Function Context


Under most circumstances, functions tend to be invoked within a window context. That means the set of commands within the function operate on a window. More importantly, the context it runs under goes as far as to dictate the window at the time the function was invoked.

It’s not enough to assume that because a window has the focus at the time of a function being called, that the window with the focus is the operand window. So for example, suppose you had a function that, when invoked, echoed the name of that window to FVWM’s logfile (typically ‘’~/.xsession-errors’’)

DestroyFunc FuncDisplayName
AddToFunc   FuncDisplayName
+ I Echo $[]

If you had for example ‘‘FocusFollowsMouse’’ (which is the same as ‘‘MouseFocus’’) as the default focus policy, and you had the root-window “focused”, then tried invoking ‘‘!FuncDisplayName’’, you’d realise that in the logfile you’d see:


… instead of the actual window name. This is because the function is being called outside of a window context – it doesn’t have an operand point to start from. And as the Echo command doesn’t require one, it just prints what it has been told verbatim.

The same things can happen when functions are called from a menu. Hence:

DestroyMenu MenuSomeMenu
AddToMenu   MenuSomeMenu CallMyFunction FuncDisplayName
Popup MenuSomeMenu

The function (if invoked outside of a window context) would be trying to call a function itself not in a window context.

You will also see various references to ThisWindow. ‘‘ThisWindow’’ operates on a given window with set conditions. By default it is not necessarily the window that has the focus. But it can be applied to windows which do. So for instance, the use of ThisWindow is useful when using FvwmEvent on add_window or configure_window events, where the window(s) you want to use do not have the focus.


Ensuring commands or functions run within the intended context can be achieved in a few ways. In the case of the example ‘‘!FuncDisplayName’’ the use of Current to force the window with the focus can be used to imply a window context, hence:

DestroyFunc FuncDisplayName
AddToFunc   FuncDisplayName
+ I Current Echo $[]

But what if there were more commands in the function than just a simple Echo statement, such as:

DestroyFunc FuncDisplayName
AddToFunc   FuncDisplayName
+ I Current Echo $[]
+ I Raise
+ I Move

At each statement, the commands Raise and Move would need a given context. You could prepend Current in front of them, however, doing so could be considered counter-productive. What if you didn’t always want the current focused window to be the window to receive the function’s attention?

This is where the Pick command comes in useful. That will force a context on a command or function if it isn’t already running in one. If it is, then it runs normally. This is especially useful where (in the case of the !FuncDisplayName above) there’s lots of commands each themselves requiring some form of context. Hence:

Pick FuncDisplayName