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Manual Reference Pages  -  XPROMPT (1)


xprompt - prompt a user for input


X Defaults
Exit Status
See Also


xprompt [ X toolkit options ] [-rlen number] [-ibw number]    [-grab] [-nograb] [-pfn fontname] [-rfn fontname]    [-re] [-nre] [-tf filename] [-w wordchars]    [-warp] [-nowarp]    -p prompt [-r reply] [-p prompt [-r reply]] ...


Xprompt pops up a window containing a prompt and an optional default reply. If more than one prompt argument is given, the cursor-down key and the return key select the next prompt and the cursor-up key selects the previous prompt. The program exits normally by typing <ctrl> D or pressing any mouse button inside the reply area of the window. The replies are printed to stdout, one per line. Most standard editing characters (e.g., Delete, Backspace, <ctrl> U, cursor movement) are available. These default key bindings may be changed.

Xprompt can be aborted by typing <ctrl> C. In this case, no output is generated and an exit code of 1 is returned by the program.

The default is to position the window in the middle of the screen and to grab keyboard input so that the cursor need not be positioned inside the text area. If no height or width geometry is provided, xprompt will calculate it based on the length of the prompt, the reply length, and the fonts being used. If a height (or width) is provided it is interpreted in terms of the character height (or width) in the reply font.


The following command line flags are recognized:
-rlen number
  Specifies the maximum length of the reply. The default is 80 characters.
-ibw number
  Specifies the border width for the box bounding the text area. The default is 1.
-nograb The cursor must be in the text portion of the window for input to be accepted.
-grab The cursor may be anywhere but input is directed to the text area.
-r reply Insert reply into the text area as the default reply.
-pfn fontname
  Specifies the font to be used for the prompt string.
-rfn fontname
  Specifies the font to be used for the reply string.
-re After all prompts have been seen, the return key causes the program to exit normally (i.e., it becomes a synonym for <ctrl> D).
-nre The return key will not terminate the program. This is the default.
-tf filename
  Specifies a file containing text translations, one per line, to override the defaults. Xprompt recognizes the following functions in addition to those predefined:
  The program terminates and returns an exit status of 1. The default binding is Ctrl<Key>C.
  Erases the entire reply. The default binding is Ctrl<Key>U.
  By default, a word is considered to consist of one or more alphanumeric characters. Non-word characters following the cursor are deleted, then word characters are deleted up until the next non-word character or the end of line. There is no default binding.
  All replies are printed and the program terminates with an exit status of 0. The default bindings are Ctrl<Key>D, <Btn1Down>, <Btn2Down>, and <Btn3Down>.
  The next prompt is displayed. The list of prompts is circular, so the first prompt is displayed after the last. The default bindings are Ctrl<Key>J, Ctrl<Key>M, <Key>Down, and <Key>Linefeed.
  If all prompts have been seen and returnExit is TRUE, finish-prompt() will be called otherwise next-prompt() will be called. The default binding is <Key>Return.
  The previous prompt is displayed. The last prompt is considered to be previous to the first. The default binding is <Key>Up.
The resource textTranslations may also be used to specify translations.
-w wordchars
  The string wordchars specifies the characters that make up a word for the purpose of the erase-word() function. The string is in a format similar to that used by the tar(1) command:
a) A backslash followed by 1, 2, or 3 octal digits stands for the ASCII character corresponding to the octal value. The value is limited to 8 bits.
b) A backslash followed by a non-octal digit character stands for the character.
c) Other ASCII characters stand for themselves.
d) The range of characters between two characters, <c1> and <c2>, is specified by a sequence of the form <c1>-<c2> when <c1> comes before <c2> in the ASCII character set.
The default is "a-zA-Z0-9".
-warp Warp the cursor into the text area and return it to its original position before exiting.
-nowarp Don’t warp the cursor. This is the default.


The standard X toolkit options and resources are accepted. For example, the default font can be changed by the standard -fn fontname flag or by the resource XPrompt*Font. In addition, the following resources are understood:
Rlen (class Integer)
  Specifies the maximum length of the reply.
insideborderWidth (class BorderWidth)
  Specifies the border width for the box bounding the text area.
Grab (class Boolean)
  Specifies whether keyboard input should be focussed on the text area regardless of where the cursor is.
replyFont (class Font)
  The font to use for the reply string, overriding XPrompt*Font.
promptFont (class Font)
  The font to use for the prompt string, overriding XPrompt*Font.
returnExit (class Boolean)
  Specifies whether the return key should allow normal termination if all prompts have been seen.
textTranslations (class String)
  Text widget translations.
textTranslationFile (class String)
  The name of a file containing text widget translations.
Warp (class Boolean)
  Warp the cursor into the text area.
wordChars (class String)
  The set of character that make up a word for the purpose of the erase-word() function.


If xprompt is invoked from a Bourne shell script, the following hack can be used to quickly grab multi-reply output:

reply=‘xprompt -p "Prompt1" -p "Prompt2" -p "Prompt3"‘
set $reply
echo "First reply is: $1"
echo "Second reply is: $2"
echo "Third reply is: $3"


On normal completion 0 is returned. If the program is aborted, 1 is returned.




Barry Brachman
Dept. of Computer Science
University of British Columbia

Valuable suggestions by Rick Morrison and Bob Mende. Conversion to X11R5 by Casey Leedom.


The reply is limited to a single line. The user is responsible for ensuring that a proper window size is chosen.

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--> XPROMPT (1) 29 January 1989

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