The printw, wprintw, mvprintw and mvwprintw routines are analogous to
printf [see printf(3)]. In effect, the string that would be output
by printf is output instead as though waddstr were used on the given
The vwprintw and vw_printw routines are analogous to vprintf [see
printf(3)] and perform a wprintw using a variable argument list. The
third argument is a va_list, a pointer to a list of arguments, as
defined in <stdarg.h>.
Routines that return an integer return ERR upon failure and OK (SVr4
only specifies "an integer value other than ERR") upon successful
X/Open defines no error conditions. In this implementation, an error
may be returned if it cannot allocate enough memory for the buffer
used to format the results. It will return an error if the window
pointer is null.
Functions with a “mv” prefix first perform a cursor movement using
wmove, and return an error if the position is outside the window, or
if the window pointer is null.
While printw was implemented in 4BSD, it was unused until 4.2BSD
(which used it in games). That early version of curses was before
the ANSI C standard. It did not use <varargs.h>, though that was
available. In 1991 (a couple of years after SVr4 was generally
available, and after the C standard was published), other developers
updated the library, using <stdarg.h> internally in 4.4BSD curses.
Even with this improvement, BSD curses did not use function
prototypes (or even declare functions) in the <curses.h> header until
SVr2 documented printw, wprintw tersely as “printf on stdscr” and
tersely as “printf on win”, respectively.
SVr3 added mvprintw, and mvwprintw, with a three-line summary saying
that they were analogous to printf(3), explaining that the string
which would be output from printf(3) would instead be output using
waddstr on the given window. SVr3 also added vwprintw, saying that
the third parameter is a va_list, defined in <varargs.h>, and
referring the reader to the manual pages for varargs and vprintf for
SVr4 added no new variations of printw, but provided for using
<varargs.h> or <stdarg.h> to define the va_list type.
X/Open Curses added vw_printw to replace vwprintw, stating that its
va_list definition requires <stdarg.h>.
In this implementation, vw_printw and vwprintw are equivalent, to
support legacy applications. However, the latter (vwprintw) is
· The XSI Curses standard, Issue 4 described these functions. The
function vwprintw is marked TO BE WITHDRAWN, and is to be
replaced by a function vw_printw using the <stdarg.h> interface.
· The Single Unix Specification, Version 2 states that vw_printw
is preferred to vwprintw since the latter requires including
<varargs.h>, which cannot be used in the same file as <stdarg.h>.
This implementation uses <stdarg.h> for both, because that header
is included in <curses.h>.
· X/Open Curses, Issue 5 (December 2007) marked vwprintw (along
with vwscanw and the termcap interface) as withdrawn.
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