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12.1.4 Counting Positions, Lines, and Columns

By default, Racket keeps track of the position in a port as the number of bytes that have been read from or written to any port (independent of the read/write position, which is accessed or changed with file-position). Optionally, however, Racket can track the position in terms of characters (after UTF-8 decoding), instead of bytes, and it can track line locations and column locations; this optional tracking must be specifically enabled for a port via port-count-lines! or the port-count-lines-enabled parameter. Position, line, and column locations for a port are used by read-syntax and read-honu-syntax. Position and line locations are numbered from 1; column locations are numbered from 0.

When counting lines, Racket treats linefeed, return, and return-linefeed combinations as a line terminator and as a single position (on all platforms). Each tab advances the column count to one before the next multiple of 8. When a sequence of bytes in the range 128 to 253 forms a UTF-8 encoding of a character, the position/column is incremented is incremented once for each byte, and then decremented appropriately when a complete encoding sequence is discovered. See also Ports for more information on UTF-8 decoding for ports.

A position is known for any port as long as its value can be expressed as a fixnum (which is more than enough tracking for realistic applications in, say, syntax-error reporting). If the position for a port exceeds the value of the largest fixnum, then the position for the port becomes unknown, and line and column tacking is disabled. Return-linefeed combinations are treated as a single character position only when line and column counting is enabled.

(port-count-lines! port)  void?
  port : port?
Turns on line and column counting for a port. Counting can be turned on at any time, though generally it is turned on before any data is read from or written to a port. When a port is created, if the value of the port-count-lines-enabled parameter is true, then line counting is automatically enabled for the port. Line counting cannot be disabled for a port after it is enabled.

Returns three values: an integer or #f for the line number of the next read/written item, an integer or #f for the next item’s column, and an integer or #f for the next item’s position. The next column and position normally increases as bytes are read from or written to the port, but if line/character counting is enabled for port, the column and position results can decrease after reading or writing a byte that ends a UTF-8 encoding sequence.

A parameter that determines whether line counting is enabled automatically for newly created ports. The default value is #f.