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The Termcap Library

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3. Definitions of the Terminal Capabilities

This section is divided into many subsections, each for one aspect of use of display terminals. For writing a display program, you usually need only check the subsections for the operations you want to use. For writing a terminal description, you must read each subsection and fill in the capabilities described there.

String capabilities that are display commands may require numeric parameters (see section 1.6 Filling In Parameters). Most such capabilities do not use parameters. When a capability requires parameters, this is explicitly stated at the beginning of its definition. In simple cases, the first or second sentence of the definition mentions all the parameters, in the order they should be given, using a name in upper case for each one. For example, the `rp' capability is a command that requires two parameters; its definition begins as follows:

String of commands to output a graphic character c, repeated n times.

In complex cases or when there are many parameters, they are described explicitly.

When a capability is described as obsolete, this means that programs should not be written to look for it, but terminal descriptions should still be written to provide it.

When a capability is described as very obsolete, this means that it should be omitted from terminal descriptions as well.

3.1 Basic Characteristics  Basic characteristics.
3.2 Screen Size  Screen size, and what happens when it changes.
3.3 Cursor Motion  Various ways to move the cursor.
3.4 Wrapping  What happens if you write a character in the last column.
3.5 Scrolling  Pushing text up and down on the screen.
3.6 Windows  Limiting the part of the window that output affects.
3.7 Clearing Parts of the Screen  Erasing one or many lines.
3.8 Insert/Delete Line  Making new blank lines in mid-screen; deleting lines.
3.9 Insert/Delete Character  Inserting and deleting characters within a line.
3.10 Standout and Appearance Modes  Highlighting some of the text.
3.11 Underlining  Underlining some of the text.
3.12 Cursor Visibility  Making the cursor more or less easy to spot.
3.13 Bell  Attracts user's attention; not localized on the screen.
3.14 Keypad and Function Keys  Recognizing when function keys or arrows are typed.
3.15 Meta Key  META acts like an extra shift key.
3.16 Initialization  Commands used to initialize or reset the terminal.
3.17 Padding Capabilities  Info for the kernel on how much padding is needed.
3.18 Status Line  A status line displays "background" information.
3.19 Half-Line Motion  Moving by half-lines, for superscripts and subscripts.
3.20 Controlling Printers Attached to Terminals  Controlling auxiliary printers of display terminals.


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