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Programming in Emacs Lisp

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The Complete kill-region Definition

We will go through the condition-case code in a moment. First, let us look at the complete definition of kill-region, with comments added:

 
(defun kill-region (beg end)
  "Kill between point and mark.
The text is deleted but saved in the kill ring."
  (interactive "r")

  ;; 1. `condition-case' takes three arguments.
  ;;    If the first argument is nil, as it is here,
  ;;    information about the error signal is not
  ;;    stored for use by another function.
  (condition-case nil

      ;; 2. The second argument to `condition-case'
      ;;    tells the Lisp interpreter what to do when all goes well.

      ;;    The `delete-and-extract-region' function usually does the
      ;;    work.  If the beginning and ending of the region are both
      ;;    the same, then the variable `string' will be empty, or nil
      (let ((string (delete-and-extract-region beg end)))

        ;; `when' is an `if' clause that cannot take an `else-part'.
        ;; Emacs normally sets the value of `last-command' to the
        ;; previous command.
        ;; `kill-append' concatenates the new string and the old.
        ;; `kill-new' inserts text into a new item in the kill ring.
        (when string
          (if (eq last-command 'kill-region)
              ;; if true, prepend string
              (kill-append string (< end beg))
            (kill-new string)))
        (setq this-command 'kill-region))

    ;; 3. The third argument to `condition-case' tells the interpreter
    ;;    what to do with an error.
    ;;    The third argument has a conditions part and a body part.
    ;;    If the conditions are met (in this case,
    ;;             if text or buffer is read-only)
    ;;    then the body is executed.
    ((buffer-read-only text-read-only) ;; this is the if-part
     ;; then...
     (copy-region-as-kill beg end)
     (if kill-read-only-ok            ;; usually this variable is nil
         (message "Read only text copied to kill ring")
       ;; or else, signal an error if the buffer is read-only;
       (barf-if-buffer-read-only)
       ;; and, in any case, signal that the text is read-only.
       (signal 'text-read-only (list (current-buffer)))))))


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