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by Eric M. Ludlam

Copyright © 2007–2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being “A GNU Manual,” and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

(a) The FSF’s Back-Cover Text is: “You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual.”

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SRecoder Manual

SRecode is the Semantic Recoder. Where Semantic will parse source files into lists of tags, the Semantic Recoder will aid in converting Semantic tags and various other information back into various types of code.

While the SRecode tool provides a template language, templates for several languages, and even a sequence of heuristics that aid the user in choosing a template to insert, this is not the main goal of SRecode.

The goal of SRecode is to provide an application framework where someone can write a complex code generator, and the underlying template commonality allows it to work in multiple languages with ease.

Copyright © 2007–2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being “A GNU Manual,” and with the Back-Cover Texts as in (a) below. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

(a) The FSF’s Back-Cover Text is: “You have the freedom to copy and modify this GNU manual.”

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1 Quick Start

When you install CEDET and enable SRecode, an SRecoder menu item should appear.

To toggle SRecode minor mode on and off use:

M-x srecode-minor-mode RET


M-x global-srecode-minor-mode RET

or add

(srecode-minor-mode 1)

into a language hook function to force it on (which is the default) or pass in -1 to force it off.

See SRecode Minor Mode for more on using the minor mode.

Use the menu to insert templates into the current file.

You can add your own templates in ‘~/.srecode’, or update the template map path:

Option: srecode-map-load-path

Global load path for SRecode template files.

Once installed, you can start inserting templates using the menu, or the command:

Command: srecode-insert template-name &rest dict-entries

Insert the template template-name into the current buffer at point. dict-entries are additional dictionary values to add.

SRecode Insert will prompt for a template name. Template names are specific to each major mode. A typical name is of the form: CONTEXT:NAME where a CONTEXT might be something like file or declaration. The same NAME can occur in multiple contexts.

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2 User Templates

SRecode builds and maintains a map of all template files. The root template files resides in the SRecode distribution. User written templates files are saved in ‘~/.srecode’, along with the SRecode map file.

Variable: srecode-map-save-file

The save location for SRecode’s map file.

Template files end with a ‘.srt’ extension. Details on how to write templates are in Template Writing.

Each template file you write is dedicated to a single major mode. In it, you can write templates within the same context and with the same name as core templates. You can force your templates to override the core templates for a particular major mode by setting the priority. See Special Variables.

To get going quickly, open a new ‘.srt’ file. It will start in the SRecode template writing mode. Use the SRecode minor mode menu to insert the empty file template.

When using templates in other modes (such as C++ or Emacs Lisp templates), use the “Edit Template” menu to find a template you would like to update. Copy it into your user template file, and change it.

If you were to update declaration:function in your user template file, then you would get this new template instead of the one that comes with SRecode. Higher level applications should always use declaration:function when generating their own code, so higher level templates will then adopt your changes to declaration:function into themselves.

You can also override variables. Core variables are stored in the SRecode root template file ‘default.srt’, and that contains the copyright usually used, and some basic file setup formats. Override variables like this by specifying a mode of default like this:

set mode "default"

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3 Parts of SRecode

The SRecode system is made up of several layers which work together to generate code.

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3.1 Template Layer

The template layer provides a way to write, and compile templates. The template layer is the scheme used to insert text into an Emacs buffer.

The SRecode template layer is more advanced than other modes like the Emacs packages skeleton or tempo in that it allows multiple layers of templates to be created with the same names. This means that SRecode can provide a wide range of templates, and users can override only the small sections they want, instead of either accepting someone else’s template, or writing large new templates of their own.

Templates are written in ‘.srt’ files. You can learn how to author new ‘.srt’ files Template Writing.

While the template system was designed for SRecode based applications it can also be used independently for simple template insertion during typical coding.

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3.2 Template Manager

Once templates have been written, a scheme for loading and selecting templates is needed. The template manager has a loader for finding template files, and determining which templates are relevant to the current buffer. Template files are sorted by priority, with user templates being found first, and system level default templates last. Templates are also sorted by application. Each application has its own templates, and are kept separate from the generic templates.

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3.3 Dictionary

Dictionaries contain values associated with variable. Variables are used in macros in a template. Variables are what allows a generic template such as a function to be made specific, such as a function named foo. The value of a variable can be one of three things; a string, a list of more dictionaries, or a special srecode-dictionary-compound-value object subclass. See Variables for more.

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3.4 Template Insertion

The template insertion layer involves extensions to the basic template layer. A wide range of custom variables are available for mixing derived data as macros into the plain text of a template.

In addition, templates can be declared with arguments. These arguments represent predetermined sets of dictionary values, such as features of the current file name, user name, time, etc.

Some arguments are major-mode specific, such as the :el or :cpp arguments.

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3.5 Template Insertion Context

A context can be provided for templates in a file. This helps auto-selection of templates by name, or allows templates in different contexts to have the same name. Some standard contexts are file, declaration, and classdecl.

A context can be automatically derived as well based on the parsing state from Semantic. See (semantic)Semantic Manual.

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3.6 Applications

Commands that do a particular user task which involves also writing Emacs Lisp code. Applications are at the top layer. These applications have their own template files and logic needed to fill in dictionaries or position a cursor. SRecode comes with an example srecode-document application for creating comments for Semantic tags. The CEDET application EDE has a project type that is an SRecode application.

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3.7 Field Editing

If the variable srecode-insert-ask-variable-method is set to ’field, then variables that would normally ask a question, will instead create “fields” in the buffer. A field-editing layer provides simple interaction through the fields. Typing in a field will cause all variable locations that are the same to edit at the same time. Pressing TAB on a field will move you to the next field.

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4 SRecode Minor Mode

The Semantic Recode minor mode enables a keymap and menu that provides simple access to different templates or template applications.

The key prefix is <C-c />.

If the variable srecode-takeover-INS-key is set, then the key <<insert>> can also be used.

The most important key is bound to srecode-insert which is <C-c / />, or <insert insert>. Quick Start.

Major keybindings are:

<C-c / />

Insert a template whose name is typed into the minibuffer.

<C-c / <lower case letter>>

Reserved for direct binding of simple templates to keys using a keybinding command in the template file.

<C-c / <upper case letter>>

Reserved for template applications (Such as comment or get/set inserter.)

<C-c / E>

Edit the code of a template.

<C-c / .>

Insert template again. This will cause the previously inserted template to be inserted again.

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4.1 Field Editing

By default, when inserting a template, if the user needs to enter text to fill in a part of the template, then the minibuffer is used to query for that information. SRecode also supports a field-editing mode that can be used instead. To enable it set:

Function: srecode-insert-ask-variable-method

Determine how to ask for a dictionary value when inserting a template. Only the ASK style inserter will query the user for a value. Dictionary value references that ask begin with the ? character. Possible values are:


Prompt in the minibuffer as the value is inserted.


Use the dictionary macro name as the inserted value, and place a field there. Matched fields change together.

NOTE: The field feature does not yet work with XEmacs.

Field editing mode is supported in newer versions of Emacs. You will not be prompted to fill in values while the template is inserted. Instead, short regions will be highlighted, and the cursor placed in a field. Typing in the field will then fill in the value. Several fields might be linked together. In that case, typing in one area will modify the other linked areas. Pressing TAB will move between editable fields in the template.

Once the cursor moves out of the are inserted by the template, all the fields are canceled.

NOTE: Some conveniences in templates, such as completion, or character restrictions are lost when using field editing mode.

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5 Template Writing

srecode-template-mode is the major mode used for designing new templates. SRecode files (Extension ‘.srt’) are made up of variable settings and template declarations.

Here is an overview of the terminology you will need for the next few sections:

template file

A file with a ‘.srt’ extension which contains settings, variables, and templates.


One named entity which represents a block of text that will be inserted. The text is compiled into a sequence of insertable entities. The entities are string constants, and macros.


A macro is a text sequence within template text that is replaced with some other value.


A table of variable names and values.


A dictionary that is subordinate under another dictionary as a value to some variable.


A variable is an entry in a dictionary which has a value.

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5.1 Variables

Variables can be set up and used in templates. Many variables you may use are set up via template arguments, but some may be preferences a user can set up that are used in system templates.

When expanding a template, variables are stored in a dictionary. Dictionary entries are variables. Variables defined in templates can have string like values.

A variable can be set like this:

set VARNAME "some value"

Note that a VARIABLE is a name in a dictionary that can be used in a MACRO in a template. The macro references some variable by name.

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5.1.1 String Values

Variables can be set to strings. Strings may contain newlines or any other characters. Strings are interpreted by the Emacs Lisp reader so \n, \t, and \" work.

When a string is inserted as part of a template, nothing within the string is interpreted, such as template escape characters.

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5.1.2 Multi-string Values

A variable can be set to multiple strings. A compound value is usually used when you want to use dictionary entries as part of a variable later on.

Multi-string variable values are set like string values except there are more than one. For example

set NAME "this" "-mode"

These two strings will be concatenated together.

A more useful thing is to include dictionary variables and concatenate those into the string. Use the “macro” keyword to include the name of a variable. This is like macros in a template. For example:

set NAME macro "MODE" "-mode"

will extract the value of the dictionary variable MODE and append “-mode” to the end.

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5.1.3 Section Show

To set a variable to show a template section, use the show command. Sections are blocks of a template wrapped in section macros. If there is a section macro using NAME it will be shown for each dictionary associated with the NAME macro.

show NAME

This will enable that section.

NOTE: May 11, 2008: I haven’t used this yet, so I don’t know if it works.

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5.1.4 Special Variables

Some variables have special meaning that changes attributes when templates are compiled, including:


This is the character sequence that escapes from raw text to template macro names. The ability to change the escape characters are key for enabling SRecode templates to work across many kinds of languages.


This is the character sequence that escapes the end of a template macro name.


set escape_start "$"
set escape_end "$"

This is the major mode, as a string with the full Emacs Lisp symbol in it. All templates in this file will be installed into the template table for this major mode.

Multiple template files can use the same mode, and all those templates will be available in buffers of that mode.


set mode "emacs-lisp-mode"

The priority of a file is a number in a string constant that indicates where it lies in the template search order. System templates default to low priority numbers. User templates default to high priority numbers. You can specify the priority of your template to insert it anywhere in the template search list.

If there are multiple templates with the same context and name, the template with the highest priority number will be used.

If multiple files have the same priority, then then sort order is unpredictable. If no template names match, then it doesn’t matter.


set priority "35"

If a template file contains templates only needed for a particular application, then specify an application. Template files for an application are stored in the template repository, but are not used in the generic template insertion case.

The application with a particular name will access these templates from Lisp code.


set application "document"

If a template file contains templates, or template overrides specific to a set of files under a particular directory, then that template file can specify a “project” that it belongs to.

Set the “project” special variable to a directory name. Only files under that directory will be able to access the templates in that file.

Any template file that has a project specified will get have a priority that is set between SRecode base templates, and user defined templates.

Templates can be compiled via a project system, such as EDE. EDE loaded templates will get a project set automatically.


set project "/tmp/testproject"

If you need to insert the characters that belong to the variables escape_start or escape_end, then place those into a variable. For example

set escape_start "$"
set escape_end "$"
set DOLLAR "$"

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5.1.5 Automatic Loop Variables

When section macros are used, that section is repeated for each subdictionary bound to the loop variable.

Each dictionary added will automatically get values for positional macros which will enable different sections. The automatic section variables are.

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5.1.6 Compound Variable Values

A variable can also have a compound value. This means the value of the variable is an EIEIO object, which is a subclass of srecode-dictionary-compound-value.

New compound variables can only be setup from Lisp code. See Compound Dictionary Values for details on setting up compound variables from Lisp.

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5.2 Templates

A template represents a text pattern that can be inserted into a buffer.

A basic template is declared like this:

template TEMPLATENAME :arg1 :arg2
"Optional documentation string"
The text to your template goes here.
bind "a"

Templates are stored in a template table by name, and are inserted by the templatename provided.

The documentation string is optional. This documentation string will be used to aid users in selecting which template they want to use.

The code that makes up the raw template occurs between the lines that contain the text "—–".

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5.2.1 Template Section Dictionaries

To add variable values to section dictionaries used within a specific template, you can add them to the beginning of the template declaration like this:

template TEMPLATENAME :arg1 :arg2
"Optional documentation string"
sectiondictionary "A"
set NAME "foo"
A beginning line {{NAME}}
{{#A}}Optional string {{NAME}} here{{/A}}
An end line

In this example, the NAME variable gets the value “foo”, but only while it is inside section macro A. The outer scoped NAME will be empty.

This is particularly useful while using an include macro to pull in a second template. In this way, you can pass values known from one template to a subordinate template where some value is not known.

From the Emacs Lisp default template file, a syntax table is just a variable with a specialized value.

If a variable is declared like this (where $ is the escape character):

template variable :el
"Insert a variable.
DOC is optional."
(defvar $?NAME$ $^$

then you can see that there is a NAME and DOC that is needed. The ^ point inserter is also a handy key here.

The syntax table wants a variable, but knows the values of some of these variables, and can recast the problem like this by using template specific sectiondictionary macro declarations.

template syntax-table
"Create a syntax table."
sectiondictionary "A"
set NAME macro "?MODESYM" "-mode-syntax-table"
set DOC "Syntax table used in " macro "?MODESYM" " buffers."
  (let ((table (make-syntax-table (standard-syntax-table))))
    (modify-syntax-entry ?\; ". 12"  table) ;; SEMI, Comment start ;;
    ;; ...

In this way, NAME can be set as a user posed question for MODESYM with “-mode-syntax-table” appended. A simplified doc string will also be inserted.

Lastly, the A section contains more macro text which is inserted at the ^ point marker.

By creating useful base templates for things like function or variable declarations, and recycling them in higher-order templates, an end user can override the basic declarator, and the higher order templates will then obey the new format, or perhaps even work in more than one major mode.

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5.2.2 Template Macros

Template macros occur in the template text. The default escape characters are “{{“ and “}}”, though they can be changed in the top-level variables. See Variables.

Thus, if you have the template code that looks like this:

;; Author: {{AUTHOR}}

Then the text between {{ and }} are a macro, and substituted by the value of the variable AUTHOR.

Macros can be specialized to be more than just a text string. For example, the macro above could be augmented with an Emacs Lisp function.

;; Author: {{AUTHOR:upcase}}

In this case, the Emacs Lisp function upcase will be called on the text value of the AUTHOR variable.

Macros can also be specialized to have different behaviors by using a prefix, non-alpha character or symbol. For example:

{{! This is a comment inside macro escape characters }}

shows that the “!” symbol is for comments.

Alternately, a macro could query the user during insertion:

(defun {{?NAME}} ()
   ) ;; End of {{NAME}}

the “?” symbol indicates that if the symbol NAME isn’t in the dictionary, then the user should be queried for the NAME variable. If NAME appears again in the template, the original value specified by the user will be inserted again.

If the text from a dictionary value is to be placed in column format, you can use the “|” symbol to indicate you want column control. For example:

   | this | that |{{#A}}
   | {{|THIS:4}} | {{|THAT:4}} |{{/A}}

For each repeated section “#A” the dictionary values for THIS and THAT will be inserted and either trimmed to, or expanded to 4 characters in width.

Macros that are prefixed with the “#” symbol denote a section. A macro of the same name with a “/” prefix denotes the end of that section.

Here is some text describing moose.

In this example if the section MOOSE was “shown” in the active dictionary, then the text between the # and / macros will also be inserted.

All the text and macros within a section are either not shown at all (if that section is not ’visible’) or the section is shown one time for each dictionary added to that symbol. See section Developing Template Functions.

Macros prefixed with “>” will include another template. Include macros would look like this:


where FOO is the dictionary variable for the sub-dictionary used for expanding the template defun. The defun template will be looked up in the template repository for the current mode, or in any inherited modes.

Another way to include another template is with an include macro that will also wrap section text. The includewrap insertion method looks like this:

{{<FOO:defun}}Handy Text goes here{{/FOO}}

In this case, defun is included just as above. If the defun template has a {{^}} macro in it, then the section text “Handy Text goes here” will be inserted at that point, and that location will not be saved as the cursor location.

If there is no {{^}}, then the text will not be inserted.

For both kinds of include macros, you may need to include a template from a different context. You can use : separate the context from the name, like this:


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5.3 Context

Each template belongs to a context. When prompting for a template by name, such as with C-c / /, the name is prefixed by the current context. If there is no context, it defaults to declaration.

You can change context like this:

context NAME

where name is some symbol that represents any context.

A context resides over all templates that come after it until the next context statement. Thus:

context C1

template foo
"Foo template in C1"

context C2

template foo
"Foo template in C2"

creates two foo templates. The first one is when in context C1. The second is available in context C2.

This is useful if there are multiple ways to declare something like a function or variable that differ only by where it is in the syntax of the language. The name foo is not ambiguous because each is in a different context.

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5.4 Prompt

Some templates use prompting macro insertion. A macro that needs a prompt looks like this:


where ? comes after the first escape character.

by default, it will use a prompt like this when it is encountered:

Specify NAME:

For such macros, you can pre-define prompts for any dictionary entry. When that dictionary entry is first encountered, the user is prompted, and subsequent occurrences of that dictionary entry use the same value.

To get a different prompt, use a prompt command like this:

prompt VARNAME "Nice Way to ask for VARNAME: "

Now, if you put this in a template:

template variable
(defvar {{?VARNAME}} nil

when VARNAME is encountered, it will use the nice prompt.

Prompts can be extended as well. For example:

prompt VARNAME "VARNAME: " default "srecode" read y-or-n-p

In this case, the default keyword indicates that "srecode" is the default string to use, and y-or-n-p is the function to use to ask the question.

For y-or-n-p if you type “y” it inserts the default string, otherwise it inserts empty.

For any other symbol that occurs after the read token, it is expected to take the same argument list as read-string. As such, you can create your own prompts that do completing reads on deterministic values.

To have the default be calculated later from a dictionary entry, you need to use the defaultmacro keyword instead.

prompt VARNAME "Varname: " defaultmacro "PREFIX"

now, when it attempts to read in VARNAME, it will pre-populate the text editing section with whatever the value of PREFIX is.

Some language arguments may supply possible prefixes for prompts. Look for these when creating your prompts.

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6 Dictionaries

Dictionaries are a set of variables. The values associated with the variable names could be anything, but how it is handled is dependent on the type of macro being inserted.

Most of this chapter is for writing Lisp programs that use SRecode. If you only want to write template files, then you only need to read the Template Argument Dictionary Entries section.

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6.1 Create a Dictionary

Function: srecode-create-dictionary &optional buffer

Create a dictionary for buffer. If buffer is not specified, use the current buffer. The dictionary is initialized with no variables or enabled sections. Any variables defined with set in the template, however, becomes a name in the dictionary.

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6.2 Setting Dictionary Values

When building an SRecode based application, you will need to setup your dictionary values yourself. There are several utility functions for this.

In the simplest form, you can associate a string with a variable.

Function: srecode-dictionary-set-value dict name value

In dictionary dict, set name to have value.

For section macros, you can have alternate values. A section can either be toggled as visible, or it can act as a loop.

Function: srecode-dictionary-show-section dict name

In dictionary dict, indicate that the section name should be exposed.

Function: srecode-dictionary-add-section-dictionary dict name show-only

In dictionary DICT, add a section dictionary for section macro NAME. Return the new dictionary.

You can add several dictionaries to the same section entry. For each dictionary added to a variable, the block of codes in the template will be repeated.

If optional argument SHOW-ONLY is non-nil, then don’t add a new dictionary if there is already one in place. Also, don’t add FIRST/LAST entries. These entries are not needed when we are just showing a section.

Each dictionary added will automatically get values for positional macros which will enable SECTIONS to be enabled.


The first entry in the table.


Not the first entry in the table.


The last entry in the table


Not the last entry in the table.

Adding a new dictionary will alter these values in previously inserted dictionaries.

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6.3 Compound Dictionary Values

If you want to associate a non-string value with a dictionary variable, then you will need to use a compound value. Compound dictionary values are derived using EIEIO from a base class for handling arbitrary data in a macro.

Type: srecode-dictionary-compound-value

A compound dictionary value. Values stored in a dictionary must be a string, a dictionary for showing sections, or an instance of a subclass of this class.

Compound dictionary values derive from this class, and must provide a sequence of method implementations to convert into a string.

Your new subclass of the compound value needs to implement these methods:

Function: srecode-compound-toString cp function dictionary

Convert the compound dictionary value cp to a string. If function is non-nil, then function is somehow applied to an aspect of the compound value. The function could be a fraction of some function symbol with a logical prefix excluded.

The next method is for dumping out tables during debugging.

Function: srecode-dump cp &optional indent

Display information about this compound value.

Here is an example of wrapping a semantic tag in a compound value:

(defclass srecode-semantic-tag (srecode-dictionary-compound-value)
  ((prime :initarg :prime
          :type semantic-tag
          "This is the primary insertion tag.")
  "Wrap up a collection of semantic tag information.
This class will be used to derive dictionary values.")

(defmethod srecode-compound-toString((cp srecode-semantic-tag)
  "Convert the compound dictionary value CP to a string.
If FUNCTION is non-nil, then FUNCTION is somehow applied to an
aspect of the compound value."
  (if (not function)
      ;; Just format it in some handy dandy way.
      (semantic-format-tag-prototype (oref cp :prime))
    ;; Otherwise, apply the function to the tag itself.
    (funcall function (oref cp :prime))

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6.4 Argument Resolution

Some dictionary entries can be set via template arguments in the template declaration. For examples of template arguments, see Template Argument Dictionary Entries.

You can resolve an argument list into a dictionary with:

Function: srecode-resolve-arguments temp dict

Resolve all the arguments needed by the template temp. Apply anything learned to the dictionary dict.

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6.5 Creating new Arguments

You can create new arguments for use in template files by writing new Emacs Lisp functions. Doing so is easy. Here is an example for the :user argument:

(defun srecode-semantic-handle-:user (dict)
  "Add macros into the dictionary DICT based on the current :user."
  (srecode-dictionary-set-value dict "AUTHOR" (user-full-name))
  (srecode-dictionary-set-value dict "LOGIN" (user-login-name))
   ;; ...

In this case, a function with the name prefix srecode-semantic-handle- that ends in :user creates a new argument :user that can be used in a template.

Your argument handler must take one argument dict, which is the dictionary to fill in. Inside your function, you can do whatever you want, but adding dictionary values is the right thing.

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6.6 Querying a Dictionary

When creating a new argument, it may be useful to ask the dictionary what entries are already set there, and conditionally create new entries based on those.

In this way, a template author can get additional logic through more advanced arguments.

Function: srecode-dictionary-lookup-name dict name

Return information about the current DICT’s value for NAME. DICT is a dictionary, and NAME is a string that is the name of a symbol in the dictionary. This function derives values for some special NAMEs, such as FIRST and ’LAST’.

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6.7 Template Argument Dictionary Entries

When a dictionary is initialized for a template, then the dictionary will be initialized with a predefined set of macro values.

A template of the form:

template template-name :arg1 :arg2
Your template goes here

specifies two arguments :arg1, and :arg2.

The following built-in simple arguments are available:

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6.7.1 Base Arguments

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :indent

Supplies the INDENT macro. When INDENT is non-nil, then each line is individually indented with indent-according-to-mode during macro processing.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :blank

Specifying this argument adds a special :blank handler at the beginning and end of the template. This handler will insert \n if the insertion point is not on a line by itself.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :region

If there is an active region via transient-mark-mode, or mouse-drag-region, then the REGION section will be enabled.

In addition, REGIONTEXT will be set to the text in the region, and that region of text will be “killed” from the current buffer.

If standard-output is NOT the current buffer, then the region will not be deleted. In this way, you can safely use :region using templates in arbitrary output streams.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :user

Sets up variables about the current user.


Value of the Emacs function user-full-name


Current Emacs user’s email address.


Current Emacs user’s login name.


Current Emacs user’s login ID.


This Emacs sessions’ init file.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :time

Sets up variables with the current date and time.


The current year.


The current month as a number.


The current month name, unabbreviated.


The current day as a number.


The current day of the week as an abbreviated name


The current hour in 24 hour format.


The current hour in 12 hour format.


Locale equivalent of AM or PM. Useful with HOUR12.


The current minute.


The current second.


The timezone string.


The Locale supported date (%D).


The Locale supported time format (%X).

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :file

Sets up variables with details about the current file.


The filename without the directory part of the current buffer.


The filename without the directory or extension


The filename extension.


The directory in which the current buffer resides.


Major mode of this buffer.


Major mode of this buffer without “-mode”. Useful for inserting the Emacs mode specifier.

section RCS

Show the section RCS if there is a CVS or RCS directory here.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :system

Sets up variables with computer system information.


The “system-configuration”.


The “system-type”.


The “system-name”.


The name of the machine Emacs derived mail “comes from”.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :kill


The top-most item from the kill ring.


The second item in the kill ring.


The third item in the kill ring.


The fourth item in the kill ring.

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6.7.2 Semantic Arguments

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :tag

The :tag argument is filled in with information from Semantic. The tag in question is queried from the senator tag ring, or passed in from SRecode utilities that use tags in templates.


This is a compound value for the tag in the current senator kill ring, or something handled via the variable srecode-semantic-selected-tag.

Variable: srecode-semantic-selected-tag

The tag selected by a :tag template argument. If this is nil, then senator-tag-ring is used.

Use the function part of a macro insert to extract obscure parts of the tag.


The name of the tag as a string.


The data type of the tag as a string.

If tag is a function, you will get these additional dictionary entries.


A Loop macro value. Each argument is inserted in ARGS. To create a comma separated list of arguments, you might do this:

{{#ARGS}}{{TYPE}} {{NAME}}{{#NOTLAST}},{{/NOTLAST}}{{/ARGS}}

Within the section dictionaries for each argument, you will find both NAME and TYPE, in addition to the automatic section values for FIRST, LAST, NOTFIRST, and NOTLAST.


The string name of the parent of this function, if the function is a method of some class.


In each THROWS entry, the NAME of the signal thrown is specified.

If tag is a variable, you will get these dictionary entries.


Enabled if there is a VALUE.


An entry in the HAVEDEFAULT subdictionary that represents the textual representation of the default value of this variable.

If tag is a datatype, you will get these dictionary entries.


Section dictionaries for the parents of this class. Each parent will have a NAME.


Section dictionaries for all the implemented interfaces of this class. Each interface will have a NAME.

Note that data type templates should always have a {{^}} macro in it where the core contents of that type will go. This is why data types don’t have subdictionaries full of the slots in the classes or structs.

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6.7.3 language Arguments

Each language typically has its own argument. These arguments can be used to fill in language specific values that will be useful.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :srt

Used for SRecoder template files.


The characters used for an escape start


The characters used for an escape end

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :cpp


Shows this section if the current file is a header file.


The opposite of HEADER.


The current filename reformatted as a C friendly symbol.

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6.7.4 Argument :java


Converts the filename into text that would be suitable as a package name.


Converts the filename into text that would be suitable as a class-name for the main class in the file.


Finds the occurrence of “package” and gets its value.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :el

Sets PRENAME. This would be a common prefix from all the tags in the current buffer.

Most Emacs Lisp packages have some common prefix used in a way similar to namespaces in other languages.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :el-custom


The name of the Emacs Custom group that instances of defcustom ought to use.


The name of the Emacs Custom group that faces declared with defface ought to use.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :texi


The current section level, such as chapter or section.


The next level down, so if LEVEL is chapter, then NEXTLEVEL would be section.

[ << ] [ < ] [ Up ] [ > ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ] Argument :texitag

The :texitag argument is like the :tag argument, except that additional variable TAGDOC is provided for each tag.

The TAGDOC is filled with derived documentation from the tag in question, and that documentation is also reformatted to be mostly texinfo compatible.

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6.7.5 Argument :android

The :android argument pulls in information from your current project.

@TODO - add more here.

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7 Developing Template Functions

You can develop your own custom template insertion functions. Doing so is relatively simple, and requires that you write an Emacs Lisp command.

If the built in commands don’t provide enough options, you will need to write your own function in order to provide your dictionaries with the values needed for custom templates.

In this way, you can build your own code generator for any language based on a set of predefined macros whos values you need to derive from Emacs Lisp code yourself.

For example:

(defun my-srecode-insert (template-name)
  "Insert the template TEMPLATE-NAME into the current buffer at point."

  ;; Read in a template name.
  (interactive (list (srecode-read-template-name "Template Name: ")))
  (if (not (srecode-table))
      (error "No template table found for mode %s" major-mode))
  (let ((temp (srecode-template-get-table (srecode-table) template-name))

       ;; Create a new dictionary
	(newdict (srecode-create-dictionary)))

    (if (not temp)
        (error "No Template named %s" template-name))

    ;; Add some values into the dictionary!
    (srecode-dictionary-set-value newdict "FOO" (my-get-value-of-foo))
    ;; Optionally show a section
    (srecode-dictionary-show-section newdict "BLARG")

    ;; Add in several items over a loop
    (let ((my-stuff (get-my-stuff-list)))
       (while my-stuff
          (let ((subdict (srecode-dictionary-add-section-dictionary
                             newdict "LOOP")))
             (srecode-dictionary-set-value subdict "NAME" (nth 0 my-stuff))
             (srecode-dictionary-set-value subdict "ARG" (nth 1 my-stuff))
             (srecode-dictionary-set-value subdict "MOOSE" (nth 2 my-stuff))
          (setq my-stuff (cdr my-stuff)))

    ;; Some templates have arguments that need to be resolved.
    (srecode-resolve-arguments temp newdict)

    ;; Do the expansion
    (srecode-insert-fcn temp newdict)

Lets look at the key functions involved above:

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7.1 Interactive Completion:

Function: srecode-read-template-name prompt

Completing read for Semantic Recoder template names. prompt is used to query for the name of the template desired.

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7.2 Template Lookup

Even if your program does not query the user for a template name, you will need to locate a template. First, you need to locate the table to look the template up in.

Function: srecode-table &optional mode

Return the currently active Semantic Recoder table for this buffer. Optional argument MODE specifies the mode table to use.

Function: srecode-template-get-table tab template-name &optional context application

Find in the template in mode table TAB, the template with TEMPLATE-NAME. Optional argument CONTEXT specifies a context a particular template would belong to. Optional argument APPLICATION restricts searches to only template tables belonging to a specific application. If APPLICATION is nil, then only tables that do not belong to an application will be searched.

For purposes of an SRecode application, it is important to decide what to call your application, and use that with this method call.

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7.3 Creating dictionaries

Several dictionary calls are made in this example, including:


These are documented more fully Dictionaries.

Also used is srecode-resolve-arguments. To learn more about that, see Argument Resolution.

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7.4 Template Insertion Commands

There are several ways to insert a template. It is easiest to just start with the main entry point.

Function: srecode-insert-fcn template dictionary &optional stream

Insert template using dictionary into stream. If stream is nil, then use the current buffer.

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8 Template Naming Conventions

For SRecode to work across languages reliably, templates need to follow a predictable pattern. For every language of similar nature (OO, functional, doc based) if they all provide the same base templates, then an application can be written against the base templates, and it will work in each of the supported language.

Having consistent templates also makes it easy to use those templates from a user perspective during basic interactive insertion via srecode-minor-mode.


These conventions are being worked on. Check w/ CEDET-DEVEL mailing list if you want to support a language, or write an application and provide your opinions on this topic. Any help is appreciated.

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8.1 Context: File

Each language should support the file:empty template. This will generally use the default copyright insertion mechanism.

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8.2 Context: Declaration

Functional languages should attempt to support the following:


A standalone function. Not a method, external method, or other.


A method belonging to some class declared outside the textual bounds of that class’ declaration.


A global variable.


A data type. If the language supports several types of datatypes then do not use this, use more specific ones instead.


For OO languages, use this instead of type.


Include files.

For any Semantic tag class in your language, you will likely want to have a corresponding template.

In order for the SRecode function srecode-semantic-insert-tag to work, you can create templates similar to those mentioned above, except with -tag appended to the end. This lets a template like function have user conveniences when referencing function-tag, while also allowing the tag inserter to do its job with a simpler template.

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8.3 Context: Classdef

Inside a class definition. These are to be inserted inside the textual bounds of a class declaration.


This would be a method of the class being inserted into.


Like function but specific to alloc/delete of an object.


This would be a field of the class being inserted into.

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8.4 Context: Code

Inside a body of code, such as a function or method body.

—no conventions yet.

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8.5 Standard Dictionary Values

For these variables to be useful, standard names should be used. These values could be provided directly from a Semantic tag, or by an application.


The name of the declaration being created.


If the item belongs to some parent type, it would be the full name of that type, including namespaces.


A datatype name for a variable, or the return value of a function.


If there is some documentation associated with the item, then DOC should contain the value. (Optional)


The ARGS variable defines a section for 0 or more arguments to a function or method. Each entry in ARGS will follow the rest of these naming conventions, such as for NAME and TYPE.

For templates used by srecode-semantic-insert-tag, there is also the following useful dictionary values.


A special insertion value TAG. You can use semantic functions to turn the tag into a string.


Default value for a variable.

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9 Inserting Tag Lists

Since SRecode is the Semantic Recoder, the ultimate goal for SRecode is to convert lists of tags, as produced by Semantic back into code.

A single function provides the interface for programs to do this, but it requires any particular language to have provided the correct templates to make it work.

Function: srecode-semantic-insert-tag tag &optional style-option point-insert-fcn &rest dict-entries

Insert tag into a buffer using srecode templates at point.

Optional style-option is a list of minor configuration of styles, such as the symbol 'prototype for prototype functions, or 'system for system includes, and 'doxygen, for a doxygen style comment.

Optional third argument point-insert-fcn is a hook that is run after tag is inserted that allows an opportunity to fill in the body of some thing. This hook function is called with one argument, the tag being inserted.

The rest of the arguments are dict-entries. dict-entries is of the form ( name1 value1 name2 value2 … NAMEn VALUEn).

The exact template used is based on the current context. The template used is found within the toplevel context as calculated by srecode-calculate-context, such as declaration, classdecl, or code.

For various conditions, this function looks for a template with the name class-tag, where class is the tag class. If it cannot find that, it will look for that template in the declarationcontext (if the current context was not declaration).

If prototype is specified, it will first look for templates with the name class-tag-prototype, or class-prototype as above.

See srecode-semantic-apply-tag-to-dict for details on what is in the dictionary when the templates are called.

This function returns to location in the buffer where the inserted tag ends, and will leave point inside the inserted text based on any occurrence of a point-inserter. Templates such as function will leave point where code might be inserted.

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10 Application Writing

The main goal of SRecode is to provide a strong platform for writing code generating applications.

Any templates that are application specific should make an application declaration for each template file they use. This prevents those templates from being used outside of that application.

For example, add this to a file:

set application "getset"

In your application Emacs Lisp code, you would then load those templates. A typical initialization would look like this:

  (srecode-load-tables-for-mode major-mode)
  (srecode-load-tables-for-mode major-mode 'getset)

These two lines will load in the base templates for the major mode, and then the application specific templates.

Function: srecode-load-tables-for-mode mmode &optional appname

Load all the template files for mmode. Templates are found in the SRecode Template Map. See srecode-get-maps for more. appname is the name of an application. In this case, all template files for that application will be loaded.

todo: Add examples. Most core stuff is already described above.

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Appendix A GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

    The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document free in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

    This License is a kind of “copyleft”, which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.

    We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.


    This License applies to any manual or other work, in any medium, that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. Such a notice grants a world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration, to use that work under the conditions stated herein. The “Document”, below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as “you”. You accept the license if you copy, modify or distribute the work in a way requiring permission under copyright law.

    A “Modified Version” of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

    A “Secondary Section” is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or authors of the Document to the Document’s overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. (Thus, if the Document is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding them.

    The “Invariant Sections” are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. If a section does not fit the above definition of Secondary then it is not allowed to be designated as Invariant. The Document may contain zero Invariant Sections. If the Document does not identify any Invariant Sections then there are none.

    The “Cover Texts” are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. A Front-Cover Text may be at most 5 words, and a Back-Cover Text may be at most 25 words.

    A “Transparent” copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented in a format whose specification is available to the general public, that is suitable for revising the document straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup, or absence of markup, has been arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers is not Transparent. An image format is not Transparent if used for any substantial amount of text. A copy that is not “Transparent” is called “Opaque”.

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    You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.

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    If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers) of the Document, numbering more than 100, and the Document’s license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition. Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.

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    You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

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    6. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
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    8. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
    9. Preserve the section Entitled “History”, Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled “History” in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
    10. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the “History” section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.
    11. For any section Entitled “Acknowledgements” or “Dedications”, Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.
    12. Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.
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ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents

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Index Entry  Section

srecode-compound-toString 6.3 Compound Dictionary Values
srecode-create-dictionary 6.1 Create a Dictionary
srecode-dictionary-add-section-dictionary 6.2 Setting Dictionary Values
srecode-dictionary-compound-value 6.3 Compound Dictionary Values
srecode-dictionary-lookup-name 6.6 Querying a Dictionary
srecode-dictionary-set-value 6.2 Setting Dictionary Values
srecode-dictionary-show-section 6.2 Setting Dictionary Values
srecode-dump 6.3 Compound Dictionary Values
srecode-insert 1 Quick Start
srecode-insert-ask-variable-method 4.1 Field Editing
srecode-insert-fcn 7.4 Template Insertion Commands
srecode-load-tables-for-mode 10 Application Writing
srecode-map-load-path 1 Quick Start
srecode-map-save-file 2 User Templates
srecode-read-template-name 7.1 Interactive Completion:
srecode-resolve-arguments 6.4 Argument Resolution
srecode-semantic-insert-tag 9 Inserting Tag Lists
srecode-semantic-selected-tag Argument :tag
srecode-table 7.2 Template Lookup
srecode-template-get-table 7.2 Template Lookup

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