Specialized modes sometimes need to let the user access from the same buffer several vastly different types of text. For example, you may need to display a summary of the buffer text, in addition to letting the user access the text itself.
This could be implemented with multiple buffers (kept in sync when the user edits the text), or with narrowing (see Narrowing). But these alternatives might sometimes become tedious or prohibitively expensive, especially if each type of text requires expensive buffer-global operations in order to provide correct display and editing commands.
Emacs provides another facility for such modes: you can quickly swap
buffer text between two buffers with
function is very fast because it doesn’t move any text, it only
changes the internal data structures of the buffer object to point to
a different chunk of text. Using it, you can pretend that a group of
two or more buffers are actually a single virtual buffer that holds
the contents of all the individual buffers together.
This function swaps the text of the current buffer and that of its argument buffer. It signals an error if one of the two buffers is an indirect buffer (see Indirect Buffers) or is a base buffer of an indirect buffer.
All the buffer properties that are related to the buffer text are
swapped as well: the positions of point and mark, all the markers, the
overlays, the text properties, the undo list, the value of the
enable-multibyte-characters flag (see enable-multibyte-characters), etc.
If you use
buffer-swap-text on a file-visiting buffer, you
should set up a hook to save the buffer’s original text rather than
what it was swapped with.
works for this purpose. You should probably set
buffer-saved-size to -2 in the buffer, so that changes
in the text it is swapped with will not interfere with auto-saving.