|curs_attr(3X)||Miscellaneous Library Functions||curs_attr(3X)|
int attr_get(attr_t *attrs, short
*pair , void *opts);
int wattr_get(WINDOW *win, attr_t *attrs, short *pair, void *opts);
int attr_set(attr_t attrs, short pair, void * opts);
int wattr_set(WINDOW *win, attr_t attrs, short pair, void *opts);
int attr_off(attr_t attrs, void
int wattr_off(WINDOW *win, attr_t attrs, void * opts);
int attr_on(attr_t attrs, void *opts);
int wattr_on(WINDOW *win, attr_t attrs, void * opts);
int attroff(int attrs);
int wattroff(WINDOW *win, int attrs);
int attron(int attrs);
int wattron(WINDOW *win, int attrs);
int attrset(int attrs);
int wattrset(WINDOW *win, int attrs);
int chgat(int n, attr_t attr, short
pair, const void *opts);
int wchgat(WINDOW *win, int n, attr_t attr, short pair , const void *opts);
int mvchgat(int y, int x, int n, attr_t attr, short pair , const void *opts);
int mvwchgat(WINDOW *win, int y, int x, int n, attr_t attr, short pair, const void *opts);
int color_set(short pair, void*
int wcolor_set(WINDOW *win, short pair, void* opts);
int wstandend(WINDOW *win);
int wstandout(WINDOW *win);
These routines do not affect the attributes used when erasing portions of the window. See curs_bkgd(3X) for functions which modify the attributes used for erasing and clearing.
Routines which do not have a WINDOW* parameter apply to stdscr. For example, attr_set is the stdscr variant of wattr_set.
The wattr_set function sets the current attributes of the given window to attrs, with color specified by pair.
Use wattr_get to retrieve attributes for the given window.
Use attr_on and wattr_on to turn on window attributes, i.e., values OR'd together in attr, without affecting other attributes. Use attr_off and wattr_off to turn off window attributes, again values OR'd together in attr, without affecting other attributes.
The int datatype used in the legacy routines is treated as if it is the same size as chtype (used by addch(3X)). It holds the common video attributes (such as bold, reverse), as well as a few bits for color. Those bits correspond to the A_COLOR symbol. The COLOR_PAIR macro provides a value which can be OR'd into the attribute parameter. For example, as long as that value fits into the A_COLOR mask, then these calls produce similar results:
attrset(A_BOLD | COLOR_PAIR(pair)); attr_set(A_BOLD, pair, NULL);
However, if the value does not fit, then the COLOR_PAIR macro uses only the bits that fit. For example, because in ncurses A_COLOR has eight (8) bits, then COLOR_PAIR(259) is 4 (i.e., 259 is 4 more than the limit 255).
The PAIR_NUMBER macro extracts a pair number from an int (or chtype). For example, the input and output values in these statements would be the same:
int value = A_BOLD | COLOR_PAIR(input); int output = PAIR_NUMBER(value);
The attrset routine is a legacy feature predating SVr4 curses but kept in X/Open Curses for the same reason that SVr4 curses kept it: compatibility.
The remaining attr* functions operate exactly like the corresponding attr_* functions, except that they take arguments of type int rather than attr_t.
There is no corresponding attrget function as such in X/Open Curses, although ncurses provides getattrs (see curs_legacy(3X)).
In these functions, the color pair argument is a color-pair index (as in the first argument of init_pair, see curs_color(3X)).
X/Open does not mark these “restricted”, because
|A_NORMAL||Normal display (no highlight)|
|A_STANDOUT||Best highlighting mode of the terminal.|
|A_BOLD||Extra bright or bold|
|A_INVIS||Invisible or blank mode|
|A_ALTCHARSET||Alternate character set|
|A_ITALIC||Italics (non-X/Open extension)|
|A_CHARTEXT||Bit-mask to extract a character|
|A_COLOR||Bit-mask to extract a color (legacy routines)|
These video attributes are supported by attr_on and related functions (which also support the attributes recognized by attron, etc.):
The return values of many of these routines are not meaningful (they are implemented as macro-expanded assignments and simply return their argument). The SVr4 manual page claims (falsely) that these routines always return 1.
Color pair values can only be OR'd with attributes if the pair number is less than 256. The alternate functions such as color_set can pass a color pair value directly. However, ncurses ABI 4 and 5 simply OR this value within the alternate functions. You must use ncurses ABI 6 to support more than 256 color pairs.
As seen in 2.8BSD, curses assumed 7-bit characters, using the eighth bit of a byte to represent the standout feature (often implemented as bold and/or reverse video). The BSD curses library provided functions standout and standend which were carried along into X/Open Curses due to their pervasive use in legacy applications.
Some terminals in the 1980s could support a variety of video attributes, although the BSD curses library could do nothing with those. System V (1983) provided an improved curses library. It defined the A_ symbols for use by applications to manipulate the other attributes. There are few useful references for the chronology.
Goodheart's book UNIX Curses Explained (1991) describes SVr3 (1987), commenting on several functions:
Goodheart did not mention the background character or the cchar_t type. Those are respectively SVr4 and X/Open features. He did mention the A_ constants, but did not indicate their values. Those were not the same in different systems, even for those marked as System V.
Different Unix systems used different sizes for the bit-fields in chtype for characters and colors, and took into account the different integer sizes (32-bit versus 64-bit).
This table showing the number of bits for A_COLOR and A_CHARTEXT was gleaned from the curses header files for various operating systems and architectures. The inferred architecture and notes reflect the format and size of the defined constants as well as clues such as the alternate character set implementation. A 32-bit library can be used on a 64-bit system, but not necessarily the reverse.
|1992||Solaris 5.2||32||6||17||SVr4 curses|
|1992||HPUX 9||32||no||8||SVr2 curses|
|1992||AIX 3.2||32||no||23||SVr2 curses|
|1994||OSF/1 r3||32||no||23||SVr2 curses|
|1995||HP-UX 10.00||32||6||16||SVr3 “curses_colr”|
|1995||HP-UX 10.00||32||6||8||SVr4, X/Open curses|
|1995||Solaris 5.4||32/64||7||16||X/Open curses|
|1996||AIX 4.2||32||7||16||X/Open curses|
|1996||OSF/1 r4||32||6||16||X/Open curses|
|1997||HP-UX 11.00||32||6||8||X/Open curses|
Regarding OSF/1 (and Tru64),
Once X/Open curses was adopted in the mid-1990s, the constraint of a 32-bit interface with many colors and wide-characters for chtype became a moot point. The cchar_t structure (whose size and members are not specified in X/Open Curses) could be extended as needed.
Other interfaces are rarely used now:
Each of the functions added by XSI Curses has a parameter opts, which X/Open Curses still (after more than twenty years) documents as reserved for future use, saying that it should be NULL. This implementation uses that parameter in ABI 6 for the functions which have a color-pair parameter to support extended color pairs:
Very old versions of this library did not force an update of the screen when changing the attributes. Use touchwin to force the screen to match the updated attributes.
The XSI Curses standard states that whether the traditional functions attron/attroff/attrset can manipulate attributes other than A_BLINK, A_BOLD, A_DIM, A_REVERSE, A_STANDOUT, or A_UNDERLINE is “unspecified”. Under this implementation as well as SVr4 curses, these functions correctly manipulate all other highlights (specifically, A_ALTCHARSET, A_PROTECT, and A_INVIS).
XSI Curses added these entry points:
The new functions are intended to work with a new series of highlight macros prefixed with WA_. The older macros have direct counterparts in the newer set of names:
|WA_NORMAL||Normal display (no highlight)|
|WA_STANDOUT||Best highlighting mode of the terminal.|
|WA_BOLD||Extra bright or bold|
|WA_ALTCHARSET||Alternate character set|
XSI curses does not assign values to these symbols, nor does it state whether or not they are related to the similarly-named A_NORMAL, etc.:
The XSI standard extended conformance level adds new highlights A_HORIZONTAL, A_LEFT, A_LOW, A_RIGHT, A_TOP, A_VERTICAL (and corresponding WA_ macros for each). As of August 2013, no known terminal provides these highlights (i.e., via the sgr1 capability).
X/Open does not define any error conditions.
Functions with a “mv” prefix first perform a cursor movement using wmove, and return an error if the position is outside the window, or if the window pointer is null.