SWI-Prolog has the special string data type. However, in Prolog, text may be represented more traditionally as a list of character-codes, i.e. (small) integers (in SWI-Prolog specifically, those are Unicode code points). This results in output like the following (here using the backquote notation which maps text to a list of codes):
?- writeln(`hello`). [104, 101, 108, 108, 111] ?- atom_codes("hello",X). X = [104,101,108,108,111].
Unless you know the Unicode tables by heart, this is pretty unpleasant
for debugging. Loading library(portray_text) makes the toplevel and
debugger consider certain lists of integers as text and print them as
text. This is called "portraying". Of course, interpretation is
imperfect as there is no way to tell in general whether
`AB` or as
[65,66]. Therefore it is important that the
user be aware of the fact that this conversion is enabled. This is why
this library must be loaded explicitly.
To be able to copy the printed representation and paste it back, printed
text is enclosed in back quotes if current_prolog_flag/2 for the flag
codes (the default), and enclosed in double quotes
otherwise. Certain control characters are printed out in
The default heuristic only considers list of codes as text if the codes are all from the set of 7-bit ASCII without most of the control characters. A code is classified as text by text_code/1, which in turn calls is_text_code/1. Define portray_text:is_text_code/1 to succeed on additional codes for more flexibility (by default, that predicate succeeds nowhere). For example:
?- maplist([C,R]>>(portray_text:text_code(C)->R=y;R=n), `G\u00e9n\u00e9rateur`,Results). Results = [y,n,y,n,y,y,y,y,y,y].
Now make is_text_code/1 accept anything:
?- [user]. |: portray_text:is_text_code(_). |: ^D % user://3 compiled 0.00 sec, 1 clauses true.
?- maplist([C,R]>>(portray_text:text_code(C)->R=y;R=n), `G\u00e9n\u00e9rateur`,Results). Results = [y,y,y,y,y,y,y,y,y,y].
- portray_text(+OnOff:boolean) is det
- Switch portraying on or off. If
true, consider lists of integers as list of Unicode code points and print them as corresponding text inside quotes:
"text". Quoting depends on the value of current_prolog_flag/2
back_quotes. Same as
?- set_portray_text(enabled, true).
- set_portray_text(+Key, +Value) is det
- set_portray_text(+Key, ?Old, +New) is det
- Set options for portraying. Defined Keys are:
- Enable/disable portray text
- Only consider for conversion lists of integers that have a length of at least Value. Default is 3.
- When converting a list that is longer than Value, elide the
output at the start using ellipsis, leaving only Value number of
- is_text_code(+Code:nonneg) is semidet[multifile]
- Multifile hook that can be used to extend the set of character codes that is recognised as likely text. By default, is_text_code/1 fails everywhere and internally, only non-control ASCII characters (32-126) and the the control codes (9,10,13) are accepted.
The following predicates are exported, but not or incorrectly documented.