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Tech details - psql wraps at window width

From: Bryce Nesbitt <bryce2(at)obviously(dot)com>
To: PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Tech details - psql wraps at window width
Date: 2008-04-26 02:16:31
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Lists: pgsql-hackers
As the originator of the "psql wraps at window width" patch, I'd like to 
set a matter or two straight:

The ioctl() function does not fail under ssh, contrary to the assertion 
made several times.  Nor does $COLUMNS remain static if the window size 
changes.  $COLUMNS is not a property of a bash, you'll find it is set by 
the readline library.  $COLUMNS is not fully cross-platform, though 
$MANWIDTH should be fine.  Please supply counter examples if needed, but 
this is pretty well traveled ground.  I think the original patch is fat 
and happy as far as interactive terminal use.

But I agree it's not desirable to wrap file any sort of stream output, 
by default, as that would break just about any script known to mankind.  
Yet wrapping is a very user-friendly default for interactive terminals. 
This is potentially an irreconcilable inconsistency.

I weigh in on the side of leaving it inconsistent, but making it really 
easy to force the behavior you want with something like:
   \pset format wrap [auto|nnn|off]

But that leaves a big hole: what does the setting in .psqlrc refer to?  
Do we need separate controls in .psql?

   \pset format_terminal wrap [auto|nnn|off]
   \pset format_terminal html
   \pset format_stream wrap [auto|nnn|off]
   \pset format_stream html

Where, on a stream, auto and off would have the same meaning, and \pset 
format would set both?

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Subject: Re: Tech details - psql wraps at window width
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