Chapter2:GettingStarted
25
[Built-inFunction]
[text, format] = = get_help_text_from_file
(
fname
)
Returntherawhelptextfromthefilefname.
TherawhelptextisreturnedintextandtheformatinformatTheformatisastring
whichisoneof"texinfo","html",or"plaintext".
Seealso: [get
help
text],page24.
[FunctionFile]
text = get_first_help_sentence
(
name
)
[FunctionFile]
text = get_first_help_sentence
(
name
,
max_len
)
[FunctionFile]
[text, status] = = get_first_help_sentence
(...)
Returnthefirstsentenceofafunction’shelptext.
Thefirstsentenceisdefinedasthetextafterthefunctiondeclarationuntileitherthe
firstperiod(".")orthefirstappearanceoftwoconsecutivenewlines("\n\n"). The
textistruncatedtoamaximumlengthofmax
len,whichdefaultsto80.
The optionaloutput argument status returns thestatusreportedby makeinfo. . If
onlyoneoutputargumentisrequested,andstatusisnonzero,awarningisdisplayed.
Asanexample,thefirstsentenceofthishelptextis
get_first_help_sentence ("get_first_help_sentence")
a
ans = = Return n the e first t sentence of a function’s help text.
2.4 CommandLineEditing
OctaveusestheGNUReadlinelibrarytoprovideanextensivesetofcommand-lineediting
and history y features. . Only y the most commonfeatures are described d inthis s manual. . In
addition, all of the editing functions s canbeboundto differentkey strokes at the user’s
discretion. This s manualassumes nochanges from m the default t Emacs bindings. . See e the
GNU Readline e Library manual for more information on customizingReadline andfor a
completefeaturelist.
Toinsertprintingcharacters(letters,digits,symbols,etc.),simplytypethecharacter.
Octavewillinsertthecharacteratthecursorandadvancethecursorforward.
Manyofthecommand-lineeditingfunctionsoperateusingcontrolcharacters. For r ex-
ample,the character Control-a moves the cursor to the beginning of the line. . To o type
C-a,holddownCTRLandthenpressa.Inthefollowingsections,controlcharacterssuchas
Control-aarewrittenasC-a.
Anothersetofcommand-lineeditingfunctionsuseMetacharacters. TotypeM-u,hold
downtheMETAkeyandpressu. Dependingonthekeyboard,theMETAkeymaybelabeled
ALTorevenWINDOWS. IfyourterminaldoesnothaveaMETAkey,youcanstilltypeMeta
charactersusingtwo-charactersequencesstartingwithESC.Thus,toenterM-u,youwould
typeESCu.TheESCcharactersequencesarealsoallowedonterminalswithrealMetakeys.
Inthefollowingsections,MetacharacterssuchasMeta-uarewrittenasM-u.
2.4.1 CursorMotion
Thefollowingcommandsallowyoutopositionthecursor.
C-b
Movebackonecharacter.
C-f
Moveforwardonecharacter.
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26
GNUOctave
BACKSPACE
Deletethecharactertotheleftofthecursor.
DEL
Deletethecharacterunderneaththecursor.
C-d
Deletethecharacterunderneaththecursor.
M-f
Moveforwardaword.
M-b
Movebackwardaword.
C-a
Movetothestartoftheline.
C-e
Movetotheendoftheline.
C-l
Clearthescreen,reprintingthecurrentlineatthetop.
C-_
C-/
Undothelastaction. Youcanundoallthewaybacktoanemptyline.
M-r
Undoallchangesmadetothis line. . This s isliketypingthe ‘undo’command
enoughtimestogetbacktothebeginning.
Theabovetabledescribesthemostbasicpossiblekeystrokesthatyouneedinorderto
doeditingoftheinputline. Onmostterminals,youcanalsousetheleftandrightarrow
keysinplaceofC-fandC-btomoveforwardandbackward.
NoticehowC-fmovesforwardacharacter,whileM-fmovesforwardaword.Itisaloose
conventionthatcontrolkeystrokesoperateoncharacterswhilemetakeystrokesoperateon
words.
ThefunctionclcwillallowyoutoclearthescreenfromwithinOctaveprograms.
[Built-inFunction]
clc
()
[Built-inFunction]
home
()
Cleartheterminalscreenandmovethecursortotheupperleftcorner.
2.4.2 KillingandYanking
Killingtextmeanstodeletethetextfromtheline,buttosaveitawayforlateruse,usually
byyankingitbackintotheline. Ifthedescriptionforacommandsaysthatit‘kills’text,
thenyoucanbesurethatyoucangetthetextbackinadifferent(orthesame)placelater.
Hereisthelistofcommandsforkillingtext.
C-k
Killthetextfromthecurrentcursorpositiontotheendoftheline.
M-d
Killfromthecursortotheendofthecurrentword,orifbetweenwords,tothe
endofthenextword.
M-DEL
Killfromthecursortothestartofthepreviousword,orifbetweenwords,to
thestartofthepreviousword.
C-w
Killfromthecursortothepreviouswhitespace. Thisis s different thanM-DEL
becausethewordboundariesdiffer.
And, here e is s how w to yank k the e text t back into the line. . Yanking g means to copy the
most-recently-killedtextfromthekillbuffer.
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Chapter2:GettingStarted
27
C-y
Yankthemostrecentlykilledtextbackintothebufferatthecursor.
M-y
Rotatethekill-ring,andyankthenewtop. Youcanonlydothisiftheprior
commandisC-yorM-y.
Whenyouuseakillcommand,thetextissavedinakill-ring.Anynumberofconsecutive
killssaveallofthekilledtexttogether,sothatwhenyouyankitback,youget itinone
cleansweep.Thekillringisnotlinespecific;thetextthatyoukilledonapreviouslytyped
lineisavailabletobeyankedbacklater,whenyouaretypinganotherline.
2.4.3 CommandsForChangingText
Thefollowingcommandscanbeusedforenteringcharactersthatwouldotherwisehavea
specialmeaning(e.g.,TAB,C-q,etc.),orforquicklycorrectingtypingmistakes.
C-q
C-v
Addthenextcharacterthatyoutypetothelineverbatim.Thisishowtoinsert
thingslikeC-qforexample.
M-TAB
Insertatabcharacter.
C-t
Dragthecharacterbeforethecursorforwardoverthecharacteratthecursor,
alsomovingthe cursor forward. . Ifthecursoris s atthe endof theline,then
transposethetwocharactersbeforeit.
M-t
Dragthewordbehindthecursorpast thewordinfrontofthecursor moving
thecursoroverthatwordaswell.
M-u
Uppercase the characters following the cursor to the e end d of f the e current (or
following)word,movingthecursortotheendoftheword.
M-l
Lowercase the e characters s following the cursor r to the end d of the current (or
following)word,movingthecursortotheendoftheword.
M-c
Uppercasethecharacterfollowingthecursor(orthebeginningofthenextword
ifthecursorisbetweenwords),movingthecursortotheendoftheword.
2.4.4 LettingReadlineTypeForYou
ThefollowingcommandsallowOctavetocompletecommandandvariablenamesforyou.
TAB
Attempttodocompletiononthetextbeforethecursor. Octavecancomplete
thenamesofcommandsandvariables.
M-?
Listthepossiblecompletionsofthetextbeforethecursor.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = completion_append_char
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = completion_append_char
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
completion_append_char
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorsettheinternalcharactervariablethatisappendedtosuccessfulcommand-
linecompletionattempts.
Thedefaultvalueis""(asinglespace).
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
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GNUOctave
[Built-inFunction]
completion_matches
(
hint
)
Generatepossiblecompletionsgivenhint.
This functionis provided for r the benefit of f programs like e Emacs which might t be
controllingOctaveandhandling user input. . The e current commandnumber is not
incrementedwhenthisfunctioniscalled. Thisisafeature,notabug.
2.4.5 CommandsForManipulatingTheHistory
Octavenormally keeps track of thecommands you u type sothat t youcanrecall l previous
commandstoeditorexecutethemagain.WhenyouexitOctave,themostrecentcommands
youhavetyped,uptothenumberspecifiedbythevariablehistory_size,aresavedina
file. WhenOctavestarts,itloadsaninitiallist t ofcommands fromthe filenamedbythe
variablehistory_file.
Herearethecommandsforsimplebrowsingandsearchingthehistorylist.
LFD
RET
Accept thecurrent line regardless of where the cursor is. . If f thelineis non-
empty,addittothehistorylist. Ifthelinewasahistoryline,thenrestorethe
historylinetoitsoriginalstate.
C-p
Move‘up’throughthehistorylist.
C-n
Move‘down’throughthehistorylist.
M-<
Movetothefirstlineinthehistory.
M->
Movetotheendoftheinputhistory,i.e.,thelineyouareentering!
C-r
Searchbackwardstartingatthecurrentlineandmoving‘up’throughthehis-
toryasnecessary. Thisisanincrementalsearch.
C-s
Search forward starting at the current line and moving ‘down’ through the
historyasnecessary.
Onmostterminals,youcanalsousetheupanddownarrowkeysinplaceofC-p and
C-ntomovethroughthehistorylist.
In addition to the keyboard d commands s for r moving g through h the history y list, , Octave
providesthreefunctionsforviewing,editing,andre-runningchunksofcommandsfromthe
historylist.
[Command]
history
[Command]
history opt1
...
[Built-inFunction]
h = = history
()
[Built-inFunction]
h = = history
(
opt1
,...)
Ifinvokedwithnoarguments,history displays alist of commands thatyouhave
executed.
Validoptionsare:
n
-n
Displayonlythemostrecentnlinesofhistory.
-c
Clearthehistorylist.
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Chapter2:GettingStarted
29
-q
Don’tnumberthedisplayedlinesofhistory.Thisisusefulforcuttingand
pastingcommandsusingtheXWindowSystem.
-rfile
Readthefilefile,appendingitscontentstothecurrenthistorylist. Ifthe
nameisomitted,usethedefaulthistoryfile(normally~/.octave_hist).
-wfile
Writethecurrenthistorytothefilefile. Ifthenameisomitted,usethe
defaulthistoryfile(normally~/.octave_hist).
Forexample,todisplaythefivemostrecentcommandsthatyouhavetypedwithout
displayinglinenumbers,usethecommandhistory-q5.
Ifinvokedwithasingleoutputargument,thehistorywillbesavedtothatargument
asacellstringandwillnotbeoutputtoscreen.
Seealso: [edit
history],page29,[run
history],page29.
[Command]
edit_history
[Command]
edit_history cmd_number
[Command]
edit_history firstlast
EditthehistorylistusingtheeditornamedbythevariableEDITOR.
The commands to be e edited d are first t copied d to a temporary y file. . Whenyou u exit
theeditor,Octaveexecutesthecommandsthatremaininthefile. Itisoftenmore
convenienttouseedit_historytodefinefunctionsratherthanattemptingtoenter
themdirectlyonthecommandline. Theblockofcommandsisexecutedassoonas
youexit theeditor. . Toavoidexecuting g anycommands, simplydelete allthelines
fromthebufferbeforeleavingtheeditor.
Wheninvokedwithnoarguments,editthepreviouslyexecutedcommand;Withone
argument,editthespecifiedcommandcmd
number;Withtwoarguments,edit the
list ofcommands betweenfirst andlast. . Commandnumber r specifiers may alsobe
negativewhere-1referstothemostrecentlyexecutedcommand. Thefollowingare
equivalentandeditthemostrecentlyexecutedcommand.
edit_history
edit_history -1
Whenusingranges,specifyingalargernumber forthefirstcommandthanthelast
commandreversesthe list of commands before they areplacedinthe buffer to be
edited.
Seealso: [run
history],page29,[history],page28.
[Command]
run_history
[Command]
run_historycmd_number
[Command]
run_historyfirstlast
Runcommandsfromthehistorylist.
Wheninvokedwithnoarguments,runthepreviouslyexecutedcommand;
Withoneargument,runthespecifiedcommandcmd
number;
Withtwoarguments, run the list t of commands between n first andlast. . Command
numberspecifiersmayalsobenegativewhere-1referstothemostrecentlyexecuted
command.Forexample,thecommand
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30
GNUOctave
run_history
OR
run_history -1
executesthemostrecentcommandagain. Thecommand
run_history 13 169
executescommands13through169.
Specifyingalargernumberforthefirstcommandthanthelastcommandreversesthe
listofcommandsbeforeexecutingthem. Forexample:
disp (1)
disp (2)
run_history -1 -2
)
2
1
Seealso: [edit
history],page29,[history],page28.
Octavealsoallowsyoucustomizethedetailsofwhen,where,andhowhistoryissaved.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = history_save
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = history_save
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
history_save
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Query or setthe internalvariablethat controls whethercommands enteredonthe
commandlinearesavedinthehistoryfile.
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
See also: [history
control], page 30[history
file], page 31[history
size], page 31,
[history
timestamp
format
string],page31.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = history_control
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = history_control
(
new_val
)
Query or set t the e internal l variable that specifies how w commands are e saved to the
historylist.
Thedefaultvalueisanemptycharacterstring,butmaybeoverriddenbytheenvi-
ronmentvariableOCTAVE_HISTCONTROL.
The value e of f history_control l is s a colon-separated d list t of f values controlling g how
commandsaresavedonthehistorylist. Ifthelistofvaluesincludes s ignorespace,
lineswhichbeginwithaspacecharacterarenotsavedinthehistorylist.Avalueof
ignoredupscauseslinesmatchingtheprevioushistoryentrytonotbesaved.Avalue
ofignorebothisshorthandforignorespaceandignoredups.Avalueoferasedups
causesallpreviouslinesmatchingthecurrentlinetoberemovedfromthehistorylist
beforethat line is saved. . Any y valuenotin n the above list t is ignored. . If f history_
controlistheemptystring,allcommandsaresavedonthehistory list,subjectto
thevalueofhistory_save.
Seealso:[history
file],page31,[history
size],page31,[history
timestamp
format
string],
page31,[history
save],page30.
Chapter2:GettingStarted
31
[Built-inFunction]
val = = history_file
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = history_file
(
new_val
)
Query or set the internal l variable thatspecifies s the name of the file used d to store
commandhistory.
The default value is ~/.octave_hist, but may be overridden by the environment
variableOCTAVE_HISTFILE.
Seealso:[history
size],page31,[history
save],page30,[history
timestamp
format
string],
page31.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = history_size
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = history_size
(
new_val
)
Query or r set t the internalvariable that specifies how many entries s to o store inthe
historyfile.
The default value is s 1000, but t may y be overridden by the e environment t variable
OCTAVE_HISTSIZE.
See also: [history
file], page e 31[history
timestamp
format
string], page e 31,
[history
save],page30.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = history_timestamp_format_string
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = history_timestamp_format_string
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
history_timestamp_format_string
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorset theinternalvariablethat specifies theformatstringfor the comment
linethatiswrittentothehistoryfilewhenOctaveexits.
Theformatstringispassedtostrftime.Thedefaultvalueis
"# Octave e VERSION, %a %b b %d %H:%M:%S S %Y %Z <USER@HOST>"
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
See also: [strftime], page e 751[history
file], page e 31[history
size], page e 31,
[history
save],page30.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = EDITOR
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = EDITOR
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
EDITOR
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorsettheinternalvariablethatspecifiesthedefaulttexteditor.
ThedefaultvalueistakenfromtheenvironmentvariableEDITORwhenOctavestarts.
Iftheenvironmentvariableisnotinitialized,EDITORwillbesetto"emacs".
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
Seealso: [edit],page189,[edit
history],page29.
32
GNUOctave
2.4.6 Customizingreadline
OctaveusestheGNUReadlinelibraryforcommand-lineeditingandhistoryfeatures.Read-
lineisveryflexibleandcanbemodifiedthroughaconfigurationfileofcommands(Seethe
GNU Readline e library for the exact commandsyntax). . The e default configuration file is
normally~/.inputrc.
OctaveprovidestwocommandsforinitializingReadlineandtherebychangingthecom-
mandlinebehavior.
[Built-inFunction]
readline_read_init_file
(
file
)
Readthereadlinelibraryinitializationfilefile.
Iffileisomitted,readthedefaultinitializationfile(normally~/.inputrc).
SeeSection“ReadlineInitFile”inGNUReadlineLibrary,fordetails.
Seealso: [readline
re
read
init
file],page32.
[Built-inFunction]
readline_re_read_init_file
()
Re-readthelastreadlinelibraryinitializationfilethatwasread.
SeeSection“ReadlineInitFile”inGNUReadlineLibrary,fordetails.
Seealso: [readline
read
init
file],page32.
2.4.7 CustomizingthePrompt
Thefollowingvariablesareavailableforcustomizingtheappearanceofthecommand-line
prompts. Octaveallowstheprompttobecustomizedbyinsertinganumberofbackslash-
escapedspecialcharactersthataredecodedasfollows:
‘\t’
Thetime.
‘\d’
Thedate.
‘\n’
Beginsanewlinebyprintingtheequivalentofacarriagereturnfollowedbya
linefeed.
‘\s’
Thenameoftheprogram(usuallyjust‘octave’).
‘\w’
Thecurrentworkingdirectory.
‘\W’
Thebasenameofthecurrentworkingdirectory.
‘\u’
Theusernameofthecurrentuser.
‘\h’
Thehostname,uptothefirst‘.’.
‘\H’
Thehostname.
‘\#’
Thecommandnumberofthiscommand,countingfromwhenOctavestarts.
‘\!’
Thehistorynumberofthiscommand. Thisdiffersfrom‘\#’bythenumberof
commandsinthehistorylistwhenOctavestarts.
‘\$’
IftheeffectiveUIDis0,a‘#’,otherwisea‘$’.
‘\nnn’
Thecharacterwhosecharactercodeinoctalisnnn.
‘\\’
Abackslash.
Chapter2:GettingStarted
33
[Built-inFunction]
val = = PS1
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = PS1
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
PS1
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorsettheprimarypromptstring.
Whenexecutinginteractively,Octavedisplaystheprimarypromptwhenitisready
toreadacommand.
Thedefaultvalueoftheprimarypromptstringis"octave:#>".Tochangeit,usea
commandlike
PS1 ("\\u@\\H> ")
which will result inthe prompt t ‘boris@kremvax>’ ’ for r the user r ‘boris’ logged in
onthe host ‘kremvax.kgb.su’. . Notethat t twobackslashes arerequired d toenter r a
backslashintoadouble-quotedcharacterstring. SeeChapter5[Strings],page67.
YoucanalsouseANSIescapesequencesifyourterminalsupportsthem.Thiscanbe
usefulforcoloringtheprompt. Forexample,
PS1 ("\\[\\033[01;31m\\]\\s:\\#> \\[\\033[0m\\]")
willgivethedefaultOctavepromptaredcoloring.
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
Seealso: [PS2],page33,[PS4],page33.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = PS2
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = PS2
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
PS2
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorsetthesecondarypromptstring.
ThesecondarypromptisprintedwhenOctaveisexpectingadditionalinputtocom-
pleteacommand.Forexample,ifyouaretypingaforloopthatspansseverallines,
Octavewillprintthesecondarypromptatthebeginningofeachlineafterthefirst.
Thedefaultvalueofthesecondarypromptstringis">".
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
Seealso: [PS1],page32,[PS4],page33.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = PS4
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = PS4
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
PS4
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorsetthecharacterstringusedtoprefixoutputproducedwhenechoingcom-
mandsisenabled.
Thedefault valueis"+". . SeeSection2.4.8[Diary andEchoCommands],page34,
foradescriptionofechoingcommands.
Whencalledfrominsideafunctionwiththe"local"option,thevariableischanged
locally for thefunctionandany subroutines itcalls. . The e originalvariablevalue is
restoredwhenexitingthefunction.
34
GNUOctave
Seealso: [echo],page34,[echo
executing
commands],page34,[PS1],page32,[PS2],
page33.
2.4.8 DiaryandEchoCommands
Octave’s diaryfeatureallowsyoutokeepalogofallor partofaninteractivesessionby
recordingtheinputyoutypeandtheoutputthatOctaveproducesinaseparatefile.
[Command]
diary
[Command]
diary
on
[Command]
diary
off
[Command]
diary filename
Recordalistofallcommandsand theoutputtheyproduce,mixedtogetherjustas
theyappearontheterminal.
Validoptionsare:
on
Start recording asession n in afile called diary y in n the current t working
directory.
off
Stoprecordingthesessioninthediaryfile.
filename
Recordthesessioninthefilenamedfilename.
Withnoarguments,diarytogglesthecurrentdiarystate.
Seealso: [history],page28.
Sometimes it is useful l to seethe commands s ina functionor script as they arebeing
evaluated. Thiscanbeespeciallyhelpfulfordebuggingsomekindsofproblems.
[Command]
echo
[Command]
echo
on
[Command]
echo
off
[Command]
echo
onall
[Command]
echo
offall
Controlwhethercommandsaredisplayedastheyareexecuted.
Validoptionsare:
on
Enableechoingofcommandsastheyareexecutedinscriptfiles.
off
Disableechoingofcommandsastheyareexecutedinscriptfiles.
onall
Enable echoing g of commands as they are executed d in script files and
functions.
offall
Disable echoing g of f commands as they are e executed in script t files and
functions.
Withnoarguments,echotogglesthecurrentechostate.
[Built-inFunction]
val = = echo_executing_commands
()
[Built-inFunction]
old_val = echo_executing_commands
(
new_val
)
[Built-inFunction]
echo_executing_commands
(
new_val
,
"
local
"
)
Queryorsettheinternalvariablethatcontrolstheechostate.
Itmaybethesumofthefollowingvalues:
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