I am trying to write a minor mode that upon visiting a word, it manipulate it. There is a list of words which is parsed from a file. Here is the problem:

(define-minor-mode auto-gls-mode
  "Documentation goes here"
  :lighter " AGLS"
  ;(setq agls-list '("foo" "bar"))    <----------works
  (setq agls-list (agls-parse-acn-file)) <-------doesn't work
  (if auto-gls-mode
      (add-hook 'post-self-insert-hook
        'agls-check-word nil t)
    (remove-hook 'post-self-insert-hook
         'agls-check-word t)))

and the hooked function:

(defun agls-check-word ()
  "Check if the word is in the list"
  (if (= last-command-event 32)

The agls-parse-acn-file is pretty long but in pseudo-elisp reads like this:

(defun agls-parse-acn-file()
  ;while new-line
    ;extract keywords

simply opens a file by find-file-noselect, parse it, extract keywords and return a list. The conundrum is that, if populate the list as pointed by arrow the function in add-hook get called properly. If I use populate the list by calling the parse function, as I type in buffers with minor mode activate, nothing happens (agls-check-word is not called)

  • I don't understand what's the trouble in the question title. Does (agls-parse-acn-file) work? If agls-list doesn't change, you don't need to set its value every time the mode is turned on and off.
    – xuchunyang
    Apr 29, 2019 at 15:03
  • @xuchunyang, thanks for reply. The function you mentioned does work. The agls-list gets populated, however, when I activate the minor mode and type in buffer, agls-check-word function which is added to hook does not get called. If I use the comment line and set the list in the body of define-minor-mode and comment the call to agls-parse-acn-file, then everything goes fine.
    – Pouya
    Apr 29, 2019 at 15:17
  • You can use C-h v post-self-insert-hook to see if agls-check-word is added. Maybe during agls-parse-acn-file you change the current buffer? We usually use (with-temp-buffer (insert-file-contents "path/to/file") (parse-the-file)) to read a file, instead of find-file-noselect
    – xuchunyang
    Apr 29, 2019 at 15:39
  • @xuchunyang thanks a lot! That was exactly the problem. If you turn your comment into an answer I will gladly accept it. Cheers!
    – Pouya
    Apr 29, 2019 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


Base on the comments, you changed the current buffer during agls-parse-acn-file, you can use the following instead:

  (insert-file-contents "path/to/file")

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