by The R6RS editors; John Cowan (shepherd); Shiro Kawai (implementation; requires a hook)
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This is an extract from the R6RS that documents its support for positioning ports. Binary ports can be positioned to read or write at a specific byte; textual ports at a specific character, although character positions can't be synthesized portably. It has been lightly edited to fit R7RS style.
The procedures documented in this SRFI allow reading bytes or characters from a port, especially a port associated with a file, in arbitrary order. By setting the port position before reading or writing, it is possible to jump to the nth record in a flat file of fixed-length records, or to rewind a file and process it repeatedly, or to discover the length of a file, or to append to it (though in the presence of multiple writers, this technique for appending is not reliable). While these abilities are not as important as they once were, they still have their uses.
Note that transcoded ports
do not always support the
The position of a transcoded port may not be well-defined,
and may be hard to calculate even when defined,
especially when transcoding operations are done in bulk.
Similarly, although custom ports have provisions for supporting port positioning, it is not appropriate for all custom ports to do so.
port-has-port-position? procedure returns
#t if the
port supports the
port-position operation, and
otherwise. If the port does not support the operation,
port-position procedure returns some implementation-dependent
object representing as much of the state of the port at its current position
as is necessary to save and restore that position. This is at a minimum the position itself.
This value may be useful only as
the pos argument to
set-port-position!, if the latter is
even supported on the port (see below).
However, if the port is binary and the object is an exact integer,
then it is the position measured in bytes,
and can be used to compute a new position some
specified number of bytes away.
(set-port-position! port pos)
For a textual port, it is implementation-defined what happens if pos is not
the return value of a call to
port-position on port.
However, a binary port will also accept an exact integer,
in which case the port position is set to the specified number of bytes
from the beginning of the port data.
If this is not sufficient information to specify the port state,
or the specified position is uninterpretable by the port,
an error satisfying
i/o-invalid-position-error? is signaled.
port-has-set-port-position!? procedure returns
#t if the port
set-port-position! operation, and
set-port-position! procedure is invoked on
a port that does not support the operation
or if pos is not in the range of valid positions of port,
set-port-position! signals an error.
Otherwise, it sets the current position
of the port to pos. If port is an output
set-port-position! first flushes port
(even if the port position will not change).
If port is a binary output port and the current position is set
beyond the current end of the data in the underlying data sink, the object is
not extended until new data is written at that position.
The contents of any intervening positions are unspecified.
It is also possible to set the position of a binary input port
beyond the end of the data in the data source,
but a read will fail unless the data has been extended by other means.
File ports can always be extended in this manner
within the limits of the underlying operating system.
In other types of ports, if an attempt is made to set the position beyond the
current end of data in the underlying object,
and the object does not support extension,
an error satisfying
i/o-invalid-position-error? is signaled.
Returns a condition object which satisfies
i/o-invalid-position-error?. The pos argument
represents a position passed to
#t if obj is an object created by
make-i/o-invalid-position-error? or an object raised in the
circumstances described in this SRFI, or
#f if it is not.
Every conforming R6RS implementation, including at least Chez,
Guile, IronScheme, Larceny, Racket, and Vicare, provides these
procedures in the
(rnrs io ports) library.
R6RS binary ports always return the port position as an exact integer.
There is a sample implementation for R7RS that depends on overriding the built-in port procedures. It illustrates both SRFI 181 and SRFI 192, and it can be found in the Git repository for SRFI 192.
There is also a second sample implementation for Gauche using its native facilities, though it is incomplete.
This would have been much more difficult without the R6RS team, who produced a good-enough (as opposed to perfect) design that John was happy to adopt.
Much of the content of this SRFI is drawn from R6RS, which does not have a copyright notice. It does, however, contain the following copyright license:
We intend this report to belong to the entire Scheme community, and so we grant permission to copy it in whole or in part without fee.
For the remaining content, the standard SRFI license applies:
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