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Q: How to store/reuse the evaluated result of an element of the mode-line-format.

I am implementing a system within the mode-line-format that is similar to how flyspell.el handles deplacement-commands -- i.e., if this-command is eq to last-command and this-command is a member of the list of deplacement-commands, then skip the time-costly function(s). I am storing the values for this-command and last-command in variables by way of the pre-command-hook, because those values could not reliably be used otherwise at the time the mode-line-format is evaluated during redisplay -- i.e., this-command and last-command have short life expetencies.

The following code was developed in a related thread for alphabetizing the minor-mode-alist: Sort minor-mode-alist alphabetically (in the mode-line) using :lighter However, it is too slow for rapid-fire repetitive commands such as previous-line, next-line, left-char and right-char.

When "this-command is eq to last-command and this-command is a member of the list of deplacement-commands", I would like to use the previous stored value for the alphabetized minor-mode-alist. In other words, I do not want Emacs to recalculate the value -- I would like the old value to appear in the mode-line-format so that it costs nothing in terms of time.

(require 'cl)

(defmacro non-empty-name-p (name)       ; Error if NAME is neither nil nor a string.
  "NAME if non-nil and not \"\", else nil."
  `(and ,name (not (string= "" ,name)) ,name))

(setq mode-line-format '(
  (:eval
    (let* (
        (copied-list
          (delq nil
            (mapcar
              (lambda (x)
                (when
                    (or
                      (and
                        (symbolp (cadr x))
                        (non-empty-name-p (symbol-value (cadr x))))
                      (stringp (cadr x)))
                  x))
              (copy-list minor-mode-alist))))
        (sorted-list
          (sort
            copied-list
            (lambda (x y)
              (let* (
                  (xname (cadr x))
                  (yname (cadr y)) )
                (when (symbolp xname) (setq xname (symbol-value xname)))
                (when (symbolp yname) (setq yname (symbol-value yname)))
                (when (and (stringp xname) (non-empty-name-p xname)
                           (stringp yname) (non-empty-name-p yname))
                  (when (eq ?\s (aref xname 0))
                    (setq xname (replace-regexp-in-string "^\s" "" xname)))
                  (when (eq ?\s (aref yname 0))
                    (setq yname (replace-regexp-in-string "^\s" "" yname)))
                  (string< xname yname)))))) )
      (list
    `(:propertize ("" mode-name)
      help-echo "Major mode help message."
      face '(:foreground "red")
      mouse-face '(:foreground "blue")
      local-map ,mode-line-major-mode-keymap)
    `(:propertize ("" ,sorted-list)
      face '(:foreground "purple")
      mouse-face '(:foreground "blue")
      help-echo "Minor mode help message."
      local-map ,mode-line-minor-mode-keymap))))))
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I think you're looking for the format-mode-line function.

E.g. you could do something like:

(:eval
 (if <reuse>
     my-local-var
   (setq-local my-local-var
      (format-mode-line
       `(:propertize ...)))))
  • Yes, Emacs works like new again -- thank you very much -- greatly appreciated! – lawlist Aug 8 '15 at 4:30

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