`graph-body-print`

Function
After our preparation in the preceding section, the
`graph-body-print`

function is straightforward. The function
will print column after column of asterisks and blanks, using the
elements of a numbers' list to specify the number of asterisks in each
column. This is a repetitive act, which means we can use a
decrementing `while`

loop or recursive function for the job. In
this section, we will write the definition using a `while`

loop.

The `column-of-graph`

function requires the height of the graph
as an argument, so we should determine and record that as a local variable.

This leads us to the following template for the `while`

loop
version of this function:

(defun graph-body-print (numbers-list) "documentation..." (let ((height ... ...)) (while numbers-listinsert-columns-and-reposition-point(setq numbers-list (cdr numbers-list)))))

We need to fill in the slots of the template.

Clearly, we can use the `(apply 'max numbers-list)`

expression to
determine the height of the graph.

The `while`

loop will cycle through the `numbers-list`

one
element at a time. As it is shortened by the ```
(setq numbers-list
(cdr numbers-list))
```

expression, the car of each instance of the
list is the value of the argument for `column-of-graph`

.

At each cycle of the `while`

loop, the `insert-rectangle`

function inserts the list returned by `column-of-graph`

. Since
the `insert-rectangle`

function moves point to the lower right of
the inserted rectangle, we need to save the location of point at the
time the rectangle is inserted, move back to that position after the
rectangle is inserted, and then move horizontally to the next place
from which `insert-rectangle`

is called.

If the inserted columns are one character wide, as they will be if
single blanks and asterisks are used, the repositioning command is
simply `(forward-char 1)`

; however, the width of a column may be
greater than one. This means that the repositioning command should be
written `(forward-char symbol-width)`

. The `symbol-width`

itself is the length of a `graph-blank`

and can be found using
the expression `(length graph-blank)`

. The best place to bind
the `symbol-width`

variable to the value of the width of graph
column is in the varlist of the `let`

expression.

These considerations lead to the following function definition:

(defun graph-body-print (numbers-list) "Print a bar graph of the NUMBERS-LIST. The numbers-list consists of the Y-axis values." (let ((height (apply 'max numbers-list)) (symbol-width (length graph-blank)) from-position) (while numbers-list (setq from-position (point)) (insert-rectangle (column-of-graph height (car numbers-list))) (goto-char from-position) (forward-char symbol-width) ;; Draw graph column by column. (sit-for 0) (setq numbers-list (cdr numbers-list))) ;; Place point for X axis labels. (forward-line height) (insert "\n") ))

The one unexpected expression in this function is the
`(sit-for 0)`

expression in the `while`

loop. This
expression makes the graph printing operation more interesting to
watch than it would be otherwise. The expression causes Emacs to
sit or do nothing for a zero length of time and then redraw the
screen. Placed here, it causes Emacs to redraw the screen column by
column. Without it, Emacs would not redraw the screen until the
function exits.

We can test `graph-body-print`

with a short list of numbers.

- Install
`graph-symbol`

,`graph-blank`

,`column-of-graph`

, which are in and`graph-body-print`

. - Copy the following expression:
(graph-body-print '(1 2 3 4 6 4 3 5 7 6 5 2 3))

- Switch to the
`*scratch*`buffer and place the cursor where you want the graph to start. - Type
`M-:`(`eval-expression`

). - Yank the
`graph-body-print`

expression into the minibuffer with`C-y`(`yank)`

. - Press <RET> to evaluate the
`graph-body-print`

expression.

Emacs will print a graph like this:

* * ** * **** *** **** ********* * ************ *************