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Re: (goto-char ...) error

From: Deniz Dogan
Subject: Re: (goto-char ...) error
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2011 19:45:30 +0100

2011/2/22 ken <address@hidden>:
> On 02/22/2011 12:31 PM Deniz Dogan wrote:
>> 2011/2/22 ken <address@hidden>:
>>> Performing one search, I save the result with
>>> (setq ptname (re-search-forward ...))
>>> Then I want to back up one character and perform another search, so I do
>>> (goto-char (- ptname 1))
>>> But this pukes an error.  What's unkosher here?
>> It's much easier if you tell us what the error is.
>> I tried to reproduce the problem using this code:
>> ;; search for "a"
>> (let ((ptname (re-search-forward "a" nil t)))
>>   (when ptname
>>     (goto-char (- ptname 1))))
>> It all depends on how you use re-search-forward. As you can see in my
>> example, I pass t as the third argument meaning "don't error if you
>> can't find it, just return nil". I then make sure that ptname is
>> non-nil before I try to act on it using `-', otherwise we would be
>> doing (- nil 1) which makes no sense.
> My understanding is that the 4th arg to re-search-forward is to repeat
> the search, so I set that to nil.
> I get the same error whether the 3rd arg is t or nil (!?):
> (setq ptname (re-search-forward "REGEXP" endpt t nil))
>      (if ptname
>          ((goto-char (- ptname 1))
>           ....
> The error line in *Messages* says:
> if: Invalid function: (goto-char (- begin-name-value 1))

You have one pair of parentheses too many.


((goto-char (- ptname 1))


(goto-char (- ptname 1))

The error is telling you that "(goto-char (- ptname 1))" is an invalid
function, which could potentially be confusing, but it really makes
sense.  You call a function named `foo' like (foo ...), but if you do
"((foo ...))" you're trying to call a function named "(foo ...)" which
is not a valid function.

>From the documentation of `if':

If COND yields non-nil, do THEN, else do ELSE...

This means that your THEN clause must be a single expression.
Everything starting with the third argument to `if' is considered part
of the ELSE clause.

If you want to multiple expressions in the THEN clause, use `progn' as

(if (= x y)
      (message "They're equal")
      (message "Hooray!"))
  (message "They're not equal.")
  (message "Too bad, bro."))

I hope that helps!

Deniz Dogan

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