap two variables; see Modify Macros.)
4.2 Generalized Variables
A generalized variable or place form is one of the many places in Lisp memory where values can be stored. The simplest place form is a regular Lisp variable. But the CARs and CDRs of lists, elements of arrays, properties of symbols, and many other locations are also places where Lisp values are stored. For basic information, see Generalized Variables in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual. This package provides several additional features related to generalized variables.
|• Setf Extensions:||Additional |
|• Modify Macros:|
4.2.1 Setf Extensions
Several standard (e.g.,
car) and Emacs-specific
window-point) Lisp functions are
setf-able by default.
This package defines
setf handlers for several additional functions:
- Functions from this package:
cl-rest cl-subseq cl-get cl-getf cl-caaar…cl-cddddr cl-first…cl-tenth
Note that for
nthcdr), the list argument of the function must itself be a valid place form.
- General Emacs Lisp functions:
buffer-file-name getenv buffer-modified-p global-key-binding buffer-name local-key-binding buffer-string mark buffer-substring mark-marker current-buffer marker-position current-case-table mouse-position current-column point current-global-map point-marker current-input-mode point-max current-local-map point-min current-window-configuration read-mouse-position default-file-modes screen-height documentation-property screen-width face-background selected-window face-background-pixmap selected-screen face-font selected-frame face-foreground standard-case-table face-underline-p syntax-table file-modes visited-file-modtime frame-height window-height frame-parameters window-width frame-visible-p x-get-secondary-selection frame-width x-get-selection get-register
Most of these have directly corresponding “set” functions, like
point. A few, like
point-min, expand to longer sequences of code when they are used with
(narrow-to-region x (point-max))in this case).
- A call of the form
(substring subplace n [m]), where subplace is itself a valid generalized variable whose current value is a string, and where the value stored is also a string. The new string is spliced into the specified part of the destination string. For example:
(setq a (list "hello" "world")) ⇒ ("hello" "world") (cadr a) ⇒ "world" (substring (cadr a) 2 4) ⇒ "rl" (setf (substring (cadr a) 2 4) "o") ⇒ "o" (cadr a) ⇒ "wood" a ⇒ ("hello" "wood")
The generalized variable
buffer-substring, listed above, also works in this way by replacing a portion of the current buffer.
- A macro call, in which case the macro is expanded and
setfis applied to the resulting form.
setf macro takes care to evaluate all subforms in
the proper left-to-right order; for example,
(setf (aref vec (cl-incf i)) i)
looks like it will evaluate
(cl-incf i) exactly once, before the
following access to
setf expander will insert
temporary variables as necessary to ensure that it does in fact work
this way no matter what setf-method is defined for
(In this case,
aset would be used and no such steps would
be necessary since
aset takes its arguments in a convenient
However, if the place form is a macro which explicitly evaluates its arguments in an unusual order, this unusual order will be preserved. Adapting an example from Steele, given
(defmacro wrong-order (x y) (list 'aref y x))
(setf (wrong-order a b) 17) will
evaluate b first, then a, just as in an actual call
4.2.2 Modify Macros
This package defines a number of macros that operate on generalized variables. Many are interesting and useful even when the place is just a variable name.
- Macro: cl-psetf [place form]…
This macro is to
setq: When several places and forms are involved, the assignments take place in parallel rather than sequentially. Specifically, all subforms are evaluated from left to right, then all the assignments are done (in an undefined order).
- Macro: cl-incf place &optional x
This macro increments the number stored in place by one, or by x if specified. The incremented value is returned. For example,
(cl-incf i)is equivalent to
(setq i (1+ i)), and
(cl-incf (car x) 2)is equivalent to
(setcar x (+ (car x) 2)).
setf, care is taken to preserve the “apparent” order of evaluation. For example,
(cl-incf (aref vec (cl-incf i)))
appears to increment
ionce, then increment the element of
i; this is indeed exactly what it does, which means the above form is not equivalent to the “obvious” expansion,
(setf (aref vec (cl-incf i)) (1+ (aref vec (cl-incf i)))) ; wrong!
but rather to something more like
(let ((temp (cl-incf i))) (setf (aref vec temp) (1+ (aref vec temp))))
Again, all of this is taken care of automatically by
cl-incfand the other generalized-variable macros.
As a more Emacs-specific example of
cl-incf, the expression
(cl-incf (point) n)is essentially equivalent to
- Macro: cl-decf place &optional x
This macro decrements the number stored in place by one, or by x if specified.
- Macro: cl-pushnew x place &key :test :test-not :key
This macro inserts x at the front of the list stored in place, but only if x was not
eqlto any existing element of the list. The optional keyword arguments are interpreted in the same way as for
cl-adjoin. See Lists as Sets.
- Macro: cl-shiftf place… newvalue
This macro shifts the places left by one, shifting in the value of newvalue (which may be any Lisp expression, not just a generalized variable), and returning the value shifted out of the first place. Thus,
(cl-shiftf a b c d)is equivalent to
(prog1 a (cl-psetf a b b c c d))
except that the subforms of a, b, and c are actually evaluated only once each and in the apparent order.
- Macro: cl-rotatef place…
This macro rotates the places left by one in circular fashion. Thus,
(cl-rotatef a b c d)is equivalent to
(cl-psetf a b b c c d d a)
except for the evaluation of subforms.
nil. Note that
(cl-rotatef a b)conveniently exchanges a and b.
The following macros were invented for this package; they have no analogues in Common Lisp.
- Macro: cl-letf (bindings…) forms…
This macro is analogous to
let, but for generalized variables rather than just symbols. Each binding should be of the form
(place value); the original contents of the places are saved, the values are stored in them, and then the body forms are executed. Afterwards, the places are set back to their original saved contents. This cleanup happens even if the forms exit irregularly due to a
throwor an error.
(cl-letf (((point) (point-min)) (a 17)) …)
moves point in the current buffer to the beginning of the buffer, and also binds
ato 17 (as if by a normal
ais just a regular variable). After the body exits,
ais set back to its original value and point is moved back to its original position.
(point)is not quite like a
save-excursion, as the latter effectively saves a marker which tracks insertions and deletions in the buffer. Actually, a
(point-marker)is much closer to this behavior. (
point-markerare equivalent as
setfplaces; each will accept either an integer or a marker as the stored value.)
Since generalized variables look like lists,
let’s shorthand of using ‘foo’ for ‘(foo nil)’ as a binding would be ambiguous in
cl-letfand is not allowed.
However, a binding specifier may be a one-element list ‘(place)’, which is similar to ‘(place place)’. In other words, the place is not disturbed on entry to the body, and the only effect of the
cl-letfis to restore the original value of place afterwards.
Note that in this case, and in fact almost every case, place must have a well-defined value outside the
cl-letfbody. There is essentially only one exception to this, which is place a plain variable with a specified value (such as
(a 17)in the above example).
- Macro: cl-letf* (bindings…) forms…
This macro is to
let: It does the bindings in sequential rather than parallel order.
- Macro: cl-callf function place args…
This is the “generic” modify macro. It calls function, which should be an unquoted function name, macro name, or lambda. It passes place and args as arguments, and assigns the result back to place. For example,
(cl-incf place n)is the same as
(cl-callf + place n). Some more examples:
(cl-callf abs my-number) (cl-callf concat (buffer-name) "<" (number-to-string n) ">") (cl-callf cl-union happy-people (list joe bob) :test 'same-person)
Note again that
cl-callfis an extension to standard Common Lisp.
- Macro: cl-callf2 function arg1 place args…
This macro is like
cl-callf, except that place is the second argument of function rather than the first. For example,
(push x place)is equivalent to
(cl-callf2 cons x place).
cl-callf2 macros serve as building
blocks for other macros like
cl-letf* macros are used in the processing
of symbol macros; see Macro Bindings.
4.3 Variable Bindings
These Lisp forms make bindings to variables and function names,
analogous to Lisp’s built-in
See Modify Macros, for the
cl-letf* forms which
are also related to variable bindings.
|• Dynamic Bindings:||The |
|• Function Bindings:|
|• Macro Bindings:|
4.3.1 Dynamic Bindings
let form binds variables whose names are known
at compile-time. The
cl-progv form provides an easy way to
bind variables whose names are computed at run-time.
- Macro: cl-progv symbols values forms…
This form establishes
let-style variable bindings on a set of variables computed at run-time. The expressions symbols and values are evaluated, and must return lists of symbols and values, respectively. The symbols are bound to the corresponding values for the duration of the body forms. If values is shorter than symbols, the last few symbols are bound to
nil. If symbols is shorter than values, the excess values are ignored.
4.3.2 Function Bindings
These forms make
let-like bindings to functions instead
- Macro: cl-flet (bindings…) forms…
This form establishes
let-style bindings on the function cells of symbols rather than on the value cells. Each binding must be a list of the form ‘(name arglist forms…)’, which defines a function exactly as if it were a
cl-defunform. The function name is defined accordingly but only within the body of the
cl-flet, hiding any external definition if applicable.
The bindings are lexical in scope. This means that all references to the named functions must appear physically within the body of the
Functions defined by
cl-fletmay use the full Common Lisp argument notation supported by
cl-defun; also, the function body is enclosed in an implicit block as if by
cl-defun. See Program Structure.
Note that the cl.el version of this macro behaves slightly differently. In particular, its binding is dynamic rather than lexical. See Obsolete Macros.
- Macro: cl-labels (bindings…) forms…
cl-labelsform is like
cl-flet, except that the function bindings can be recursive. The scoping is lexical, but you can only capture functions in closures if
t. See Closures in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, and Using Lexical Binding in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
Lexical scoping means that all references to the named functions must appear physically within the body of the
cl-labelsform. References may appear both in the body forms of
cl-labelsitself, and in the bodies of the functions themselves. Thus,
cl-labelscan define local recursive functions, or mutually-recursive sets of functions.
A “reference” to a function name is either a call to that function, or a use of its name quoted by
functionto be passed on to, say,
Note that the cl.el version of this macro behaves slightly differently. See Obsolete Macros.
4.3.3 Macro Bindings
These forms create local macros and “symbol macros”.
- Macro: cl-macrolet (bindings…) forms…
This form is analogous to
cl-flet, but for macros instead of functions. Each binding is a list of the same form as the arguments to
cl-defmacro(i.e., a macro name, argument list, and macro-expander forms). The macro is defined accordingly for use within the body of the
Because of the nature of macros,
cl-macroletis always lexically scoped. The
cl-macroletbinding will affect only calls that appear physically within the body forms, possibly after expansion of other macros in the body.
- Macro: cl-symbol-macrolet (bindings…) forms…
This form creates symbol macros, which are macros that look like variable references rather than function calls. Each binding is a list ‘(var expansion)’; any reference to var within the body forms is replaced by expansion.
(setq bar '(5 . 9)) (cl-symbol-macrolet ((foo (car bar))) (cl-incf foo)) bar ⇒ (6 . 9)
setqof a symbol macro is treated the same as a
(setq foo 4)in the above would be equivalent to
(setf foo 4), which in turn expands to
(setf (car bar) 4).
let*binding a symbol macro is treated like a
cl-letf*. This differs from true Common Lisp, where the rules of lexical scoping cause a
letbinding to shadow a
symbol-macroletbinding. In this package, such shadowing does not occur, even when
t. (This behavior predates the addition of lexical binding to Emacs Lisp, and may change in future to respect
lexical-binding.) At present in this package, only
lexical-let*will shadow a symbol macro. See Obsolete Lexical Binding.
There is no analogue of
defmacrofor symbol macros; all symbol macros are local. A typical use of
cl-symbol-macroletis in the expansion of another macro:
(cl-defmacro my-dolist ((x list) &rest body) (let ((var (cl-gensym))) (list 'cl-loop 'for var 'on list 'do (cl-list* 'cl-symbol-macrolet (list (list x (list 'car var))) body)))) (setq mylist '(1 2 3 4)) (my-dolist (x mylist) (cl-incf x)) mylist ⇒ (2 3 4 5)
In this example, the
my-dolistmacro is similar to
dolist(see Iteration) except that the variable
xbecomes a true reference onto the elements of the list. The
my-dolistcall shown here expands to
(cl-loop for G1234 on mylist do (cl-symbol-macrolet ((x (car G1234))) (cl-incf x)))
which in turn expands to
(cl-loop for G1234 on mylist do (cl-incf (car G1234)))
See Loop Facility, for a description of the
cl-loopmacro. This package defines a nonstandard
in-refloop clause that works much like
These conditional forms augment Emacs Lisp’s simple
- Macro: cl-case keyform clause…
This macro evaluates keyform, then compares it with the key values listed in the various clauses. Whichever clause matches the key is executed; comparison is done by
eql. If no clause matches, the
nil. The clauses are of the form
where keylist is a list of key values. If there is exactly one value, and it is not a cons cell or the symbol
t, then it can be used by itself as a keylist without being enclosed in a list. All key values in the
cl-caseform must be distinct. The final clauses may use
tin place of a keylist to indicate a default clause that should be taken if none of the other clauses match. (The symbol
otherwiseis also recognized in place of
t. To make a clause that matches the actual symbol
otherwise, enclose the symbol in a list.)
For example, this expression reads a keystroke, then does one of four things depending on whether it is an ‘a’, a ‘b’, a RET or C-j, or anything else.
(cl-case (read-char) (?a (do-a-thing)) (?b (do-b-thing)) ((?\r ?\n) (do-ret-thing)) (t (do-other-thing)))
- Macro: cl-ecase keyform clause…
This macro is just like
cl-case, except that if the key does not match any of the clauses, an error is signaled rather than simply returning
- Macro: cl-typecase keyform clause…
This macro is a version of
cl-casethat checks for types rather than values. Each clause is of the form ‘(type body…)’. See Type Predicates, for a description of type specifiers. For example,
(cl-typecase x (integer (munch-integer x)) (float (munch-float x)) (string (munch-integer (string-to-int x))) (t (munch-anything x)))
The type specifier
tmatches any type of object; the word
otherwiseis also allowed. To make one clause match any of several types, use an
(or …)type specifier.
- Macro: cl-etypecase keyform clause…
This macro is just like
cl-typecase, except that if the key does not match any of the clauses, an error is signaled rather than simply returning
4.5 Blocks and Exits
Common Lisp blocks provide a non-local exit mechanism very
throw, with lexical scoping.
This package actually implements
in terms of
catch; however, the lexical scoping allows the
byte-compiler to omit the costly
catch step if the
body of the block does not actually
cl-return-from the block.
- Macro: cl-block name forms…
The forms are evaluated as if by a
progn. However, if any of the forms execute
(cl-return-from name), they will jump out and return directly from the
cl-blockreturns the result of the last form unless a
cl-return-frommechanism is quite similar to the
throwmechanism. The main differences are that block names are unevaluated symbols, rather than forms (such as quoted symbols) that evaluate to a tag at run-time; and also that blocks are always lexically scoped. In a dynamically scoped
catch, functions called from the
catchbody can also
catch. This is not an option for
cl-block, where the
cl-return-fromreferring to a block name must appear physically within the forms that make up the body of the block. They may not appear within other called functions, although they may appear within macro expansions or
lambdas in the body. Block names and
catchnames form independent name-spaces.
In true Common Lisp,
defmacrosurround the function or expander bodies with implicit blocks with the same name as the function or macro. This does not occur in Emacs Lisp, but this package provides
cl-defmacroforms, which do create the implicit block.
The Common Lisp looping constructs defined by this package, such as
cl-dolist, also create implicit blocks just as in Common Lisp.
Because they are implemented in terms of Emacs Lisp’s
throw, blocks have the same overhead as actual
catchconstructs (roughly two function calls). However, the byte compiler will optimize away the
catchif the block does not in fact contain any
cl-return-fromcalls that jump to it. This means that
cl-defunfunctions that don’t use
cl-returndon’t pay the overhead to support it.
- Macro: cl-return-from name [result]
This macro returns from the block named name, which must be an (unevaluated) symbol. If a result form is specified, it is evaluated to produce the result returned from the
- Macro: cl-return [result]
This macro is exactly like
(cl-return-from nil result). Common Lisp loops like
cl-dolistimplicitly enclose themselves in
- Macro: cl-tagbody &rest labels-or-statements
This macro executes statements while allowing for control transfer to user-defined labels. Each element of labels-or-statements can be either a label (an integer or a symbol), or a cons-cell (a statement). This distinction is made before macroexpansion. Statements are executed in sequence, discarding any return value. Any statement can transfer control at any time to the statements that follow one of the labels with the special form
(go label). Labels have lexical scope and dynamic extent.
The macros described here provide more sophisticated, high-level looping constructs to complement Emacs Lisp’s basic loop forms (see Iteration in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual).
- Macro: cl-loop forms…
This package supports both the simple, old-style meaning of
loopand the extremely powerful and flexible feature known as the Loop Facility or Loop Macro. This more advanced facility is discussed in the following section; see Loop Facility. The simple form of
loopis described here.
cl-loopis followed by zero or more Lisp expressions, then
(cl-loop exprs…)simply creates an infinite loop executing the expressions over and over. The loop is enclosed in an implicit
(cl-loop (foo) (if (no-more) (return 72)) (bar))
is exactly equivalent to
(cl-block nil (while t (foo) (if (no-more) (return 72)) (bar)))
If any of the expressions are plain symbols, the loop is instead interpreted as a Loop Macro specification as described later. (This is not a restriction in practice, since a plain symbol in the above notation would simply access and throw away the value of a variable.)
- Macro: cl-do (spec…) (end-test [result…]) forms…
This macro creates a general iterative loop. Each spec is of the form
(var [init [step]])
The loop works as follows: First, each var is bound to the associated init value as if by a
letform. Then, in each iteration of the loop, the end-test is evaluated; if true, the loop is finished. Otherwise, the body forms are evaluated, then each var is set to the associated step expression (as if by a
cl-psetqform) and the next iteration begins. Once the end-test becomes true, the result forms are evaluated (with the vars still bound to their values) to produce the result returned by
cl-doloop is enclosed in an implicit
nilblock, so that you can use
(cl-return)to break out of the loop at any time.
If there are no result forms, the loop returns
nil. If a given var has no step form, it is bound to its init value but not otherwise modified during the
cl-doloop (unless the code explicitly modifies it); this case is just a shorthand for putting a
(let ((var init)) …)around the loop. If init is also omitted it defaults to
nil, and in this case a plain ‘var’ can be used in place of ‘(var)’, again following the analogy with
This example (from Steele) illustrates a loop that applies the function
fto successive pairs of values from the lists
bar; it is equivalent to the call
(cl-mapcar 'f foo bar). Note that this loop has no body forms at all, performing all its work as side effects of the rest of the loop.
(cl-do ((x foo (cdr x)) (y bar (cdr y)) (z nil (cons (f (car x) (car y)) z))) ((or (null x) (null y)) (nreverse z)))
- Macro: cl-do* (spec…) (end-test [result…]) forms…
This is to
let. In particular, the initial values are bound as if by
let, and the steps are assigned as if by
Here is another way to write the above loop:
(cl-do* ((xp foo (cdr xp)) (yp bar (cdr yp)) (x (car xp) (car xp)) (y (car yp) (car yp)) z) ((or (null xp) (null yp)) (nreverse z)) (push (f x y) z))
- Macro: cl-dolist (var list [result]) forms…
This is exactly like the standard Emacs Lisp macro
dolist, but surrounds the loop with an implicit
- Macro: cl-dotimes (var count [result]) forms…
This is exactly like the standard Emacs Lisp macro
dotimes, but surrounds the loop with an implicit
nilblock. The body is executed with var bound to the integers from zero (inclusive) to count (exclusive), in turn. Then the
resultform is evaluated with var bound to the total number of iterations that were done (i.e.,
(max 0 count)) to get the return value for the loop form.
- Macro: cl-do-symbols (var [obarray [result]]) forms…
This loop iterates over all interned symbols. If obarray is specified and is not
nil, it loops over all symbols in that obarray. For each symbol, the body forms are evaluated with var bound to that symbol. The symbols are visited in an unspecified order. Afterward the result form, if any, is evaluated (with var bound to
nil) to get the return value. The loop is surrounded by an implicit
- Macro: cl-do-all-symbols (var [result]) forms…
This is identical to
cl-do-symbolsexcept that the obarray argument is omitted; it always iterates over the default obarray.
See Mapping over Sequences, for some more functions for iterating over vectors or lists.
4.7 Loop Facility
A common complaint with Lisp’s traditional looping constructs was
that they were either too simple and limited, such as
while, or too unreadable and obscure, like Common Lisp’s
To remedy this, Common Lisp added a construct called the “Loop
Facility” or “
loop macro”, with an easy-to-use but very
powerful and expressive syntax.
|• Loop Basics:||The |
|• Loop Examples:||Working examples of the |
|• For Clauses:||Clauses introduced by |
|• Iteration Clauses:|
|• Accumulation Clauses:|
|• Other Clauses:|
4.7.1 Loop Basics
cl-loop macro essentially creates a mini-language within
Lisp that is specially tailored for describing loops. While this
language is a little strange-looking by the standards of regular Lisp,
it turns out to be very easy to learn and well-suited to its purpose.
cl-loop is a macro, all parsing of the loop language
takes place at byte-compile time; compiled
cl-loops are just
as efficient as the equivalent
while loops written longhand.
- Macro: cl-loop clauses…
A loop construct consists of a series of clauses, each introduced by a symbol like
do. Clauses are simply strung together in the argument list of
cl-loop, with minimal extra parentheses. The various types of clauses specify initializations, such as the binding of temporary variables, actions to be taken in the loop, stepping actions, and final cleanup.
Common Lisp specifies a certain general order of clauses in a loop:
(loop name-clause var-clauses… action-clauses…)
The name-clause optionally gives a name to the implicit block that surrounds the loop. By default, the implicit block is named
nil. The var-clauses specify what variables should be bound during the loop, and how they should be modified or iterated throughout the course of the loop. The action-clauses are things to be done during the loop, such as computing, collecting, and returning values.
The Emacs version of the
cl-loopmacro is less restrictive about the order of clauses, but things will behave most predictably if you put the variable-binding clauses
repeatbefore the action clauses. As in Common Lisp,
finallyclauses can go anywhere.
Loops generally return
nilby default, but you can cause them to return a value by using an accumulation clause like
collect, an end-test clause like
always, or an explicit
returnclause to jump out of the implicit block. (Because the loop body is enclosed in an implicit block, you can also use regular Lisp
cl-return-fromto break out of the loop.)
The following sections give some examples of the loop macro in action, and describe the particular loop clauses in great detail. Consult the second edition of Steele for additional discussion and examples.
4.7.2 Loop Examples
Before listing the full set of clauses that are allowed, let’s
look at a few example loops just to get a feel for the
(cl-loop for buf in (buffer-list) collect (buffer-file-name buf))
This loop iterates over all Emacs buffers, using the list
buffer-list. For each buffer buf,
buffer-file-name and collects the results into
a list, which is then returned from the
The result is a list of the file names of all the buffers in
Emacs’s memory. The words
are reserved words in the
(cl-loop repeat 20 do (insert "Yowsa\n"))
This loop inserts the phrase “Yowsa” twenty times in the current buffer.
(cl-loop until (eobp) do (munch-line) (forward-line 1))
This loop calls
munch-line on every line until the end
of the buffer. If point is already at the end of the buffer,
the loop exits immediately.
(cl-loop do (munch-line) until (eobp) do (forward-line 1))
This loop is similar to the above one, except that
is always called at least once.
(cl-loop for x from 1 to 100 for y = (* x x) until (>= y 729) finally return (list x (= y 729)))
This more complicated loop searches for a number
square is 729. For safety’s sake it only examines
values up to 100; dropping the phrase ‘to 100’ would
cause the loop to count upwards with no limit. The second
for clause defines
y to be the square of
within the loop; the expression after the
= sign is
reevaluated each time through the loop. The
clause gives a condition for terminating the loop, and the
finally clause says what to do when the loop finishes.
(This particular example was written less concisely than it
could have been, just for the sake of illustration.)
Note that even though this loop contains three clauses (two
fors and an
until) that would have been enough to
define loops all by themselves, it still creates a single loop
rather than some sort of triple-nested loop. You must explicitly
cl-loop constructs if you want nested loops.
4.7.3 For Clauses
Most loops are governed by one or more
for clause simultaneously describes variables to be
bound, how those variables are to be stepped during the loop,
and usually an end condition based on those variables.
as is a synonym for the word
word is followed by a variable name, then a word like
across that describes the kind of iteration desired.
In Common Lisp, the phrase
being the sometimes precedes
the type of iteration; in this package both
the are optional. The word
each is a synonym
the, and the word that follows it may be singular
or plural: ‘for x being the elements of y’ or
‘for x being each element of y’. Which form you use
is purely a matter of style.
The variable is bound around the loop as if by
(setq i 'happy) (cl-loop for i from 1 to 10 do (do-something-with i)) i ⇒ happy
for var from expr1 to expr2 by expr3
This type of
forclause creates a counting loop. Each of the three sub-terms is optional, though there must be at least one term so that the clause is marked as a counting clause.
The three expressions are the starting value, the ending value, and the step value, respectively, of the variable. The loop counts upwards by default (expr3 must be positive), from expr1 to expr2 inclusively. If you omit the
fromterm, the loop counts from zero; if you omit the
toterm, the loop counts forever without stopping (unless stopped by some other loop clause, of course); if you omit the
byterm, the loop counts in steps of one.
You can replace the word
downfromto indicate the direction of the loop. Likewise, you can replace
downto. For example, ‘for x from 5 downto 1’ executes five times with
xtaking on the integers from 5 down to 1 in turn. Also, you can replace
above, which are like
downtorespectively except that they are exclusive rather than inclusive limits:
(cl-loop for x to 10 collect x) ⇒ (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10) (cl-loop for x below 10 collect x) ⇒ (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)
byvalue is always positive, even for downward-counting loops. Some sort of
fromvalue is required for downward loops; ‘for x downto 5’ is not a valid loop clause all by itself.
for var in list by function
This clause iterates var over all the elements of list, in turn. If you specify the
byterm, then function is used to traverse the list instead of
cdr; it must be a function taking one argument. For example:
(cl-loop for x in '(1 2 3 4 5 6) collect (* x x)) ⇒ (1 4 9 16 25 36) (cl-loop for x in '(1 2 3 4 5 6) by 'cddr collect (* x x)) ⇒ (1 9 25)
for var on list by function
This clause iterates var over all the cons cells of list.
(cl-loop for x on '(1 2 3 4) collect x) ⇒ ((1 2 3 4) (2 3 4) (3 4) (4))
by, there is no real reason that the
onexpression must be a list. For example:
(cl-loop for x on first-animal by 'next-animal collect x)
(next-animal x)takes an “animal” x and returns the next in the (assumed) sequence of animals, or
nilif x was the last animal in the sequence.
for var in-ref list by function
This is like a regular
inclause, but var becomes a
setf-able “reference” onto the elements of the list rather than just a temporary variable. For example,
(cl-loop for x in-ref my-list do (cl-incf x))
increments every element of
my-listin place. This clause is an extension to standard Common Lisp.
for var across array
This clause iterates var over all the elements of array, which may be a vector or a string.
(cl-loop for x across "aeiou" do (use-vowel (char-to-string x)))
for var across-ref array
This clause iterates over an array, with var a
setf-able reference onto the elements; see
for var being the elements of sequence
This clause iterates over the elements of sequence, which may be a list, vector, or string. Since the type must be determined at run-time, this is somewhat less efficient than
across. The clause may be followed by the additional term ‘using (index var2)’ to cause var2 to be bound to the successive indices (starting at 0) of the elements.
This clause type is taken from older versions of the
loopmacro, and is not present in modern Common Lisp. The ‘using (sequence …)’ term of the older macros is not supported.
for var being the elements of-ref sequence
This clause iterates over a sequence, with var a
setf-able reference onto the elements; see
for var being the symbols [of obarray]
This clause iterates over symbols, either over all interned symbols or over all symbols in obarray. The loop is executed with var bound to each symbol in turn. The symbols are visited in an unspecified order.
As an example,
(cl-loop for sym being the symbols when (fboundp sym) when (string-match "^map" (symbol-name sym)) collect sym)
returns a list of all the functions whose names begin with ‘map’.
The Common Lisp words
present-symbolsare also recognized but are equivalent to
symbolsin Emacs Lisp.
Due to a minor implementation restriction, it will not work to have more than one
forclause iterating over symbols, hash tables, keymaps, overlays, or intervals in a given
cl-loop. Fortunately, it would rarely if ever be useful to do so. It is valid to mix one of these types of clauses with other clauses like
for … toor
for var being the hash-keys of hash-table
for var being the hash-values of hash-table
This clause iterates over the entries in hash-table with var bound to each key, or value. A ‘using’ clause can bind a second variable to the opposite part.
(cl-loop for k being the hash-keys of h using (hash-values v) do (message "key %S -> value %S" k v))
for var being the key-codes of keymap
for var being the key-bindings of keymap
This clause iterates over the entries in keymap. The iteration does not enter nested keymaps but does enter inherited (parent) keymaps. A
usingclause can access both the codes and the bindings together.
(cl-loop for c being the key-codes of (current-local-map) using (key-bindings b) do (message "key %S -> binding %S" c b))
for var being the key-seqs of keymap
This clause iterates over all key sequences defined by keymap and its nested keymaps, where var takes on values which are vectors. The strings or vectors are reused for each iteration, so you must copy them if you wish to keep them permanently. You can add a ‘using (key-bindings …)’ clause to get the command bindings as well.
for var being the overlays [of buffer] …
This clause iterates over the “overlays” of a buffer (the clause
extentsis synonymous with
overlays). If the
ofterm is omitted, the current buffer is used. This clause also accepts optional ‘from pos’ and ‘to pos’ terms, limiting the clause to overlays which overlap the specified region.
for var being the intervals [of buffer] …
This clause iterates over all intervals of a buffer with constant text properties. The variable var will be bound to conses of start and end positions, where one start position is always equal to the previous end position. The clause allows
propertyterms, where the latter term restricts the search to just the specified property. The
ofterm may specify either a buffer or a string.
for var being the frames
This clause iterates over all Emacs frames. The clause
screensis a synonym for
frames. The frames are visited in
next-frameorder starting from
for var being the windows [of frame]
This clause iterates over the windows (in the Emacs sense) of the current frame, or of the specified frame. It visits windows in
next-windoworder starting from
frame-selected-windowif you specify frame). This clause treats the minibuffer window in the same way as
next-windowdoes. For greater flexibility, consider using
for var being the buffers
This clause iterates over all buffers in Emacs. It is equivalent to ‘for var in (buffer-list)’.
for var = expr1 then expr2
This clause does a general iteration. The first time through the loop, var will be bound to expr1. On the second and successive iterations it will be set by evaluating expr2 (which may refer to the old value of var). For example, these two loops are effectively the same:
(cl-loop for x on my-list by 'cddr do …) (cl-loop for x = my-list then (cddr x) while x do …)
Note that this type of
forclause does not imply any sort of terminating condition; the above example combines it with a
whileclause to tell when to end the loop.
If you omit the
thenterm, expr1 is used both for the initial setting and for successive settings:
(cl-loop for x = (random) when (> x 0) return x)
This loop keeps taking random numbers from the
(random)function until it gets a positive one, which it then returns.
If you include several
for clauses in a row, they are
treated sequentially (as if by
You can instead use the word
and to link the clauses,
in which case they are processed in parallel (as if by
(cl-loop for x below 5 for y = nil then x collect (list x y)) ⇒ ((0 nil) (1 1) (2 2) (3 3) (4 4)) (cl-loop for x below 5 and y = nil then x collect (list x y)) ⇒ ((0 nil) (1 0) (2 1) (3 2) (4 3))
In the first loop,
y is set based on the value of
that was just set by the previous clause; in the second loop,
y are set simultaneously so
y is set
based on the value of
x left over from the previous time
through the loop.
Another feature of the
cl-loop macro is destructuring,
similar in concept to the destructuring provided by
(see Argument Lists).
The var part of any
for clause can be given as a list
of variables instead of a single variable. The values produced
during loop execution must be lists; the values in the lists are
stored in the corresponding variables.
(cl-loop for (x y) in '((2 3) (4 5) (6 7)) collect (+ x y)) ⇒ (5 9 13)
In loop destructuring, if there are more values than variables
the trailing values are ignored, and if there are more variables
than values the trailing variables get the value
nil is used as a variable name, the corresponding
values are ignored. Destructuring may be nested, and dotted
lists of variables like
(x . y) are allowed, so for example
to process an alist
(cl-loop for (key . value) in '((a . 1) (b . 2)) collect value) ⇒ (1 2)
4.7.4 Iteration Clauses
for clauses, there are several other loop clauses
that control the way the loop operates. They might be used by
themselves, or in conjunction with one or more
This clause simply counts up to the specified number using an internal temporary variable. The loops
(cl-loop repeat (1+ n) do …) (cl-loop for temp to n do …)
are identical except that the second one forces you to choose a name for a variable you aren’t actually going to use.
This clause stops the loop when the specified condition (any Lisp expression) becomes
nil. For example, the following two loops are equivalent, except for the implicit
nilblock that surrounds the second one:
(while cond forms…) (cl-loop while cond do forms…)
This clause stops the loop when the specified condition is true, i.e., non-
This clause stops the loop when the specified condition is
while, it stops the loop using
return nilso that the
finallyclauses are not executed. If all the conditions were non-
nil, the loop returns
(if (cl-loop for size in size-list always (> size 10)) (some-big-sizes) (no-big-sizes))
This clause is like
always, except that the loop returns
tif any conditions were false, or
This clause stops the loop when the specified form is non-
nil; in this case, it returns that non-
nilvalue. If all the values were
nil, the loop returns
This clause iterates over the values from the specified form, an iterator object. See (see Generators in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual).
4.7.5 Accumulation Clauses
These clauses cause the loop to accumulate information about the
specified Lisp form. The accumulated result is returned
from the loop unless overridden, say, by a
This clause collects the values of form into a list. Several examples of
collectappear elsewhere in this manual.
collectingis a synonym for
collect, and likewise for the other accumulation clauses.
This clause collects lists of values into a result list using
This clause collects lists of values into a result list by destructively modifying the lists rather than copying them.
This clause concatenates the values of the specified form into a string. (It and the following clause are extensions to standard Common Lisp.)
This clause concatenates the values of the specified form into a vector.
This clause counts the number of times the specified form evaluates to a non-
This clause accumulates the sum of the values of the specified form, which must evaluate to a number.
This clause accumulates the maximum value of the specified form, which must evaluate to a number. The return value is undefined if
maximizeis executed zero times.
This clause accumulates the minimum value of the specified form.
Accumulation clauses can be followed by ‘into var’ to
cause the data to be collected into variable var (which is
let-bound during the loop) rather than an
unnamed temporary variable. Also,
into accumulations do
not automatically imply a return value. The loop must use some
explicit mechanism, such as
finally return, to return
the accumulated result.
It is valid for several accumulation clauses of the same type to accumulate into the same place. From Steele:
(cl-loop for name in '(fred sue alice joe june) for kids in '((bob ken) () () (kris sunshine) ()) collect name append kids) ⇒ (fred bob ken sue alice joe kris sunshine june)
4.7.6 Other Clauses
This section describes the remaining loop clauses.
with var = value
This clause binds a variable to a value around the loop, but otherwise leaves the variable alone during the loop. The following loops are basically equivalent:
(cl-loop with x = 17 do …) (let ((x 17)) (cl-loop do …)) (cl-loop for x = 17 then x do …)
Naturally, the variable var might be used for some purpose in the rest of the loop. For example:
(cl-loop for x in my-list with res = nil do (push x res) finally return res)
This loop inserts the elements of
my-listat the front of a new list being accumulated in
res, then returns the list
resat the end of the loop. The effect is similar to that of a
collectclause, but the list gets reversed by virtue of the fact that elements are being pushed onto the front of
resrather than the end.
If you omit the
=term, the variable is initialized to
nil. (Thus the ‘= nil’ in the above example is unnecessary.)
Bindings made by
withare sequential by default, as if by
let*. Just like
withclauses can be linked with
andto cause the bindings to be made by
if condition clause
This clause executes the following loop clause only if the specified condition is true. The following clause should be an accumulation,
unlessclause. Several clauses may be linked by separating them with
and. These clauses may be followed by
elseand a clause or clauses to execute if the condition was false. The whole construct may optionally be followed by the word
end(which may be used to disambiguate an
andin a nested
The actual non-
nilvalue of the condition form is available by the name
itin the “then” part. For example:
(setq funny-numbers '(6 13 -1)) ⇒ (6 13 -1) (cl-loop for x below 10 if (cl-oddp x) collect x into odds and if (memq x funny-numbers) return (cdr it) end else collect x into evens finally return (vector odds evens)) ⇒ [(1 3 5 7 9) (0 2 4 6 8)] (setq funny-numbers '(6 7 13 -1)) ⇒ (6 7 13 -1) (cl-loop <same thing again>) ⇒ (13 -1)
Note the use of
andto put two clauses into the “then” part, one of which is itself an
ifclause. Note also that
end, while normally optional, was necessary here to make it clear that the
elserefers to the outermost
ifclause. In the first case, the loop returns a vector of lists of the odd and even values of x. In the second case, the odd number 7 is one of the
funny-numbersso the loop returns early; the actual returned value is based on the result of the
when condition clause
This clause is just a synonym for
unless condition clause
unlessclause is just like
ifexcept that the sense of the condition is reversed.
This clause gives a name other than
nilto the implicit block surrounding the loop. The name is the symbol to be used as the block name.
initially [do] forms…
This keyword introduces one or more Lisp forms which will be executed before the loop itself begins (but after any variables requested by
withhave been bound to their initial values).
initiallyclauses can appear anywhere; if there are several, they are executed in the order they appear in the loop. The keyword
finally [do] forms…
This introduces Lisp forms which will be executed after the loop finishes (say, on request of a
finallyclauses may appear anywhere in the loop construct, but they are executed (in the specified order) at the beginning or end, respectively, of the loop.
finally return form
This says that form should be executed after the loop is done to obtain a return value. (Without this, or some other clause like
return, the loop will simply return
nil.) Variables bound by
intowill still contain their final values when form is executed.
domay be followed by any number of Lisp expressions which are executed as an implicit
prognin the body of the loop. Many of the examples in this section illustrate the use of
This clause causes the loop to return immediately. The following Lisp form is evaluated to give the return value of the loop form. The
finallyclauses, if any, are not executed. Of course,
returnis generally used inside an
unless, as its use in a top-level loop clause would mean the loop would never get to “loop” more than once.
The clause ‘return form’ is equivalent to ‘do (cl-return form)’ (or
cl-return-fromif the loop was named). The
returnclause is implemented a bit more efficiently, though.
While there is no high-level way to add user extensions to
this package does offer two properties called
cl-loop-for-handler which are functions to be called when a
given symbol is encountered as a top-level loop clause or
clause, respectively. Consult the source code in file
cl-macs.el for details.
cl-loop macro is compatible with that of Common
Lisp, except that a few features are not implemented:
and data-type specifiers. Naturally, the
for clauses that
iterate over keymaps, overlays, intervals, frames, windows, and
buffers are Emacs-specific extensions.
4.8 Multiple Values
Common Lisp functions can return zero or more results. Emacs Lisp
functions, by contrast, always return exactly one result. This
package makes no attempt to emulate Common Lisp multiple return
values; Emacs versions of Common Lisp functions that return more
than one value either return just the first value (as in
cl-compiler-macroexpand) or return a list of values.
This package does define placeholders
for the Common Lisp functions that work with multiple values, but
in Emacs Lisp these functions simply operate on lists instead.
cl-values form, for example, is a synonym for
- Macro: cl-multiple-value-bind (var…) values-form forms…
This form evaluates values-form, which must return a list of values. It then binds the vars to these respective values, as if by
let, and then executes the body forms. If there are more vars than values, the extra vars are bound to
nil. If there are fewer vars than values, the excess values are ignored.
- Macro: cl-multiple-value-setq (var…) form
This form evaluates form, which must return a list of values. It then sets the vars to these respective values, as if by
setq. Extra vars or values are treated the same as in
Since a perfect emulation is not feasible in Emacs Lisp, this package opts to keep it as simple and predictable as possible.
This package implements the various Common Lisp features of
defmacro, such as destructuring,
&whole is not implemented
defmacro due to technical difficulties.
See Argument Lists.
Destructuring is made available to the user by way of the following macro:
- Macro: cl-destructuring-bind arglist expr forms…
This macro expands to code that executes forms, with the variables in arglist bound to the list of values returned by expr. The arglist can include all the features allowed for
cl-defmacroargument lists, including destructuring. (The
&environmentkeyword is not allowed.) The macro expansion will signal an error if expr returns a list of the wrong number of arguments or with incorrect keyword arguments.
This package also includes the Common Lisp
facility, which allows you to define compile-time expansions and
optimizations for your functions.
- Macro: cl-define-compiler-macro name arglist forms…
This form is similar to
defmacro, except that it only expands calls to name at compile-time; calls processed by the Lisp interpreter are not expanded, nor are they expanded by the
The argument list may begin with a
&wholekeyword and a variable. This variable is bound to the macro-call form itself, i.e., to a list of the form ‘(name args…)’. If the macro expander returns this form unchanged, then the compiler treats it as a normal function call. This allows compiler macros to work as optimizers for special cases of a function, leaving complicated cases alone.
For example, here is a simplified version of a definition that appears as a standard part of this package:
(cl-define-compiler-macro cl-member (&whole form a list &rest keys) (if (and (null keys) (eq (car-safe a) 'quote) (not (floatp (cadr a)))) (list 'memq a list) form))
This definition causes
(cl-member a list)to change to a call to the faster
memqin the common case where a is a non-floating-point constant; if a is anything else, or if there are any keyword arguments in the call, then the original
cl-membercall is left intact. (The actual compiler macro for
cl-memberoptimizes a number of other cases, including common
- Function: cl-compiler-macroexpand form
This function is analogous to
macroexpand, except that it expands compiler macros rather than regular macros. It returns form unchanged if it is not a call to a function for which a compiler macro has been defined, or if that compiler macro decided to punt by returning its
macroexpand, it expands repeatedly until it reaches a form for which no further expansion is possible.
See Macro Bindings, for descriptions of the
cl-symbol-macrolet forms for making “local” macro
Common Lisp includes a complex and powerful “declaration”
mechanism that allows you to give the compiler special hints
about the types of data that will be stored in particular variables,
and about the ways those variables and functions will be used. This
package defines versions of all the Common Lisp declaration forms:
Most of the Common Lisp declarations are not currently useful in Emacs Lisp. For example, the byte-code system provides little opportunity to benefit from type information. A few declarations are meaningful when byte compiler optimizations are enabled, as they are by the default. Otherwise these declarations will effectively be ignored.
- Function: cl-proclaim decl-spec
This function records a “global” declaration specified by decl-spec. Since
cl-proclaimis a function, decl-spec is evaluated and thus should normally be quoted.
- Macro: cl-declaim decl-specs…
This macro is like
cl-proclaim, except that it takes any number of decl-spec arguments, and the arguments are unevaluated and unquoted. The
cl-declaimmacro also puts
(cl-eval-when (compile load eval) …)around the declarations so that they will be registered at compile-time as well as at run-time. (This is vital, since normally the declarations are meant to influence the way the compiler treats the rest of the file that contains the
- Macro: cl-declare decl-specs…
This macro is used to make declarations within functions and other code. Common Lisp allows declarations in various locations, generally at the beginning of any of the many “implicit
progns” throughout Lisp syntax, such as function bodies,
letbodies, etc. Currently the only declaration understood by
- Macro: cl-the type form
cl-thereturns the value of
form, first checking (if optimization settings permit) that it is of type
type. Future byte-compiler optimizations may also make use of this information to improve runtime efficiency.
mapcarcan map over both lists and arrays. It is hard for the compiler to expand
mapcarinto an in-line loop unless it knows whether the sequence will be a list or an array ahead of time. With
(mapcar 'car (cl-the vector foo)), a future compiler would have enough information to expand the loop in-line. For now, Emacs Lisp will treat the above code as exactly equivalent to
(mapcar 'car foo).
Each decl-spec in a
cl-declare should be a list beginning with a symbol that says
what kind of declaration it is. This package currently understands
warn declarations. (The
warn declaration is an
extension of standard Common Lisp.) Other Common Lisp declarations,
ftype, are silently ignored.
Since all variables in Emacs Lisp are “special” (in the Common Lisp sense),
specialdeclarations are only advisory. They simply tell the byte compiler that the specified variables are intentionally being referred to without being bound in the body of the function. The compiler normally emits warnings for such references, since they could be typographical errors for references to local variables.
(cl-declare (special var1 var2))is equivalent to
(defvar var1) (defvar var2).
In top-level contexts, it is generally better to write
(cl-declaim (special var)), since
defvarmakes your intentions clearer.
inlinedecl-spec lists one or more functions whose bodies should be expanded “in-line” into calling functions whenever the compiler is able to arrange for it. For example, the function
inlineby this package so that the form
(cl-acons key value alist)will expand directly into
(cons (cons key value) alist)when it is called in user functions, so as to save function calls.
The following declarations are all equivalent. Note that the
defsubstform is a convenient way to define a function and declare it inline all at once.
(cl-declaim (inline foo bar)) (cl-eval-when (compile load eval) (cl-proclaim '(inline foo bar))) (defsubst foo (…) …) ; instead of defun
Please note: this declaration remains in effect after the containing source file is done. It is correct to use it to request that a function you have defined should be inlined, but it is impolite to use it to request inlining of an external function.
In Common Lisp, it is possible to use
(declare (inline …))before a particular call to a function to cause just that call to be inlined; the current byte compilers provide no way to implement this, so
(cl-declare (inline …))is currently ignored by this package.
notinlinedeclaration lists functions which should not be inlined after all; it cancels a previous
This declaration controls how much optimization is performed by the compiler.
optimizeis followed by any number of lists like
(safety 2). Common Lisp defines several optimization “qualities”; this package ignores all but
safety. The value of a quality should be an integer from 0 to 3, with 0 meaning “unimportant” and 3 meaning “very important”. The default level for both qualities is 1.
In this package, the
speedquality is tied to the
byte-optimizeflag, which is set to
(speed 0)and to
tfor higher settings; and the
safetyquality is tied to the
byte-compile-delete-errorsflag, which is set to
(safety 3)and to
tfor all lower settings. (The latter flag controls whether the compiler is allowed to optimize out code whose only side-effect could be to signal an error, e.g., rewriting
(progn foo bar)to
barwhen it is not known whether
foowill be bound at run-time.)
Note that even compiling with
(safety 0), the Emacs byte-code system provides sufficient checking to prevent real harm from being done. For example, barring serious bugs in Emacs itself, Emacs will not crash with a segmentation fault just because of an error in a fully-optimized Lisp program.
optimizedeclaration is normally used in a top-level
cl-declaimin a file; Common Lisp allows it to be used with
declareto set the level of optimization locally for a given form, but this will not work correctly with the current byte-compiler. (The
cl-declarewill set the new optimization level, but that level will not automatically be unset after the enclosing form is done.)
This declaration controls what sorts of warnings are generated by the byte compiler. The word
warnis followed by any number of “warning qualities”, similar in form to optimization qualities. The currently supported warning types are
free-vars; in the current system, a value of 0 will disable these warnings and any higher value will enable them. See the documentation of the variable
byte-compile-warningsfor more details.
This package defines several symbol-related features that were missing from Emacs Lisp.
|• Property Lists:|
|• Creating Symbols:|
7.1 Property Lists
These functions augment the standard Emacs Lisp functions
put for operating on properties attached to symbols.
There are also functions for working with property lists as
first-class data structures not attached to particular symbols.
- Function: cl-get symbol property &optional default
This function is like
get, except that if the property is not found, the default argument provides the return value. (The Emacs Lisp
getfunction always uses
nilas the default; this package’s
cl-getis equivalent to Common Lisp’s
setf-able; when used in this fashion, the default argument is allowed but ignored.
- Function: cl-remprop symbol property
This function removes the entry for property from the property list of symbol. It returns a true value if the property was indeed found and removed, or
nilif there was no such property. (This function was probably omitted from Emacs originally because, since
getdid not allow a default, it was very difficult to distinguish between a missing property and a property whose value was
nil; thus, setting a property to
nilwas close enough to
cl-rempropfor most purposes.)
- Function: cl-getf place property &optional default
This function scans the list place as if it were a property list, i.e., a list of alternating property names and values. If an even-numbered element of place is found which is
eqto property, the following odd-numbered element is returned. Otherwise, default is returned (or
nilif no default is given).
(get sym prop) ≡ (cl-getf (symbol-plist sym) prop)
It is valid to use
setfplace, in which case its place argument must itself be a valid
setfplace. The default argument, if any, is ignored in this context. The effect is to change (via
setcar) the value cell in the list that corresponds to property, or to cons a new property-value pair onto the list if the property is not yet present.
(put sym prop val) ≡ (setf (cl-getf (symbol-plist sym) prop) val)
cl-getfunctions are also
setf-able. The fact that
defaultis ignored can sometimes be useful:
(cl-incf (cl-get 'foo 'usage-count 0))
usage-countproperty is incremented if it exists, or set to 1 (an incremented 0) otherwise.
When not used as a
cl-getfis just a regular function and its place argument can actually be any Lisp expression.
- Macro: cl-remf place property
This macro removes the property-value pair for property from the property list stored at place, which is any
setf-able place expression. It returns true if the property was found. Note that if property happens to be first on the list, this will effectively do a
(setf place (cddr place)), whereas if it occurs later, this simply uses
setcdrto splice out the property and value cells.
7.2 Creating Symbols
These functions create unique symbols, typically for use as temporary variables.
- Function: cl-gensym &optional x
This function creates a new, uninterned symbol (using
make-symbol) with a unique name. (The name of an uninterned symbol is relevant only if the symbol is printed.) By default, the name is generated from an increasing sequence of numbers, ‘G1000’, ‘G1001’, ‘G1002’, etc. If the optional argument x is a string, that string is used as a prefix instead of ‘G’. Uninterned symbols are used in macro expansions for temporary variables, to ensure that their names will not conflict with “real” variables in the user’s code.
(Internally, the variable
cl--gensym-counterholds the counter used to generate names. It is initialized with zero and incremented after each use.)
- Function: cl-gentemp &optional x
This function is like
cl-gensym, except that it produces a new interned symbol. If the symbol that is generated already exists, the function keeps incrementing the counter and trying again until a new symbol is generated.
This package automatically creates all keywords that are called for by
&key argument specifiers, and discourages the use of keywords
as data unrelated to keyword arguments, so the related function
defkeyword (to create self-quoting keyword symbols) is not
This section defines a few simple Common Lisp operations on numbers that were left out of Emacs Lisp.
|• Predicates on Numbers:|
|• Numerical Functions:|
|• Random Numbers:|
|• Implementation Parameters:|
8.1 Predicates on Numbers
These functions return
t if the specified condition is
true of the numerical argument, or
- Function: cl-plusp number
This predicate tests whether number is positive. It is an error if the argument is not a number.
- Function: cl-minusp number
This predicate tests whether number is negative. It is an error if the argument is not a number.
- Function: cl-oddp integer
This predicate tests whether integer is odd. It is an error if the argument is not an integer.
- Function: cl-evenp integer
This predicate tests whether integer is even. It is an error if the argument is not an integer.
- Function: cl-digit-char-p char radix
Test if char is a digit in the specified radix (default is 10). If it is, return the numerical value of digit char in radix.
8.2 Numerical Functions
These functions perform various arithmetic operations on numbers.
- Function: cl-gcd &rest integers
This function returns the Greatest Common Divisor of the arguments. For one argument, it returns the absolute value of that argument. For zero arguments, it returns zero.
- Function: cl-lcm &rest integers
This function returns the Least Common Multiple of the arguments. For one argument, it returns the absolute value of that argument. For zero arguments, it returns one.
- Function: cl-isqrt integer
This function computes the “integer square root” of its integer argument, i.e., the greatest integer less than or equal to the true square root of the argument.
- Function: cl-floor number &optional divisor
With one argument,
cl-floorreturns a list of two numbers: The argument rounded down (toward minus infinity) to an integer, and the “remainder” which would have to be added back to the first return value to yield the argument again. If the argument is an integer x, the result is always the list
(x 0). If the argument is a floating-point number, the first result is a Lisp integer and the second is a Lisp float between 0 (inclusive) and 1 (exclusive).
With two arguments,
cl-floordivides number by divisor, and returns the floor of the quotient and the corresponding remainder as a list of two numbers. If
(cl-floor x y)returns
(q r), then
q*y + r = x, with r between 0 (inclusive) and r (exclusive). Also, note that
(cl-floor x)is exactly equivalent to
(cl-floor x 1).
This function is entirely compatible with Common Lisp’s
floorfunction, except that it returns the two results in a list since Emacs Lisp does not support multiple-valued functions.
- Function: cl-ceiling number &optional divisor
This function implements the Common Lisp
ceilingfunction, which is analogous to
floorexcept that it rounds the argument or quotient of the arguments up toward plus infinity. The remainder will be between 0 and minus r.
- Function: cl-truncate number &optional divisor
This function implements the Common Lisp
truncatefunction, which is analogous to
floorexcept that it rounds the argument or quotient of the arguments toward zero. Thus it is equivalent to
cl-floorif the argument or quotient is positive, or to
cl-ceilingotherwise. The remainder has the same sign as number.
- Function: cl-round number &optional divisor
This function implements the Common Lisp
roundfunction, which is analogous to
floorexcept that it rounds the argument or quotient of the arguments to the nearest integer. In the case of a tie (the argument or quotient is exactly halfway between two integers), it rounds to the even integer.
- Function: cl-mod number divisor
This function returns the same value as the second return value of
- Function: cl-rem number divisor
This function returns the same value as the second return value of
- Function: cl-parse-integer string &key start end radix junk-allowed
This function implements the Common Lisp
parse-integerfunction. It parses an integer in the specified radix from the substring of string between start and end. Any leading and trailing whitespace chars are ignored. The function signals an error if the substring between start and end cannot be parsed as an integer, unless junk-allowed is non-
8.3 Random Numbers
This package also provides an implementation of the Common Lisp random number generator. It uses its own additive-congruential algorithm, which is much more likely to give statistically clean random numbers than the simple generators supplied by many operating systems.
- Function: cl-random number &optional state
This function returns a random nonnegative number less than number, and of the same type (either integer or floating-point). The state argument should be a
random-stateobject that holds the state of the random number generator. The function modifies this state object as a side effect. If state is omitted, it defaults to the internal variable
cl--random-state, which contains a pre-initialized default
random-stateobject. (Since any number of programs in the Emacs process may be accessing
cl--random-statein interleaved fashion, the sequence generated from this will be irreproducible for all intents and purposes.)
- Function: cl-make-random-state &optional state
This function creates or copies a
random-stateobject. If state is omitted or
nil, it returns a new copy of
cl--random-state. This is a copy in the sense that future sequences of calls to
(cl-random n s)(where s is the new random-state object) will return identical sequences of random numbers.
If state is a
random-stateobject, this function returns a copy of that object. If state is
t, this function returns a new
random-stateobject seeded from the date and time. As an extension to Common Lisp, state may also be an integer in which case the new object is seeded from that integer; each different integer seed will result in a completely different sequence of random numbers.
It is valid to print a
random-stateobject to a buffer or file and later read it back with
read. If a program wishes to use a sequence of pseudo-random numbers which can be reproduced later for debugging, it can call
(cl-make-random-state t)to get a new sequence, then print this sequence to a file. When the program is later rerun, it can read the original run’s random-state from the file.
- Function: cl-random-state-p object
This predicate returns
tif object is a
8.4 Implementation Parameters
This package defines several useful constants having to do with floating-point numbers.
It determines their values by exercising the computer’s floating-point arithmetic in various ways. Because this operation might be slow, the code for initializing them is kept in a separate function that must be called before the parameters can be used.
- Function: cl-float-limits
This function makes sure that the Common Lisp floating-point parameters like
cl-most-positive-floathave been initialized. Until it is called, these parameters will be
nil. If the parameters have already been initialized, the function returns immediately.
The algorithm makes assumptions that will be valid for almost all machines, but will fail if the machine’s arithmetic is extremely unusual, e.g., decimal.
Since true Common Lisp supports up to four different floating-point
precisions, it has families of constants like
most-positive-long-float, and so on. Emacs has only one
floating-point precision, so this package omits the precision word
from the constants’ names.
- Variable: cl-most-positive-float
This constant equals the largest value a Lisp float can hold. For those systems whose arithmetic supports infinities, this is the largest finite value. For IEEE machines, the value is approximately
- Variable: cl-most-negative-float
This constant equals the most negative value a Lisp float can hold. (It is assumed to be equal to
- Variable: cl-least-positive-float
This constant equals the smallest Lisp float value greater than zero. For IEEE machines, it is about
4.94e-324if denormals are supported or
- Variable: cl-least-positive-normalized-float
This constant equals the smallest normalized Lisp float greater than zero, i.e., the smallest value for which IEEE denormalization will not result in a loss of precision. For IEEE machines, this value is about
2.22e-308. For machines that do not support the concept of denormalization and gradual underflow, this constant will always equal
- Variable: cl-least-negative-float
This constant is the negative counterpart of
- Variable: cl-least-negative-normalized-float
This constant is the negative counterpart of
- Variable: cl-float-epsilon
This constant is the smallest positive Lisp float that can be added to 1.0 to produce a distinct value. Adding a smaller number to 1.0 will yield 1.0 again due to roundoff. For IEEE machines, epsilon is about
- Variable: cl-float-negative-epsilon
This is the smallest positive value that can be subtracted from 1.0 to produce a distinct value. For IEEE machines, it is about
Common Lisp defines a number of functions that operate on
sequences, which are either lists, strings, or vectors.
Emacs Lisp includes a few of these, notably
length; this package defines most of the rest.
|• Sequence Basics:||Arguments shared by all sequence functions.|
|• Mapping over Sequences:|
|• Sequence Functions:|
|• Searching Sequences:|
|• Sorting Sequences:|
9.1 Sequence Basics
Many of the sequence functions take keyword arguments; see Argument Lists. All keyword arguments are optional and, if specified, may appear in any order.
:key argument should be passed either
nil, or a
function of one argument. This key function is used as a filter
through which the elements of the sequence are seen; for example,
(cl-find x y :key 'car) is similar to
(cl-assoc x y).
It searches for an element of the list whose CAR equals
x, rather than for an element which equals
:key is omitted or
nil, the filter is effectively
the identity function.
:test-not arguments should be either
nil, or functions of two arguments. The test function is
used to compare two sequence elements, or to compare a search value
with sequence elements. (The two values are passed to the test
function in the same order as the original sequence function
arguments from which they are derived, or, if they both come from
the same sequence, in the same order as they appear in that sequence.)
:test argument specifies a function which must return
nil) to indicate a match; instead, you may use
:test-not to give a function which returns false to
indicate a match. The default test function is
Many functions that take item and
arguments also come in
where a predicate function is passed instead of item,
and sequence elements match if the predicate returns true on them
(or false in the case of
-if-not). For example:
(cl-remove 0 seq :test '=) ≡ (cl-remove-if 'zerop seq)
to remove all zeros from sequence
Some operations can work on a subsequence of the argument sequence;
these function take
:end arguments, which
default to zero and the length of the sequence, respectively.
Only elements between start (inclusive) and end
(exclusive) are affected by the operation. The end argument
may be passed
nil to signify the length of the sequence;
otherwise, both start and end must be integers, with
0 <= start <= end <= (length seq).
If the function takes two sequence arguments, the limits are
defined by keywords
:end1 for the first,
:end2 for the second.
A few functions accept a
:from-end argument, which, if
nil, causes the operation to go from right-to-left
through the sequence instead of left-to-right, and a
argument, which specifies an integer maximum number of elements
to be removed or otherwise processed.
The sequence functions make no guarantees about the order in
are called on various elements. Therefore, it is a bad idea to depend
on side effects of these functions. For example,
may cause the sequence to be scanned actually in reverse, or it may
be scanned forwards but computing a result “as if” it were scanned
backwards. (Some functions, like
do specify exactly the order in which the function is called
so side effects are perfectly acceptable in those cases.)
Strings may contain “text properties” as well
as character data. Except as noted, it is undefined whether or
not text properties are preserved by sequence functions. For
(cl-remove ?A str) may or may not preserve
the properties of the characters copied from str into the
9.2 Mapping over Sequences
These functions “map” the function you specify over the elements
of lists or arrays. They are all variations on the theme of the
- Function: cl-mapcar function seq &rest more-seqs
This function calls function on successive parallel sets of elements from its argument sequences. Given a single seq argument it is equivalent to
mapcar; given n sequences, it calls the function with the first elements of each of the sequences as the n arguments to yield the first element of the result list, then with the second elements, and so on. The mapping stops as soon as the shortest sequence runs out. The argument sequences may be any mixture of lists, strings, and vectors; the return sequence is always a list.
mapcaraccepts multiple arguments but works only on lists; Emacs Lisp’s
mapcaraccepts a single sequence argument. This package’s
cl-mapcarworks as a compatible superset of both.
- Function: cl-map result-type function seq &rest more-seqs
This function maps function over the argument sequences, just like
cl-mapcar, but it returns a sequence of type result-type rather than a list. result-type must be one of the following symbols:
list(in which case the effect is the same as for
nil(in which case the results are thrown away and
- Function: cl-maplist function list &rest more-lists
This function calls function on each of its argument lists, then on the CDRs of those lists, and so on, until the shortest list runs out. The results are returned in the form of a list. Thus,
cl-mapcarexcept that it passes in the list pointers themselves rather than the CARs of the advancing pointers.
- Function: cl-mapc function seq &rest more-seqs
This function is like
cl-mapcar, except that the values returned by function are ignored and thrown away rather than being collected into a list. The return value of
cl-mapcis seq, the first sequence. This function is more general than the Emacs primitive
mapc. (Note that this function is called
cl-mapceven in cl.el, rather than
mapc*as you might expect.)
- Function: cl-mapl function list &rest more-lists
This function is like
cl-maplist, except that it throws away the values returned by function.
- Function: cl-mapcan function seq &rest more-seqs
This function is like
cl-mapcar, except that it concatenates the return values (which must be lists) using
nconc, rather than simply collecting them into a list.
- Function: cl-mapcon function list &rest more-lists
This function is like
cl-maplist, except that it concatenates the return values using
- Function: cl-some predicate seq &rest more-seqs
This function calls predicate on each element of seq in turn; if predicate returns a non-
cl-somereturns that value, otherwise it returns
nil. Given several sequence arguments, it steps through the sequences in parallel until the shortest one runs out, just as in
cl-mapcar. You can rely on the left-to-right order in which the elements are visited, and on the fact that mapping stops immediately as soon as predicate returns non-
- Function: cl-every predicate seq &rest more-seqs
This function calls predicate on each element of the sequence(s) in turn; it returns
nilas soon as predicate returns
nilfor any element, or
tif the predicate was true for all elements.
- Function: cl-notany predicate seq &rest more-seqs
This function calls predicate on each element of the sequence(s) in turn; it returns
nilas soon as predicate returns a non-
nilvalue for any element, or
tif the predicate was
nilfor all elements.
- Function: cl-notevery predicate seq &rest more-seqs
This function calls predicate on each element of the sequence(s) in turn; it returns a non-
nilvalue as soon as predicate returns
nilfor any element, or
nilif the predicate was true for all elements.
- Function: cl-reduce function seq &key :from-end :start :end :initial-value :key
This function combines the elements of seq using an associative binary operation. Suppose function is
*and seq is the list
(2 3 4 5). The first two elements of the list are combined with
(* 2 3) = 6; this is combined with the next element,
(* 6 4) = 24, and that is combined with the final element:
(* 24 5) = 120. Note that the
*function happens to be self-reducing, so that
(* 2 3 4 5)has the same effect as an explicit call to
:from-endis true, the reduction is right-associative instead of left-associative:
(cl-reduce '- '(1 2 3 4)) ≡ (- (- (- 1 2) 3) 4) ⇒ -8 (cl-reduce '- '(1 2 3 4) :from-end t) ≡ (- 1 (- 2 (- 3 4))) ⇒ -2
:keyis specified, it is a function of one argument, which is called on each of the sequence elements in turn.
:initial-valueis specified, it is effectively added to the front (or rear in the case of
:from-end) of the sequence. The
:keyfunction is not applied to the initial value.
If the sequence, including the initial value, has exactly one element then that element is returned without ever calling function. If the sequence is empty (and there is no initial value), then function is called with no arguments to obtain the return value.
All of these mapping operations can be expressed conveniently in
terms of the
cl-loop macro. In compiled code,
be faster since it generates the loop as in-line code with no
9.3 Sequence Functions
This section describes a number of Common Lisp functions for operating on sequences.
- Function: cl-subseq sequence start &optional end
This function returns a given subsequence of the argument sequence, which may be a list, string, or vector. The indices start and end must be in range, and start must be no greater than end. If end is omitted, it defaults to the length of the sequence. The return value is always a copy; it does not share structure with sequence.
As an extension to Common Lisp, start and/or end may be negative, in which case they represent a distance back from the end of the sequence. This is for compatibility with Emacs’s
substringfunction. Note that
cl-subseqis the only sequence function that allows negative start and end.
You can use
cl-subseqform to replace a specified range of elements with elements from another sequence. The replacement is done as if by
cl-replace, described below.
- Function: cl-concatenate result-type &rest seqs
This function concatenates the argument sequences together to form a result sequence of type result-type, one of the symbols
list. The arguments are always copied, even in cases such as
(cl-concatenate 'list '(1 2 3))where the result is identical to an argument.
- Function: cl-fill seq item &key :start :end
This function fills the elements of the sequence (or the specified part of the sequence) with the value item.
- Function: cl-replace seq1 seq2 &key :start1 :end1 :start2 :end2
This function copies part of seq2 into part of seq1. The sequence seq1 is not stretched or resized; the amount of data copied is simply the shorter of the source and destination (sub)sequences. The function returns seq1.
If seq1 and seq2 are
eq, then the replacement will work correctly even if the regions indicated by the start and end arguments overlap. However, if seq1 and seq2 are lists that share storage but are not
eq, and the start and end arguments specify overlapping regions, the effect is undefined.
- Function: cl-remove item seq &key :test :test-not :key :count :start :end :from-end
This returns a copy of seq with all elements matching item removed. The result may share storage with or be
eqto seq in some circumstances, but the original seq will not be modified. The
:keyarguments define the matching test that is used; by default, elements
eqlto item are removed. The
:countargument specifies the maximum number of matching elements that can be removed (only the leftmost count matches are removed). The
:endarguments specify a region in seq in which elements will be removed; elements outside that region are not matched or removed. The
:from-endargument, if true, says that elements should be deleted from the end of the sequence rather than the beginning (this matters only if count was also specified).
- Function: cl-delete item seq &key :test :test-not :key :count :start :end :from-end
This deletes all elements of seq that match item. It is a destructive operation. Since Emacs Lisp does not support stretchable strings or vectors, this is the same as
cl-removefor those sequence types. On lists,
cl-removewill copy the list if necessary to preserve the original list, whereas
cl-deletewill splice out parts of the argument list. Compare
nconc, which are analogous non-destructive and destructive list operations in Emacs Lisp.
The predicate-oriented functions
cl-delete-if-not are defined similarly.
- Function: cl-remove-duplicates seq &key :test :test-not :key :start :end :from-end
This function returns a copy of seq with duplicate elements removed. Specifically, if two elements from the sequence match according to the
:keyarguments, only the rightmost one is retained. If
:from-endis true, the leftmost one is retained instead. If
:endis specified, only elements within that subsequence are examined or removed.
- Function: cl-delete-duplicates seq &key :test :test-not :key :start :end :from-end
This function deletes duplicate elements from seq. It is a destructive version of
- Function: cl-substitute new old seq &key :test :test-not :key :count :start :end :from-end
This function returns a copy of seq, with all elements matching old replaced with new. The
:from-endarguments may be used to limit the number of substitutions made.
- Function: cl-nsubstitute new old seq &key :test :test-not :key :count :start :end :from-end
This is a destructive version of
cl-substitute; it performs the substitution using
asetrather than by returning a changed copy of the sequence.
cl-nsubstitute-if-not are defined
similarly. For these, a predicate is given in place of the
9.4 Searching Sequences
These functions search for elements or subsequences in a sequence.
cl-assoc; see Lists.)
- Function: cl-find item seq &key :test :test-not :key :start :end :from-end
This function searches seq for an element matching item. If it finds a match, it returns the matching element. Otherwise, it returns
nil. It returns the leftmost match, unless
:from-endis true, in which case it returns the rightmost match. The
:endarguments may be used to limit the range of elements that are searched.
- Function: cl-position item seq &key :test :test-not :key :start :end :from-end
This function is like
cl-find, except that it returns the integer position in the sequence of the matching item rather than the item itself. The position is relative to the start of the sequence as a whole, even if
:startis non-zero. The function returns
nilif no matching element was found.
- Function: cl-count item seq &key :test :test-not :key :start :end
This function returns the number of elements of seq which match item. The result is always a nonnegative integer.
functions are defined similarly.
- Function: cl-mismatch seq1 seq2 &key :test :test-not :key :start1 :end1 :start2 :end2 :from-end
This function compares the specified parts of seq1 and seq2. If they are the same length and the corresponding elements match (according to
:key), the function returns
nil. If there is a mismatch, the function returns the index (relative to seq1) of the first mismatching element. This will be the leftmost pair of elements that do not match, or the position at which the shorter of the two otherwise-matching sequences runs out.
:from-endis true, then the elements are compared from right to left starting at
(1- end2). If the sequences differ, then one plus the index of the rightmost difference (relative to seq1) is returned.
An interesting example is
(cl-mismatch str1 str2 :key 'upcase), which compares two strings case-insensitively.
- Function: cl-search seq1 seq2 &key :test :test-not :key :from-end :start1 :end1 :start2 :end2
This function searches seq2 for a subsequence that matches seq1 (or part of it specified by
:end1). Only matches that fall entirely within the region defined by
:end2will be considered. The return value is the index of the leftmost element of the leftmost match, relative to the start of seq2, or
nilif no matches were found. If
:from-endis true, the function finds the rightmost matching subsequence.
9.5 Sorting Sequences
- Function: cl-sort seq predicate &key :key
This function sorts seq into increasing order as determined by using predicate to compare pairs of elements. predicate should return true (non-
nil) if and only if its first argument is less than (not equal to) its second argument. For example,
string-lesspare suitable predicate functions for sorting numbers and strings, respectively;
>would sort numbers into decreasing rather than increasing order.
This function differs from Emacs’s built-in
sortin that it can operate on any type of sequence, not just lists. Also, it accepts a
:keyargument, which is used to preprocess data fed to the predicate function. For example,
(setq data (cl-sort data 'string-lessp :key 'downcase))
sorts data, a sequence of strings, into increasing alphabetical order without regard to case. A
carwould be useful for sorting association lists. It should only be a simple accessor though, since it’s used heavily in the current implementation.
cl-sortfunction is destructive; it sorts lists by actually rearranging the CDR pointers in suitable fashion.
- Function: cl-stable-sort seq predicate &key :key
This function sorts seq stably, meaning two elements which are equal in terms of predicate are guaranteed not to be rearranged out of their original order by the sort.
cl-stable-sortare equivalent in Emacs Lisp because the underlying
sortfunction is stable by default. However, this package reserves the right to use non-stable methods for
cl-sortin the future.
- Function: cl-merge type seq1 seq2 predicate &key :key
This function merges two sequences seq1 and seq2 by interleaving their elements. The result sequence, of type type (in the sense of
cl-concatenate), has length equal to the sum of the lengths of the two input sequences. The sequences may be modified destructively. Order of elements within seq1 and seq2 is preserved in the interleaving; elements of the two sequences are compared by predicate (in the sense of
sort) and the lesser element goes first in the result. When elements are equal, those from seq1 precede those from seq2 in the result. Thus, if seq1 and seq2 are both sorted according to predicate, then the result will be a merged sequence which is (stably) sorted according to predicate.
The functions described here operate on lists.
|• List Functions:|
|• Substitution of Expressions:|
|• Lists as Sets:|
|• Association Lists:|
10.1 List Functions
This section describes a number of simple operations on lists, i.e., chains of cons cells.
- Function: cl-caddr x
This function is equivalent to
(car (cdr (cdr x))). Likewise, this package defines all 24
cxxxrfunctions where xxx is up to four ‘a’s and/or ‘d’s. All of these functions are
setf-able, and calls to them are expanded inline by the byte-compiler for maximum efficiency.
- Function: cl-first x
This function is a synonym for
(car x). Likewise, the functions
cl-third, …, through
cl-tenthreturn the given element of the list x.
- Function: cl-endp x
This function acts like
null, but signals an error if
xis neither a
nilnor a cons cell.
- Function: cl-list-length x
This function returns the length of list x, exactly like
(length x), except that if x is a circular list (where the CDR-chain forms a loop rather than terminating with
nil), this function returns
nil. (The regular
lengthfunction would get stuck if given a circular list. See also the
- Function: cl-list* arg &rest others
This function constructs a list of its arguments. The final argument becomes the CDR of the last cell constructed. Thus,
(cl-list* a b c)is equivalent to
(cons a (cons b c)), and
(cl-list* a b nil)is equivalent to
(list a b).
- Function: cl-ldiff list sublist
If sublist is a sublist of list, i.e., is
eqto one of the cons cells of list, then this function returns a copy of the part of list up to but not including sublist. For example,
(cl-ldiff x (cddr x))returns the first two elements of the list
x. The result is a copy; the original list is not modified. If sublist is not a sublist of list, a copy of the entire list is returned.
- Function: cl-copy-list list
This function returns a copy of the list list. It copies dotted lists like
(1 2 . 3)correctly.
- Function: cl-tree-equal x y &key :test :test-not :key
This function compares two trees of cons cells. If x and y are both cons cells, their CARs and CDRs are compared recursively. If neither x nor y is a cons cell, they are compared by
eql, or according to the specified test. The
:keyfunction, if specified, is applied to the elements of both trees. See Sequences.
10.2 Substitution of Expressions
These functions substitute elements throughout a tree of cons
cells. (See Sequence Functions, for the
function, which works on just the top-level elements of a list.)
- Function: cl-subst new old tree &key :test :test-not :key
This function substitutes occurrences of old with new in tree, a tree of cons cells. It returns a substituted tree, which will be a copy except that it may share storage with the argument tree in parts where no substitutions occurred. The original tree is not modified. This function recurses on, and compares against old, both CARs and CDRs of the component cons cells. If old is itself a cons cell, then matching cells in the tree are substituted as usual without recursively substituting in that cell. Comparisons with old are done according to the specified test (
eqlby default). The
:keyfunction is applied to the elements of the tree but not to old.
- Function: cl-nsubst new old tree &key :test :test-not :key
This function is like
cl-subst, except that it works by destructive modification (by
setcdr) rather than copying.
cl-nsubst-if-not functions are defined similarly.
- Function: cl-sublis alist tree &key :test :test-not :key
This function is like
cl-subst, except that it takes an association list alist of old-new pairs. Each element of the tree (after applying the
:keyfunction, if any), is compared with the CARs of alist; if it matches, it is replaced by the corresponding CDR.
- Function: cl-nsublis alist tree &key :test :test-not :key
This is a destructive version of
10.3 Lists as Sets
These functions perform operations on lists that represent sets of elements.
- Function: cl-member item list &key :test :test-not :key
This function searches list for an element matching item. If a match is found, it returns the cons cell whose CAR was the matching element. Otherwise, it returns
nil. Elements are compared by
eqlby default; you can use the
:keyarguments to modify this behavior. See Sequences.
The standard Emacs lisp function
equalfor comparisons; it is equivalent to
(cl-member item list :test 'equal). With no keyword arguments,
cl-memberis equivalent to
analogously search for elements that satisfy a given predicate.
- Function: cl-tailp sublist list
This function returns
tif sublist is a sublist of list, i.e., if sublist is
eqlto list or to any of its CDRs.
- Function: cl-adjoin item list &key :test :test-not :key
This function conses item onto the front of list, like
(cons item list), but only if item is not already present on the list (as determined by
cl-member). If a
:keyargument is specified, it is applied to item as well as to the elements of list during the search, on the reasoning that item is “about” to become part of the list.
- Function: cl-union list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This function combines two lists that represent sets of items, returning a list that represents the union of those two sets. The resulting list contains all items that appear in list1 or list2, and no others. If an item appears in both list1 and list2 it is copied only once. If an item is duplicated in list1 or list2, it is undefined whether or not that duplication will survive in the result list. The order of elements in the result list is also undefined.
- Function: cl-nunion list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This is a destructive version of
cl-union; rather than copying, it tries to reuse the storage of the argument lists if possible.
- Function: cl-intersection list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This function computes the intersection of the sets represented by list1 and list2. It returns the list of items that appear in both list1 and list2.
- Function: cl-nintersection list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This is a destructive version of
cl-intersection. It tries to reuse storage of list1 rather than copying. It does not reuse the storage of list2.
- Function: cl-set-difference list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This function computes the “set difference” of list1 and list2, i.e., the set of elements that appear in list1 but not in list2.
- Function: cl-nset-difference list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This is a destructive
cl-set-difference, which will try to reuse list1 if possible.
- Function: cl-set-exclusive-or list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This function computes the “set exclusive or” of list1 and list2, i.e., the set of elements that appear in exactly one of list1 and list2.
- Function: cl-nset-exclusive-or list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This is a destructive
cl-set-exclusive-or, which will try to reuse list1 and list2 if possible.
- Function: cl-subsetp list1 list2 &key :test :test-not :key
This function checks whether list1 represents a subset of list2, i.e., whether every element of list1 also appears in list2.
10.4 Association Lists
An association list is a list representing a mapping from one set of values to another; any list whose elements are cons cells is an association list.
- Function: cl-assoc item a-list &key :test :test-not :key
This function searches the association list a-list for an element whose CAR matches (in the sense of
:key, or by comparison with
eql) a given item. It returns the matching element, if any, otherwise
nil. It ignores elements of a-list that are not cons cells. (This corresponds to the behavior of
associn Emacs Lisp; Common Lisp’s
nils but considers any other non-cons elements of a-list to be an error.)
- Function: cl-rassoc item a-list &key :test :test-not :key
This function searches for an element whose CDR matches item. If a-list represents a mapping, this applies the inverse of the mapping to item.
cl-rassoc-if-not functions are defined similarly.
Two simple functions for constructing association lists are:
- Function: cl-pairlis keys values &optional alist
This is equivalent to
(nconc (cl-mapcar 'cons keys values) alist).
The Common Lisp structure mechanism provides a general way
to define data types similar to C’s
struct types. A
structure is a Lisp object containing some number of slots,
each of which can hold any Lisp data object. Functions are
provided for accessing and setting the slots, creating or copying
structure objects, and recognizing objects of a particular structure
In true Common Lisp, each structure type is a new type distinct from all existing Lisp types. Since the underlying Emacs Lisp system provides no way to create new distinct types, this package implements structures as vectors (or lists upon request) with a special “tag” symbol to identify them.
- Macro: cl-defstruct name slots…
cl-defstructform defines a new structure type called name, with the specified slots. (The slots may begin with a string which documents the structure type.) In the simplest case, name and each of the slots are symbols. For example,
(cl-defstruct person name age sex)
defines a struct type called
personthat contains three slots. Given a
personobject p, you can access those slots by calling
(person-age p), and
(person-sex p). You can also change these slots by using
setfon any of these place forms, for example:
(cl-incf (person-age birthday-boy))
You can create a new
make-person, which takes keyword arguments
:sexto specify the initial values of these slots in the new object. (Omitting any of these arguments leaves the corresponding slot “undefined”, according to the Common Lisp standard; in Emacs Lisp, such uninitialized slots are filled with
(copy-person p)makes a new object of the same type whose slots are
eqto those of p.
Given any Lisp object x,
(person-p x)returns true if x looks like a
person, and false otherwise. (Again, in Common Lisp this predicate would be exact; in Emacs Lisp the best it can do is verify that x is a vector of the correct length that starts with the correct tag symbol.)
person-namenormally check their arguments (effectively using
person-p) and signal an error if the argument is the wrong type. This check is affected by
(optimize (safety …))declarations. Safety level 1, the default, uses a somewhat optimized check that will detect all incorrect arguments, but may use an uninformative error message (e.g., “expected a vector” instead of “expected a
person”). Safety level 0 omits all checks except as provided by the underlying
arefcall; safety levels 2 and 3 do rigorous checking that will always print a descriptive error message for incorrect inputs. See Declarations.
(setq dave (make-person :name "Dave" :sex 'male)) ⇒ [cl-struct-person "Dave" nil male] (setq other (copy-person dave)) ⇒ [cl-struct-person "Dave" nil male] (eq dave other) ⇒ nil (eq (person-name dave) (person-name other)) ⇒ t (person-p dave) ⇒ t (person-p [1 2 3 4]) ⇒ nil (person-p "Bogus") ⇒ nil (person-p '[cl-struct-person counterfeit person object]) ⇒ t
In general, name is either a name symbol or a list of a name symbol followed by any number of struct options; each slot is either a slot symbol or a list of the form ‘(slot-name default-value slot-options…)’. The default-value is a Lisp form that is evaluated any time an instance of the structure type is created without specifying that slot’s value.
Common Lisp defines several slot options, but the only one implemented in this package is
:read-only. A non-
nilvalue for this option means the slot should not be
setf-able; the slot’s value is determined when the object is created and does not change afterward.
(cl-defstruct person (name nil :read-only t) age (sex 'unknown))
Any slot options other than
For obscure historical reasons, structure options take a different form than slot options. A structure option is either a keyword symbol, or a list beginning with a keyword symbol possibly followed by arguments. (By contrast, slot options are key-value pairs not enclosed in lists.)
(cl-defstruct (person (:constructor create-person) (:type list) :named) name age sex)
The following structure options are recognized.
The argument is a symbol whose print name is used as the prefix for the names of slot accessor functions. The default is the name of the struct type followed by a hyphen. The option
(:conc-name p-)would change this prefix to
nilas an argument means no prefix, so that the slot names themselves are used to name the accessor functions.
In the simple case, this option takes one argument which is an alternate name to use for the constructor function. The default is
make-person. The above example changes this to
nilas an argument means that no standard constructor should be generated at all.
In the full form of this option, the constructor name is followed by an arbitrary argument list. See Program Structure, for a description of the format of Common Lisp argument lists. All options, such as
&key, are supported. The argument names should match the slot names; each slot is initialized from the corresponding argument. Slots whose names do not appear in the argument list are initialized based on the default-value in their slot descriptor. Also,
&keyarguments that don’t specify defaults take their defaults from the slot descriptor. It is valid to include arguments that don’t correspond to slot names; these are useful if they are referred to in the defaults for optional, keyword, or
&auxarguments that do correspond to slots.
You can specify any number of full-format
:constructoroptions on a structure. The default constructor is still generated as well unless you disable it with a simple-format
(cl-defstruct (person (:constructor nil) ; no default constructor (:constructor new-person (name sex &optional (age 0))) (:constructor new-hound (&key (name "Rover") (dog-years 0) &aux (age (* 7 dog-years)) (sex 'canine)))) name age sex)
The first constructor here takes its arguments positionally rather than by keyword. (In official Common Lisp terminology, constructors that work By Order of Arguments instead of by keyword are called “BOA constructors”. No, I’m not making this up.) For example,
(new-person "Jane" 'female)generates a person whose slots are
"Jane", 0, and
The second constructor takes two keyword arguments,
:name, which initializes the
nameslot and defaults to
:dog-years, which does not itself correspond to a slot but which is used to initialize the
sexslot is forced to the symbol
caninewith no syntax for overriding it.
The argument is an alternate name for the copier function for this type. The default is
nilmeans not to generate a copier function. (In this implementation, all copier functions are simply synonyms for
The argument is an alternate name for the predicate that recognizes objects of this type. The default is
nilmeans not to generate a predicate function. (If the
:typeoption is used without the
:namedoption, no predicate is ever generated.)
In true Common Lisp,
typepis always able to recognize a structure object even if
:predicatewas used. In this package,
cl-typepsimply looks for a function called
typename-p, so it will work for structure types only if they used the default predicate name.
This option implements a very limited form of C++-style inheritance. The argument is the name of another structure type previously created with
cl-defstruct. The effect is to cause the new structure type to inherit all of the included structure’s slots (plus, of course, any new slots described by this struct’s slot descriptors). The new structure is considered a “specialization” of the included one. In fact, the predicate and slot accessors for the included type will also accept objects of the new type.
If there are extra arguments to the
:includeoption after the included-structure name, these options are treated as replacement slot descriptors for slots in the included structure, possibly with modified default values. Borrowing an example from Steele:
(cl-defstruct person name (age 0) sex) ⇒ person (cl-defstruct (astronaut (:include person (age 45))) helmet-size (favorite-beverage 'tang)) ⇒ astronaut (setq joe (make-person :name "Joe")) ⇒ [cl-struct-person "Joe" 0 nil] (setq buzz (make-astronaut :name "Buzz")) ⇒ [cl-struct-astronaut "Buzz" 45 nil nil tang] (list (person-p joe) (person-p buzz)) ⇒ (t t) (list (astronaut-p joe) (astronaut-p buzz)) ⇒ (nil t) (person-name buzz) ⇒ "Buzz" (astronaut-name joe) ⇒ error: "astronaut-name accessing a non-astronaut"
astronautis a specialization of
person, then every
astronautis also a
person(but not the other way around). Every
astronautincludes all the slots of a
person, plus extra slots that are specific to astronauts. Operations that work on people (like
person-name) work on astronauts just like other people.
In full Common Lisp, this option allows you to specify a function that is called to print an instance of the structure type. The Emacs Lisp system offers no hooks into the Lisp printer which would allow for such a feature, so this package simply ignores
The argument should be one of the symbols
list. This tells which underlying Lisp data type should be used to implement the new structure type. Vectors are used by default, but
(:type list)will cause structure objects to be stored as lists instead.
The vector representation for structure objects has the advantage that all structure slots can be accessed quickly, although creating vectors is a bit slower in Emacs Lisp. Lists are easier to create, but take a relatively long time accessing the later slots.
This option, which takes no arguments, causes a characteristic “tag” symbol to be stored at the front of the structure object. Using
:typewithout also using
:namedwill result in a structure type stored as plain vectors or lists with no identifying features.
The default, if you don’t specify
:typeexplicitly, is to use named vectors. Therefore,
:namedis only useful in conjunction with
(cl-defstruct (person1) name age sex) (cl-defstruct (person2 (:type list) :named) name age sex) (cl-defstruct (person3 (:type list)) name age sex) (setq p1 (make-person1)) ⇒ [cl-struct-person1 nil nil nil] (setq p2 (make-person2)) ⇒ (person2 nil nil nil) (setq p3 (make-person3)) ⇒ (nil nil nil) (person1-p p1) ⇒ t (person2-p p2) ⇒ t (person3-p p3) ⇒ error: function person3-p undefined
Since unnamed structures don’t have tags,
cl-defstructis not able to make a useful predicate for recognizing them. Also, accessors like
person3-namewill be generated but they will not be able to do any type checking. The
person3-namefunction, for example, will simply be a synonym for
carin this case. By contrast,
person2-nameis able to verify that its argument is indeed a
person2object before proceeding.
The argument must be a nonnegative integer. It specifies a number of slots to be left “empty” at the front of the structure. If the structure is named, the tag appears at the specified position in the list or vector; otherwise, the first slot appears at that position. Earlier positions are filled with
nilby the constructors and ignored otherwise. If the type
:includes another type, then
:initial-offsetspecifies a number of slots to be skipped between the last slot of the included type and the first new slot.
Except as noted, the
cl-defstruct facility of this package is
entirely compatible with that of Common Lisp.
cl-defstruct package also provides a few structure
- Function: cl-struct-sequence-type struct-type
This function returns the underlying data structure for
struct-type, which is a symbol. It returns
struct-typeis not actually a structure.
- Function: cl-struct-slot-info struct-type
This function returns a list of slot descriptors for structure
struct-type. Each entry in the list is
(name . opts), where
nameis the name of the slot and
optsis the list of slot options given to
defstruct. Dummy entries represent the slots used for the struct name and that are skipped to implement
- Function: cl-struct-slot-offset struct-type slot-name
Return the offset of slot
struct-type. The returned zero-based slot index is relative to the start of the structure data type and is adjusted for any structure name and :initial-offset slots. Signal error if struct
struct-typedoes not contain
- Function: cl-struct-slot-value struct-type slot-name inst
Return the value of slot
instis a structure instance. This routine is also a
setfplace. Can signal the same errors as
12 Assertions and Errors
This section describes two macros that test assertions, i.e., conditions which must be true if the program is operating correctly. Assertions never add to the behavior of a Lisp program; they simply make “sanity checks” to make sure everything is as it should be.
If the optimization property
speed has been set to 3, and
safety is less than 3, then the byte-compiler will optimize
away the following assertions. Because assertions might be optimized
away, it is a bad idea for them to include side-effects.
- Macro: cl-assert test-form [show-args string args…]
This form verifies that test-form is true (i.e., evaluates to a non-
nilvalue). If so, it returns
nil. If the test is not satisfied,
cl-assertsignals an error.
A default error message will be supplied which includes test-form. You can specify a different error message by including a string argument plus optional extra arguments. Those arguments are simply passed to
errorto signal the error.
If the optional second argument show-args is
nil, then the error message (with or without string) will also include all non-constant arguments of the top-level form. For example:
(cl-assert (> x 10) t "x is too small: %d")
This usage of show-args is an extension to Common Lisp. In true Common Lisp, the second argument gives a list of places which can be
setf’d by the user before continuing from the error. Since Emacs Lisp does not support continuable errors, it makes no sense to specify places.
- Macro: cl-check-type form type [string]
This form verifies that form evaluates to a value of type type. If so, it returns
nil. If not,
wrong-type-argumenterror. The default error message lists the erroneous value along with type and form themselves. If string is specified, it is included in the error message in place of type. For example:
(cl-check-type x (integer 1 *) "a positive integer")
See Type Predicates, for a description of the type specifiers that may be used for type.
Note that in Common Lisp, the first argument to
check-typemust be a place suitable for use by
check-typesignals a continuable error that allows the user to modify place.
Appendix A Efficiency Concerns
Many of the advanced features of this package, such as
cl-loop, etc., are implemented as Lisp macros. In
byte-compiled code, these complex notations will be expanded into
equivalent Lisp code which is simple and efficient. For example,
(cl-incf i n)
is expanded at compile-time to the Lisp form
(setq i (+ i n))
which is the most efficient ways of doing this operation
in Lisp. Thus, there is no performance penalty for using the more
cl-incf form in your compiled code.
Interpreted code, on the other hand, must expand these macros
every time they are executed. For this reason it is strongly
recommended that code making heavy use of macros be compiled.
A loop using
cl-incf a hundred times will execute considerably
faster if compiled, and will also garbage-collect less because the
macro expansion will not have to be generated, used, and thrown away a
You can find out how a macro expands by using the
- Function: cl-prettyexpand form &optional full
This function takes a single Lisp form as an argument and inserts a nicely formatted copy of it in the current buffer (which must be in Lisp mode so that indentation works properly). It also expands all Lisp macros that appear in the form. The easiest way to use this function is to go to the *scratch* buffer and type, say,
(cl-prettyexpand '(cl-loop for x below 10 collect x))
and type C-x C-e immediately after the closing parenthesis; an expansion similar to:
(cl-block nil (let* ((x 0) (G1004 nil)) (while (< x 10) (setq G1004 (cons x G1004)) (setq x (+ x 1))) (nreverse G1004)))
will be inserted into the buffer. (The
cl-blockmacro is expanded differently in the interpreter and compiler, so
cl-prettyexpandjust leaves it alone. The temporary variable
G1004was created by
If the optional argument full is true, then all macros are expanded, including
cl-eval-when, and compiler macros. Expansion is done as if form were a top-level form in a file being compiled.
cl-memberall have built-in compiler macros to optimize them in common cases.
A.2 Error Checking
Common Lisp compliance has in general not been sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. A few exceptions have been made for cases where substantial gains were possible at the expense of marginal incompatibility.
The Common Lisp standard (as embodied in Steele’s book) uses the
phrase “it is an error if” to indicate a situation that is not
supposed to arise in complying programs; implementations are strongly
encouraged but not required to signal an error in these situations.
This package sometimes omits such error checking in the interest of
compactness and efficiency. For example,
specifiers are supposed to be lists of one, two, or three forms; extra
forms are ignored by this package rather than signaling a syntax
error. Functions taking keyword arguments will accept an odd number
of arguments, treating the trailing keyword as if it were followed by
Argument lists (as processed by
cl-defun and friends)
are checked rigorously except for the minor point just
mentioned; in particular, keyword arguments are checked for
are fully implemented. Keyword validity checking is slightly
time consuming (though not too bad in byte-compiled code);
you can use
&allow-other-keys to omit this check. Functions
defined in this package such as
do check their keyword arguments for validity.
A.3 Compiler Optimizations
Changing the value of
byte-optimize from the default
is highly discouraged; many of the Common
Lisp macros emit
code that can be improved by optimization. In particular,
cl-blocks (whether explicit or implicit in constructs like
cl-loop) carry a fair run-time penalty; the
cl-blocks that are not actually
cl-return-from inside the block.
Appendix B Common Lisp Compatibility
The following is a list of some of the most important incompatibilities between this package and Common Lisp as documented in Steele (2nd edition).
cl-defun is required instead of
defun in order
to use extended Common Lisp argument lists in a function. Likewise,
cl-function are versions of those forms
which understand full-featured argument lists. The
keyword does not work in
cl-defmacro argument lists (except
inside recursive argument lists).
equal predicate does not distinguish
between IEEE floating-point plus and minus zero. The
predicate has several differences with Common Lisp; see Predicates.
cl-do-all-symbols form is the same as
with no obarray argument. In Common Lisp, this form would
iterate over all symbols in all packages. Since Emacs obarrays
are not a first-class package mechanism, there is no way for
cl-do-all-symbols to locate any but the default obarray.
cl-loop macro is complete except that
and type specifiers are unimplemented.
The multiple-value return facility treats lists as multiple
values, since Emacs Lisp cannot support multiple return values
directly. The macros will be compatible with Common Lisp if
cl-values-list is always used to return to
cl-multiple-value-bind or other multiple-value receiver;
cl-values is used without
or vice-versa the effect will be different from Common Lisp.
Many Common Lisp declarations are ignored, and others match
the Common Lisp standard in concept but not in detail. For
special declarations, which are purely
advisory in Emacs Lisp, do not rigorously obey the scoping rules
set down in Steele’s book.
cl--gensym-counter starts out with zero.
cl-defstruct facility is compatible, except that structures
are of type
:type vector :named by default rather than some
special, distinct type. Also, the
:type slot option is ignored.
The second argument of
cl-check-type is treated differently.
Appendix C Porting Common Lisp
This package is meant to be used as an extension to Emacs Lisp, not as an Emacs implementation of true Common Lisp. Some of the remaining differences between Emacs Lisp and Common Lisp make it difficult to port large Common Lisp applications to Emacs. For one, some of the features in this package are not fully compliant with ANSI or Steele; see Common Lisp Compatibility. But there are also quite a few features that this package does not provide at all. Here are some major omissions that you will want to watch out for when bringing Common Lisp code into Emacs.
- Case-insensitivity. Symbols in Common Lisp are case-insensitive
by default. Some programs refer to a function or variable as
fooin one place and
FOOin another. Emacs Lisp will treat these as three distinct symbols.
Some Common Lisp code is written entirely in upper case. While Emacs is happy to let the program’s own functions and variables use this convention, calls to Lisp builtins like
defunwill have to be changed to lower case.
- Lexical scoping. In Common Lisp, function arguments and
letbindings apply only to references physically within their bodies (or within macro expansions in their bodies). Traditionally, Emacs Lisp uses dynamic scoping wherein a binding to a variable is visible even inside functions called from the body. See Dynamic Binding in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual. Lexical binding is available since Emacs 24.1, so be sure to set
tif you need to emulate this aspect of Common Lisp. See Lexical Binding in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
Here is an example of a Common Lisp code fragment that would fail in Emacs Lisp if
lexical-bindingwere set to
(defun map-odd-elements (func list) (loop for x in list for flag = t then (not flag) collect (if flag x (funcall func x)))) (defun add-odd-elements (list x) (map-odd-elements (lambda (a) (+ a x)) list))
With lexical binding, the two functions’ usages of
xare completely independent. With dynamic binding, the binding to
add-odd-elementswill have been hidden by the binding in
map-odd-elementsby the time the
(+ a x)function is called.
Internally, this package uses lexical binding so that such problems do not occur. See Obsolete Lexical Binding, for a description of the obsolete
lexical-letform that emulates a Common Lisp-style lexical binding when dynamic binding is in use.
- Reader macros. Common Lisp includes a second type of macro that
works at the level of individual characters. For example, Common
Lisp implements the quote notation by a reader macro called
', whereas Emacs Lisp’s parser just treats quote as a special case. Some Lisp packages use reader macros to create special syntaxes for themselves, which the Emacs parser is incapable of reading.
- Other syntactic features. Common Lisp provides a number of
notations beginning with
#that the Emacs Lisp parser won’t understand. For example, ‘#| … |#’ is an alternate comment notation, and ‘#+lucid (foo)’ tells the parser to ignore the
(foo)except in Lucid Common Lisp.
- Packages. In Common Lisp, symbols are divided into packages.
Symbols that are Lisp built-ins are typically stored in one package;
symbols that are vendor extensions are put in another, and each
application program would have a package for its own symbols.
Certain symbols are “exported” by a package and others are
internal; certain packages “use” or import the exported symbols
of other packages. To access symbols that would not normally be
visible due to this importing and exporting, Common Lisp provides
a syntax like
Emacs Lisp has a single namespace for all interned symbols, and then uses a naming convention of putting a prefix like
cl-in front of the name. Some Emacs packages adopt the Common Lisp-like convention of using
cl::as the prefix. However, the Emacs parser does not understand colons and just treats them as part of the symbol name. Thus, while
lisp:mapcarmay refer to the same symbol in Common Lisp, they are totally distinct in Emacs Lisp. Common Lisp programs that refer to a symbol by the full name sometimes and the short name other times will not port cleanly to Emacs.
Emacs Lisp does have a concept of “obarrays”, which are package-like collections of symbols, but this feature is not strong enough to be used as a true package mechanism.
formatfunction is quite different between Common Lisp and Emacs Lisp. It takes an additional “destination” argument before the format string. A destination of
nilmeans to format to a string as in Emacs Lisp; a destination of
tmeans to write to the terminal (similar to
messagein Emacs). Also, format control strings are utterly different;
~is used instead of
%to introduce format codes, and the set of available codes is much richer. There are no notations like
\nfor string literals; instead,
formatis used with the “newline” format code,
~%. More advanced formatting codes provide such features as paragraph filling, case conversion, and even loops and conditionals.
While it would have been possible to implement most of Common Lisp
formatin this package (under the name
cl-format, of course), it was not deemed worthwhile. It would have required a huge amount of code to implement even a decent subset of
format, yet the functionality it would provide over Emacs Lisp’s
formatwould rarely be useful.
- Vector constants use square brackets in Emacs Lisp, but
#(a b c)notation in Common Lisp. To further complicate matters, Emacs has its own
#(notation for something entirely different—strings with properties.
- Characters are distinct from integers in Common Lisp. The notation
for character constants is also different:
#\Ain Common Lisp where Emacs Lisp uses
string-equalare synonyms in Emacs Lisp, whereas the latter is case-insensitive in Common Lisp.
- Data types. Some Common Lisp data types do not exist in Emacs Lisp. Rational numbers and complex numbers are not present, nor are large integers (all integers are “fixnums”). All arrays are one-dimensional. There are no readtables or pathnames; streams are a set of existing data types rather than a new data type of their own. Hash tables, random-states, structures, and packages (obarrays) are built from Lisp vectors or lists rather than being distinct types.
- The Common Lisp Object System (CLOS) is not implemented, nor is the Common Lisp Condition System. However, the EIEIO package (see Introduction in EIEIO) does implement some CLOS functionality.
- Common Lisp features that are completely redundant with Emacs
Lisp features of a different name generally have not been
implemented. For example, Common Lisp writes
defconstantwhere Emacs Lisp uses
make-listtakes its arguments in different ways in the two Lisps but does exactly the same thing, so this package has not bothered to implement a Common Lisp-style
- A few more notable Common Lisp features not included in this package:
- Recursion. While recursion works in Emacs Lisp just like it
does in Common Lisp, various details of the Emacs Lisp system
and compiler make recursion much less efficient than it is in
most Lisps. Some schools of thought prefer to use recursion
in Lisp over other techniques; they would sum a list of
numbers using something like
(defun sum-list (list) (if list (+ (car list) (sum-list (cdr list))) 0))
where a more iteratively-minded programmer might write one of these forms:
(let ((total 0)) (dolist (x my-list) (incf total x)) total) (loop for x in my-list sum x)
While this would be mainly a stylistic choice in most Common Lisps, in Emacs Lisp you should be aware that the iterative forms are much faster than recursion. Also, Lisp programmers will want to note that the current Emacs Lisp compiler does not optimize tail recursion.
Appendix D Obsolete Features
This section describes some features of the package that are obsolete and should not be used in new code. They are either only provided by the old cl.el entry point, not by the newer cl-lib.el; or where versions with a ‘cl-’ prefix do exist they do not behave in exactly the same way.
|• Obsolete Lexical Binding:||An approximation of lexical binding.|
|• Obsolete Macros:||Obsolete macros.|
|• Obsolete Setf Customization:||Obsolete ways to customize setf.|
D.1 Obsolete Lexical Binding
The following macros are extensions to Common Lisp, where all bindings are lexical unless declared otherwise. These features are likewise obsolete since the introduction of true lexical binding in Emacs 24.1.
- Macro: lexical-let (bindings…) forms…
This form is exactly like
letexcept that the bindings it establishes are purely lexical.
Lexical bindings are similar to local variables in a language like C:
Only the code physically within the body of the
(after macro expansion) may refer to the bound variables.
(setq a 5) (defun foo (b) (+ a b)) (let ((a 2)) (foo a)) ⇒ 4 (lexical-let ((a 2)) (foo a)) ⇒ 7
In this example, a regular
let binding of
makes a temporary change to the global variable
is able to see the binding of
a to 2. But
actually creates a distinct local variable
a for use within its
body, without any effect on the global variable of the same name.
The most important use of lexical bindings is to create closures. A closure is a function object that refers to an outside lexical variable (see Closures in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual). For example:
(defun make-adder (n) (lexical-let ((n n)) (function (lambda (m) (+ n m))))) (setq add17 (make-adder 17)) (funcall add17 4) ⇒ 21
(make-adder 17) returns a function object which adds
17 to its argument. If
let had been used instead of
lexical-let, the function object would have referred to the
n, which would have been bound to 17 only during the
(defun make-counter () (lexical-let ((n 0)) (cl-function (lambda (&optional (m 1)) (cl-incf n m))))) (setq count-1 (make-counter)) (funcall count-1 3) ⇒ 3 (funcall count-1 14) ⇒ 17 (setq count-2 (make-counter)) (funcall count-2 5) ⇒ 5 (funcall count-1 2) ⇒ 19 (funcall count-2) ⇒ 6
Here we see that each call to
make-counter creates a distinct
n, which serves as a private counter for the
function object that is returned.
Closed-over lexical variables persist until the last reference to
them goes away, just like all other Lisp objects. For example,
count-2 refers to a function object which refers to an
instance of the variable
n; this is the only reference
to that variable, so after
(setq count-2 nil) the garbage
collector would be able to delete this instance of
Of course, if a
lexical-let does not actually create any
closures, then the lexical variables are free as soon as the
Many closures are used only during the extent of the bindings they
refer to; these are known as “downward funargs” in Lisp parlance.
When a closure is used in this way, regular Emacs Lisp dynamic
bindings suffice and will be more efficient than
(defun add-to-list (x list) (mapcar (lambda (y) (+ x y))) list) (add-to-list 7 '(1 2 5)) ⇒ (8 9 12)
Since this lambda is only used while
x is still bound,
it is not necessary to make a true closure out of it.
You can use
flet inside a
to create a named closure. If several closures are created in the
body of a single
lexical-let, they all close over the same
instance of the lexical variable.
- Macro: lexical-let* (bindings…) forms…
This form is just like
lexical-let, except that the bindings are made sequentially in the manner of
D.2 Obsolete Macros
The following macros are obsolete, and are replaced by versions with a ‘cl-’ prefix that do not behave in exactly the same way. Consequently, the cl.el versions are not simply aliases to the cl-lib.el versions.
- Macro: flet (bindings…) forms…
This macro is replaced by
cl-flet(see Function Bindings), which behaves the same way as Common Lisp’s
flettakes the same arguments as
cl-flet, but does not behave in precisely the same way.
fletin Common Lisp establishes a lexical function binding, this
fletmakes a dynamic binding (it dates from a time before Emacs had lexical binding). The result is that
fletaffects indirect calls to a function as well as calls directly inside the
This will even work on Emacs primitives, although note that some calls to primitive functions internal to Emacs are made without going through the symbol’s function cell, and so will not be affected by
flet. For example,
(flet ((message (&rest args) (push args saved-msgs))) (do-something))
This code attempts to replace the built-in function
messagewith a function that simply saves the messages in a list rather than displaying them. The original definition of
messagewill be restored after
do-somethingexits. This code will work fine on messages generated by other Lisp code, but messages generated directly inside Emacs will not be caught since they make direct C-language calls to the message routines rather than going through the Lisp
For those cases where the dynamic scoping of
cl-fletis clearly not a substitute. The most direct replacement would be instead to use
cl-letfto temporarily rebind
(symbol-function 'fun). But in most cases, a better substitute is to use advice, such as:
(defvar my-fun-advice-enable nil) (add-advice 'fun :around (lambda (orig &rest args) (if my-fun-advice-enable (do-something) (apply orig args))))
so that you can then replace the
fletwith a simple dynamically scoped binding of
Note that many primitives (e.g.,
+) have special byte-compile handling. Attempts to redefine such functions using
cl-letf, or advice will fail when byte-compiled.
- Macro: labels (bindings…) forms…
This macro is replaced by
cl-labels(see Function Bindings), which behaves the same way as Common Lisp’s
labelstakes the same arguments as
cl-labels, but does not behave in precisely the same way.
This version of
labelsuses the obsolete
lexical-letform (see Obsolete Lexical Binding), rather than the true lexical binding that
D.3 Obsolete Ways to Customize Setf
Common Lisp defines three macros,
define-setf-method, that allow the
user to extend generalized variables in various ways.
In Emacs, these are obsolete, replaced by various features of
gv.el in Emacs 24.3.
See Adding Generalized Variables in GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
- Macro: define-modify-macro name arglist function [doc-string]
This macro defines a “read-modify-write” macro similar to
cl-decf. You can replace this macro with
The macro name is defined to take a place argument followed by additional arguments described by arglist. The call
(name place args…)
will be expanded to
(cl-callf func place args…)
which in turn is roughly equivalent to
(setf place (func place args…))
(define-modify-macro incf (&optional (n 1)) +) (define-modify-macro concatf (&rest args) concat)
&keyis not allowed in arglist, but
&restis sufficient to pass keywords on to the function.
Most of the modify macros defined by Common Lisp do not exactly follow the pattern of
define-modify-macro. For example,
pushtakes its arguments in the wrong order, and
popis completely irregular.
incfexample could be written using
(defmacro incf (place &optional n) (gv-letplace (getter setter) place (macroexp-let2 nil v (or n 1) (funcall setter `(+ ,v ,getter)))))
- Macro: defsetf access-fn update-fn
This is the simpler of two
defsetfforms, and is replaced by
With access-fn the name of a function that accesses a place, this declares update-fn to be the corresponding store function. From now on,
(setf (access-fn arg1 arg2 arg3) value)
will be expanded to
(update-fn arg1 arg2 arg3 value)
The update-fn is required to be either a true function, or a macro that evaluates its arguments in a function-like way. Also, the update-fn is expected to return value as its result. Otherwise, the above expansion would not obey the rules for the way
setfis supposed to behave.
As a special (non-Common-Lisp) extension, a third argument of
defsetfsays that the return value of
update-fnis not suitable, so that the above
setfshould be expanded to something more like
(let ((temp value)) (update-fn arg1 arg2 arg3 temp) temp)
Some examples are:
(defsetf car setcar) (defsetf buffer-name rename-buffer t)
These translate directly to
(gv-define-simple-setter car setcar) (gv-define-simple-setter buffer-name rename-buffer t)
- Macro: defsetf access-fn arglist (store-var) forms…
This is the second, more complex, form of
defsetf. It can be replaced by
This form of
defsetfis rather like
defmacroexcept for the additional store-var argument. The forms should return a Lisp form that stores the value of store-var into the generalized variable formed by a call to access-fn with arguments described by arglist. The forms may begin with a string which documents the
setfmethod (analogous to the doc string that appears at the front of a function).
For example, the simple form of
defsetfis shorthand for
(defsetf access-fn (&rest args) (store) (append '(update-fn) args (list store)))
The Lisp form that is returned can access the arguments from arglist and store-var in an unrestricted fashion; macros like
cl-incfthat invoke this setf-method will insert temporary variables as needed to make sure the apparent order of evaluation is preserved.
Another standard example:
(defsetf nth (n x) (store) `(setcar (nthcdr ,n ,x) ,store))
You could write this using
(gv-define-setter nth (store n x) `(setcar (nthcdr ,n ,x) ,store))
- Macro: define-setf-method access-fn arglist forms…
This is the most general way to create new place forms. You can replace this by
setfto access-fn with arguments described by arglist is expanded, the forms are evaluated and must return a list of five items:
- A list of temporary variables.
- A list of value forms corresponding to the temporary variables above. The temporary variables will be bound to these value forms as the first step of any operation on the generalized variable.
- A list of exactly one store variable (generally obtained
from a call to
- A Lisp form that stores the contents of the store variable into the generalized variable, assuming the temporaries have been bound as described above.
- A Lisp form that accesses the contents of the generalized variable, assuming the temporaries have been bound.
This is exactly like the Common Lisp macro of the same name, except that the method returns a list of five values rather than the five values themselves, since Emacs Lisp does not support Common Lisp’s notion of multiple return values. (Note that the
setfimplementation provided by gv.el does not use this five item format. Its use here is only for backwards compatibility.)
Once again, the forms may begin with a documentation string.
A setf-method should be maximally conservative with regard to temporary variables. In the setf-methods generated by
defsetf, the second return value is simply the list of arguments in the place form, and the first return value is a list of a corresponding number of temporary variables generated by
cl-gensym. Macros like
cl-incfthat use this setf-method will optimize away most temporaries that turn out to be unnecessary, so there is little reason for the setf-method itself to optimize.
Appendix E GNU Free Documentation License
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc. http://fsf.org/ Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document free in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.
This License is a kind of “copyleft”, which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.
We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.
- APPLICABILITY AND DEFINITIONS
This License applies to any manual or other work, in any medium, that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. Such a notice grants a world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration, to use that work under the conditions stated herein. The “Document”, below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as “you”. You accept the license if you copy, modify or distribute the work in a way requiring permission under copyright law.
A “Modified Version” of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language.
A “Secondary Section” is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or authors of the Document to the Document’s overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. (Thus, if the Document is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding them.
The “Invariant Sections” are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. If a section does not fit the above definition of Secondary then it is not allowed to be designated as Invariant. The Document may contain zero Invariant Sections. If the Document does not identify any Invariant Sections then there are none.
The “Cover Texts” are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. A Front-Cover Text may be at most 5 words, and a Back-Cover Text may be at most 25 words.
A “Transparent” copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented in a format whose specification is available to the general public, that is suitable for revising the document straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup, or absence of markup, has been arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers is not Transparent. An image format is not Transparent if used for any substantial amount of text. A copy that is not “Transparent” is called “Opaque”.
Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple HTML, PostScript or PDF designed for human modification. Examples of transparent image formats include PNG, XCF and JPG. Opaque formats include proprietary formats that can be read and edited only by proprietary word processors, SGML or XML for which the DTD and/or processing tools are not generally available, and the machine-generated HTML, PostScript or PDF produced by some word processors for output purposes only.
The “Title Page” means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, “Title Page” means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work’s title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.
The “publisher” means any person or entity that distributes copies of the Document to the public.
A section “Entitled XYZ” means a named subunit of the Document whose title either is precisely XYZ or contains XYZ in parentheses following text that translates XYZ in another language. (Here XYZ stands for a specific section name mentioned below, such as “Acknowledgements”, “Dedications”, “Endorsements”, or “History”.) To “Preserve the Title” of such a section when you modify the Document means that it remains a section “Entitled XYZ” according to this definition.
The Document may include Warranty Disclaimers next to the notice which states that this License applies to the Document. These Warranty Disclaimers are considered to be included by reference in this License, but only as regards disclaiming warranties: any other implication that these Warranty Disclaimers may have is void and has no effect on the meaning of this License.
- VERBATIM COPYING
You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.
You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may publicly display copies.
- COPYING IN QUANTITY
If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers) of the Document, numbering more than 100, and the Document’s license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition. Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.
If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.
If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a computer-network location from which the general network-using public has access to download using public-standard network protocols a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material. If you use the latter option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public.
It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.
You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:
- Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
- List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement.
- State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the Modified Version, as the publisher.
- Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.
- Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.
- Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
- Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Document’s license notice.
- Include an unaltered copy of this License.
- Preserve the section Entitled “History”, Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled “History” in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
- Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the “History” section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.
- For any section Entitled “Acknowledgements” or “Dedications”, Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.
- Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.
- Delete any section Entitled “Endorsements”. Such a section may not be included in the Modified Version.
- Do not retitle any existing section to be Entitled “Endorsements” or to conflict in title with any Invariant Section.
- Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers.
If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version’s license notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.
You may add a section Entitled “Endorsements”, provided it contains nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various parties—for example, statements of peer review or that the text has been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a standard.
You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Document already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.
The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.
- COMBINING DOCUMENTS
You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice, and that you preserve all their Warranty Disclaimers.
The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the combined work.
In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled “History” in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled “History”; likewise combine any sections Entitled “Acknowledgements”, and any sections Entitled “Dedications”. You must delete all sections Entitled “Endorsements.”
- COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS
You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.
You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.
- AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS
A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an “aggregate” if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation’s users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.
If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document’s Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.
Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.
If a section in the Document is Entitled “Acknowledgements”, “Dedications”, or “History”, the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.
You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.
Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.
Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, receipt of a copy of some or all of the same material does not give you any rights to use it.
- FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS LICENSE
The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/.
Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of this License can be used, that proxy’s public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Document.
“Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site” (or “MMC Site”) means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A “Massive Multiauthor Collaboration” (or “MMC”) contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.
“CC-BY-SA” means the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license published by Creative Commons Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation with a principal place of business in San Francisco, California, as well as future copyleft versions of that license published by that same organization.
“Incorporate” means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or in part, as part of another Document.
An MMC is “eligible for relicensing” if it is licensed under this License, and if all works that were first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.
The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.
ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents
To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of the License in the document and put the following copyright and license notices just after the title page:
Copyright (C) year your name. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled ``GNU Free Documentation License''.
If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the “with…Texts.” line with this:
with the Invariant Sections being list their titles, with the Front-Cover Texts being list, and with the Back-Cover Texts being list.
If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.
If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of free software license, such as the GNU General Public License, to permit their use in free software.
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