When you need to modify a function defined in another library, or when you need
to modify a hook like foo
-function, a process filter, or basically
any variable or object field which holds a function value, you can use the
appropriate setter function, such as
defun for named
setq for hook variables, or
process filters, but those are often too blunt, completely throwing away the
The advice feature lets you add to the existing definition of a function, by advising the function. This is a cleaner method than redefining the whole function.
Emacs's advice system provides two sets of primitives for that: the core set,
for function values held in variables and object fields (with the corresponding
remove-function) and another
set layered on top of it for named functions (with the main primitives being
For example, in order to trace the calls to the process filter of a process proc, you could use:
(defun my-tracing-function (proc string) (message "Proc %S received %S" proc string)) (add-function :before (process-filter proc) #'my-tracing-function)
This will cause the process's output to be passed to
before being passed to the original process filter.
receives the same arguments as the original function. When you're done with
it, you can revert to the untraced behavior with:
(remove-function (process-filter proc) #'my-tracing-function)
Similarly, if you want to trace the execution of the function named
display-buffer, you could use:
(defun his-tracing-function (orig-fun &rest args) (message "display-buffer called with args %S" args) (let ((res (apply orig-fun args))) (message "display-buffer returned %S" res) res)) (advice-add 'display-buffer :around #'his-tracing-function)
his-tracing-function is called instead of the original function
and receives the original function (additionally to that function's arguments)
as argument, so it can call it if and when it needs to.
When you're tired of seeing this output, you can revert to the untraced
(advice-remove 'display-buffer #'his-tracing-function)
:around used in the above examples
specify how the two functions are composed, since there are many different
ways to do it. The added function is also called a piece of advice.