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HELP SEARCH_LISTS                                John Williams, Jan 1991

         CONTENTS - (Use <ENTER> g to access required sections)

 -- Introduction
 -- Search list format
 -- How VED uses annotated directory names
 -- Manipulating search lists
 -- Related documentation

-- Introduction --------------------------------------------------------

Some POPLOG components, such as program libraries and documentation, are
normally referred to by incomplete filenames, which do not include any
directory information.

For example, the commands

    lib flavours
    help news

refer to a library file named "flavours", and a HELP file named "news",
but do not specify the directory in which those files might be found.

Commands like LIB and HELP use "search lists" to fill in the missing
directory information. A search list defines the set of directories in
which to look for a given file. POPLOG includes many built-in search
lists, including

    *POPAUTOLIST             Auto-loadable library directories
    *POPUSESLIST            All library directories (used by *SHOWLIB)
    *VEDHELPLIST            HELP file directories
    *VEDTEACHLIST           TEACH file directories
    *VEDREFLIST             REF file directories

The rest of this file discusses the format of search lists, and the
procedures available for using them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the current version of POPLOG (V14), library search
lists and documentation search lists have slightly different formats.
This file concentrates on documentation search lists. Library search
lists are discussed in HELP * POPAUTOLIST, and REF * LIBRARY.

-- SYSSEARCHPATH -------------------------------------------------------

The "core" procedure for examining a search list is *SYSSEARCHPATH. This
procedure takes two arguments, a search list, and the name of a library,
or document. It examines the directories in the search list one by one,
from left to right, looking for the desired file. If it finds it, it
stops, and returns the full name of the file. If the file can't be

A simple example:

    syssearchpath(['/dev' '/etc' '/usr'], 'passwd') =>
    ** /etc/passwd

(Note for VMS users: /etc/passwd is the standard Unix "password" file).

*SYSSEARCHPATH is documented fully in REF * LIBRARY.

-- Search list format --------------------------------------------------

In the above example, the search list consisted of a list of strings,
each string being the name of a directory. However, search lists may
contain other types of object: words, identifiers, procedures, and
embedded lists. Their significance is described below.

A string in a search list is taken to be the name of a directory (e.g.
'$usepop/pop/lib/database' (Unix) or USEPOP:[POP.LIB.DATABASE] (VMS)).

A word or identifier occuring in a search list is interpreted as a
pointer to another, embedded, search list. For example, POPUSESLIST
includes <ident popautolist>. This ensures that POPUSESLIST is always a
superset of POPAUTOLIST.

A list occuring in a search list is considered to be an "annotated"
directory name. The first element of the list should be an ordinary
directory name (i.e. a string); the rest of the list is extra
information for VED. (More details below).

Procedures occuring in search lists are used to "compute" full
pathnames. This rarely used feature is discussed fully in REF * LIBRARY.

-- How VED uses annotated directory names ------------------------------

Annotated directory names are used to specify appropriate values for
*VEDFILEPROPS and *SUBSYSTEM to files in a particular directory. In
other words, an annotated directory name defines the "documentation
category" (HELP, REF, TEACH etc), and "subsystem" (Lisp, Prolog, PML,
etc). For example, the main Lisp HELP directory is denoted by:

    ['$usepop/pop/lisp/help/' help "lisp]

The second element of the list is the value for VEDFILEPROPS.

The third element, which is optional, is the value for SUBSYSTEM
(preceded by " to indicate a quoted word).

If SYSSEARCHPATH locates a file via an annotated directory name, it
returns an annotated filename, i.e. a copy of the list, with the full
pathname of the file inserted in place of the directory name. For

    syssearchpath([[^vedhelpdirectory help]], 'news') =>
    ** ['/csunb/pop/v13.91/S.sun3/pop/help/news' help]

The standard documentation search lists *VEDHELPLIST, *VEDTEACHLIST,
*VEDREFLIST, *VEDDOCLIST and *VEDSRCLIST all contain annotated directory

-- Manipulating search lists -------------------------------------------

The following two procedures may be useful in manipulating search lists:

    flatten_searchlist(SEARCH_LIST) -> LIST

    extend_searchlist(DIR, SEARCH_LIST) -> SEARCH_LIST

The first, *FLATTEN_SEARCHLIST, "flattens" complex search lists like
POPUSESLIST and VEDHELPLIST (which contain identifiers, lists etc) into
a simple list of directory names.

*EXTEND_SEARCHLIST is used to add a new directory to a search list,
unless the directory is already present.

These procedures are documented fully in REF * LIBRARY.

-- Related documentation -----------------------------------------------

See also

    REF * LIBRARY               - Full explanation of search lists
    HELP * AUTOLOAD             - The POP-11 autoloading mechanism
    HELP * POPAUTOLIST           - Search list for autoloadable files
    HELP * POPUSESLIST          - Search list for all POP-11 libraries
    HELP * VEDSYSFILE           - How VED finds documentation files

--- C.all/help/search_lists
--- Copyright University of Sussex 1991. All rights reserved. ----------