NAME¶alloc_pair, find_pair, free_pair - new curses color-pair functions
int alloc_pair(int fg, int bg);
int find_pair(int fg, int bg);
int free_pair(int pair);
DESCRIPTION¶These functions are an extension to the curses library. They permit an application to dynamically allocate a color pair using the foreground/background colors rather than assign a fixed color pair number, and return an unused pair to the pool.
The number of colors may be related to the number of possible color pairs for a given terminal, or it may not:
- While almost all terminals allow setting the color attributes independently, it is unlikely that your terminal allows you to modify the attributes of a given character cell without rewriting it. That is, the foreground and background colors are applied as a pair.
- Color pairs are the curses library's way of managing a color palette on a terminal. If the library does not keep track of the combinations of colors which are displayed, it will be inefficient.
- For simple terminal emulators with only a few dozen color combinations, it
is convenient to use the maximum number of combinations as the limit on
COLORS * COLORS
- Terminals which support default colors distinct from “ANSI
colors” add to the possible combinations, producing this total:
( COLORS + 1 ) * ( COLORS + 1 )
- An application might use up to a few dozen color pairs to implement a predefined color scheme.
- Beyond that lies in the realm of programs using the foreground and background colors for “ASCII art” (or some other non-textual application).
- Also beyond those few dozen pairs, the required size for a table to represent the combinations grows rapidly with an increasing number of colors.
- These functions allow a developer to let the screen library manage color pairs.
alloc_pair¶The alloc_pair function accepts parameters for foreground and background color, and checks if that color combination is already associated with a color pair.
- If the combination already exists, alloc_pair returns the existing pair.
- If the combination does not exist, alloc_pair allocates a new color pair and returns that.
- If the table fills up, alloc_pair discards the least-recently allocated entry using free_pair and allocates a new color pair.
All of the color pairs are allocated from a table of possible color pairs. The size of the table is determined by the terminfo pairs capability. The table is shared with init_pair; in fact alloc_pair calls init_pair after updating the ncurses library's fast index to the colors versus color pairs.
find_pair¶The find_pair function accepts parameters for foreground and background color, and checks if that color combination is already associated with a color pair, returning the pair number if it has been allocated. Otherwise it returns -1.
free_pair¶Marks the given color pair as unused, i.e., like color pair 0.
RETURN VALUE¶The alloc_pair function returns a color pair number in the range 1 through COLOR_PAIRS-1, unless it encounters an error updating its fast index to the color pair values, preventing it from allocating a color pair. In that case, it returns -1.
The find_pair function returns a color pair number if the given color combination has been associated with a color pair, or -1 if not.
Likewise, free_pair returns OK unless it encounters an error updating the fast index or if no such color pair is in use.