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7.3.3 Group ecb-directories

This group contains settings for the directories-buffer in the ECB:

— User Option: add-path-for-not-matching-files

Add path of a file to ecb-source-path if not already contained. This is done during the auto. windows synchronization which happens if a file is opened not via the file/directory-browser of ECB. In such a situation ECB adds the path of the new file auto. to ecb-source-path at least temporally for the current Emacs session. This option defines two things:

  1. Should only the root-part (which means for Unix-like systems always '/' and for windows-like systems the drive) of the new file be added as source-path to ecb-source-path or the whole directory-part? For remote-files (e.g. tramp, ange-ftp- or efs-files) the root-part is the complete host-part + the root-dir at that host (example: / would be the root-part of /
  2. Should this path be added for future sessions too?

The value of this option is a cons-cell where the car is a boolean for 1. and the cdr is a boolean for 2.

A value of not nil for the car (1.) is reasonably if a user often opens files not via the ECB-browser which are not located in any of the paths of ecb-source-path because then only one path for each drive (windows) or the root-path (Unix) is added to the directory buffer of ECB.

— User Option: auto-expand-directory-tree

Automatically expand the directory tree to the current source file. There are three options:

— User Option: after-directory-change-hook

Hook which run directly after the selected directory has changed. This means not onyl after a click onto a directory in the directory-window of ECB but it means this hook runs always when the current directory changes regardless of the trigger of this change. So for example it runs also when you just switches from one buffer to another via switch-to-buffer or switch-to-buffer-other-window and the directory of these filebuffers is different but only when auto-synchronizing of the ECB-windows is on (see ecb-basic-buffer-sync). It runs not when switching between buffers and the associated files reside in the same directory.

Each function added to this hook will be called with two arguments: The directory which was current _before_ the directory-change-trigger and the directory which was now the current (i.e. after the trigger).

Example: If you switch from a filebuffer “~/.emacs” to a filebuffer “/tmp/test.txt” then the functions of this hook will be called with the two arguments “~” and “/tmp”.

— User Option: cache-directory-contents

Cache contents of directories.

This can be useful if ecb-source-path contains directories with many files and subdirs, especially if these directories are mounted net-drives (“many” means here something > 500, dependent of the speed of the net-connection and the machine). Or if it contains remote-source-paths which means paths in the sense of tramp, ange-ftp or efs. For these directories actualizing the sources- and/or directories- buffer of ECB (if displayed in current layout!) can slow down dramatically so a caching increases speed a lot.

The value of this option is a list where each element is a cons-cell and looks like:

          (<dir-regexp> . <filenumber threshold>) with
Regular expression a directory must match to be cached.
<filenumber threshold>:
Number of directory contents must exceed this number.

A directory will only be cached if and only if the directory-name matches at least one rexexp of this option and its content-number exceeds the related threshold AND the directory-name matches NOT any regexp of ecb-cache-directory-contents-not!

The cache entry for a certain directory will be refreshed and actualized only by using the POWER-click (see ecb-primary-secondary-mouse-buttons) in the directories-buffer of ECB (see Using the mouse).

Default-value: ECB caches the contents of all remote directories regardless of the size and all other directories if more than 50 entries are contained.


An entry ("/usr/home/john_smith/bigdir*" . 1000) means the contents of every subdirectory of the home-directory of John Smith will be cached if the directory contains more than 1000 entries and its name begins with “bigdir”.

An entry (".*" . 1000) caches every directory which has more than 1000 entries.

An entry ("^/\\([^:/]*@\\)?\\([^@:/]*\\):.*" . 0) caches every remote (in the sense of tramp, ange-ftp or efs) directory regardless of the number of entries."

Please note: If you want your home-dir being cached then you MUST NOT use “~” because ECB tries always to match full path-names!

— User Option: cache-directory-contents-not

Do not cache the contents of certain directories. The value of this option is a list where the each element is a regular expression a directory must match if it should not being cached.

If a directory-name matches at least one of the regexps of this option the directory-contents will never being cached. See ecb-cache-directory-contents to see when a directory will be cached.

This option can be useful when normally all directories with a certain amount of content (files and subdirs) should be cached but some special directories not. This can be achieved by:

Please note: If you want your home-dir exclude from being cached then you MUST NOT use “~” because ECB tries always to match full path-names!

— User Option: directories-buffer-after-create-hook

Local hook running after the creation of the directories-buffer. Every function of this hook is called once without arguments direct after creating the directories-buffer of ECB and it's local key-map. So for example a function could be added which performs calls of local-set-key to define new keybindings only for the directories-buffer of ECB.

The following keys must not be rebind in the directories-buffer: F2, F3 and F4

— User Option: directories-buffer-name

Name of the ECB directory buffer. Because it is not a normal buffer for editing you should enclose the name with stars, e.g. “ *ECB Directories*”.

If it is necessary for you you can get emacs-lisp access to the buffer-object of the ECB-directory-buffer by this name, e.g. by a call of set-buffer.

Changes for this option at runtime will take affect only after deactivating and then activating ECB again!

— User Option: directories-menu-sorter

Function which re-sorts the menu-entries of the directories buffer.

If a function then this function is called to re-arrange the menu-entries of the combined menu-entries of the user-menu-extensions of ecb-directories-menu-user-extension and the built-in-menu ecb-directories-menu. If nil then no special sorting will be done and the user-extensions are placed in front of the built-in-entries.

The function get one argument, a list of menu-entries. For the format of this argument see ecb-directories-menu-user-extension. The function must return a new list in the same format. Of course this function can not only re-arrange the entries but also delete entries or add new entries.

— User Option: directories-menu-user-extension

Static user extensions for the popup-menu of the directories buffer. Value is a list of elements of the following type: Each element defines a new menu-entry and is either:

  1. Menu-command: A list containing two sub-elements, whereas the first is the function (a function symbol) being called if the menu-entry is selected and the second is the name of the menu-entry.
  2. Separator: A one-element-list and the element is the string “—”: Then a non-selectable menu-separator is displayed.
  3. Submenu: A list where the first element is the title of the submenu displayed in the main-menu and all other elements are either menu-commands (see 1) or separators (see 2) or another submenu (see c). This allows deep nested menu-submenu-structures. Currently a level of 4 is allowed but in general there could be an infinite depth of nesting but it makes no sense - if possible at all - to define infinite nested defcustom-types. So there is a limit of 4 levels but tis is not a hard limit: Just increase the value of the ecb-max-submenu-depth BEFORE first loading ECB!

The function of a menu-command must follow the following guidelines: Such a function must be defined with the macro tree-buffer-defpopup-command! This macro defines a new popup-command whereas the newly defined command gets one argument NODE. See the docstring of tree-buffer-defpopup-command for further details.

Example for the definition of such a menu-function:

        (tree-buffer-defpopup-command ecb-my-special-dir-popup-function
          "Prints the name of the directory of the node under point."
          (let ((node-data=dir (tree-node-get-data node)))
             (message ``Dir under node: %s'' node-data=dir)))

Per default the static user-extensions are added at the beginning of the built-in menu-entries of ecb-directories-menu but the whole menu can be re-arranged with ecb-directories-menu-sorter.

These menu-extensions are static. A dynamic menu-extension can be achieved via ecb-directories-menu-user-extension-function.

— User Option: directories-menu-user-extension-function

Dynamic user extensions for the popup-menu of the directories buffer. A function which has to return a list in the same format like the option ecb-directories-menu-user-extension. This function is called when the user opens the popup-menu for the directories buffer.

If no dynamically evaluated menu-extensions should be added to the directories-buffer the function has to return nil. Therefore the default-value of this option is ignore.

Per default the dynamic user-extensions are added in front of the static extensions of ecb-directories-menu-user-extension but the whole menu can be re-arranged with ecb-directories-menu-sorter.

— User Option: directories-show-node-info

When to display which node-info in the directories-buffer. Define which node info should be displayed after moving the mouse over a node (or after a shift click onto the node) in the directories-buffer.

You can define “when” a node-info should be displayed:

You can define “which” info should be displayed:

Do NOT set this option directly via setq but use always customize!

— User Option: display-default-dir-after-start

Automatically display current default-directory after activating ECB.

If a file-buffer is displayed in the current active edit-window then ECB synchronizes its basic tree-buffers to this file-buffer - at least if the option ecb-basic-buffer-sync it not nil. So for this situation ecb-display-default-dir-after-start takes no effect but this option is for the case if no file-buffer is displayed in the edit-window after startup:

If true then ECB selects autom. the current default-directory after activation even if no file-buffer is displayed in the current active edit-window. This is useful if ECB is autom. activated after startup of Emacs and Emacs is started without a file-argument. So the directory from which the startup has performed is auto. selected in the ECB-directories buffer and the ECB-sources buffer displays the contents of this directory.

— User Option: excluded-directories-regexps

Directories that should not be included in the directories list. The value of this variable should be a list of regular expression.

— User Option: prescan-directories-for-emptyness

Prescan directories for emptyness. ECB does this so directories are displayed as empty in the directories-buffer even without user-interaction (i.e. in previous ECB-versions the emptyness of a directory has been first checked when the user has clicked onto a directory). ECB optimizes this check as best as possible but if a directory contains a lot of subdirectories which contain in turn a lot of entries, then expanding such a directory or selecting it would take of course more time as without this check - at least at the first time (all following selects of a directory uses the cached information if its subdirectories are empty or not). Therefore ECB performs this check stealthy (see ecb-stealthy-tasks-delay) so normally there should no performance-decrease or additional waiting-time for the user. There is one exception: For remote directories (in the sense of tramp, ange-ftp, or efs) this check can descrease performance even if performed stealthy and interruptable. Therefore this option offers three possible settings:

The option ecb-prescan-directories-exclude-regexps offers are more fine granularity to exclude certain directories from this prescan.

— User Option: host-accessible-check-valid-time

Time in seconds a cached accessible-state of a remote host is valid. This option is a list where each element specifies how long for a certain remote host the cached ping-state (i.e. if the host is accessible or not) should be valid. During this time-intervall ECB pings such a remote host only once, all other checks use the cached value of that real check. But it the cached value is older than the value of this option ECB will ping again.

Per default ECB discards after 1 minute the cached ping-state of each remote host. But if you are sure that a certain remote host is always accessible (i.e. means in consequence that you are always online when working with ECB and remote-paths) then add an entry to this option with a high valid-interval.

Examples: An entry (“.*sourceforge.*” . 3600) ensures that all remote hosts machting the string “sourceforge” will only once pinged during one hour. Or (“.*” . 300) would ensure that every remote host would be pinged only once during 5 minutes.

— User Option: ping-options

List of options for the ping program. These options can be used to limit how many ICMP packets are emitted. Ping is used to test if a remote host of a remote path (e.g. a tramp-, ange-ftp- or efs-path) is accessible See also ecb-ping-program.

— User Option: ping-program

Program to send network test packets to a host. See also ecb-ping-options.

— User Option: prescan-directories-exclude-regexps

Which directories should be excluded from the empty-prescan. If a directory matches any of the regexps of this option it will not be prescanned for emptyness - This option takes only effect if ecb-prescan-directories-for-emptyness is not nil.

— User Option: show-sources-in-directories-buffer

Show source files in directories buffer.

— User Option: source-path

Paths where to find code sources. Each path can have an optional alias that is used as it's display name. If no alias is set, the path is used as display name.

Lisp-type of tis option: The value must be a list L whereas each element of L is either

— User Option: use-speedbar-instead-native-tree-buffer

If true then uses speedbar for directories, sources or methods. This means that speedbar is integrated in the ECB-frame and is displayed in that window normally displaying the standard ECB-directories-buffer, ECB-sources-buffer or ECB-methods-buffer.

This option takes effect in all layouts which contain either a directory window, a sources window or a method window.

This option can have four valid values:

Note: For directories and sources a similar effect and usability is available by setting this option to nil (or method) and setting ecb-show-sources-in-directories-buffer to not nil, because this combination displays also directories and sources in one window.

ecb-use-speedbar-instead-native-tree-buffer is for people who like the speedbar way handling directories and source-files or methods and want it in conjunction with ECB.