Provided by: nmh_1.3-1build1_i386 bug

NAME

       mh-sequence - sequence specification for nmh message system

SYNOPSIS

       most nmh commands

DESCRIPTION

       A  sequence (or sequence set) is a symbolic name representing a message
       or  collection  of  messages.   nmh  has  several  internally   defined
       sequences, as well as allowing users to define their own sequences.

   Message Specification and Pre-Defined Message Sequences
       Most  nmh  commands accept a `msg' or `msgs' specification, where `msg'
       indicates one message and `msgs' indicates one or  more  messages.   To
       designate  a  message, you may use either its number (e.g., 1, 10, 234)
       or one of these "reserved" message names:

            Name      Description
            first     the first message in the folder
            last      the last message in the folder
            cur       the most recently accessed message
            prev      the message numerically preceding "cur"
            next      the message numerically following "cur"

       In commands that take a `msg' argument, the default  is  "cur".   As  a
       shorthand, "." is equivalent to "cur".

       For  example:  In a folder containing five messages numbered 5, 10, 94,
       177 and 325, "first" is 5 and "last" is 325.   If  "cur"  is  94,  then
       "prev" is 10 and "next" is 177.

       The  word  `msgs' indicates that one or more messages may be specified.
       Such a specification consists of one message designation or of  several
       message  designations  separated  by  spaces.   A  message  designation
       consists either of a message name as defined above, or a message range.

       A message range  is  specified  as  "name1-name2"  or  "name:n",  where
       `name', `name1' and `name2' are message names, and `n' is an integer.

       The  specification  "name1-name2"  designates  all  currently  existing
       messages from `name1' to `name2'  inclusive.   The  "reserved"  message
       name "all" is a shorthand for the message range "first-last".

       The  specification  "name:n"  designates  up  to  `n'  messages.  These
       messages start with `name' if `name' is a message number or one of  the
       reserved  names  "first" "cur", or "next", The messages end with `name'
       if `name' is "prev" or  "last".   The  interpretation  of  `n'  may  be
       overridden  by  preceding  `n'  with  a plus or minus sign; `+n' always
       means up to `n' messages starting with `name', and `-n' always means up
       to `n' messages ending with `name'.

       In commands which accept a `msgs' argument, the default is either "cur"
       or "all", depending on which makes more sense for each command (see the
       individual man pages for details).  Repeated specifications of the same
       message have the same effect as a single specification of the message.

       There is also a special "reserved" message name "new" which is used  by
       the mhpath command.

   User-Defined Message Sequences
       In  addition to the "reserved" (pre-defined) message names given above,
       nmh supports user-defined sequence names.  User-defined sequences allow
       the  nmh  user  a  tremendous amount of power in dealing with groups of
       messages in the same folder by allowing the user to  bind  a  group  of
       messages to a meaningful symbolic name.

       The  name  used  to  denote  a  message  sequence  must  consist  of an
       alphabetic character followed by zero or more alphanumeric  characters,
       and  can  not  be  one  of  the  "reserved" message names above.  After
       defining a sequence, it can be used wherever an nmh command  expects  a
       `msg' or `msgs' argument.

       Some  forms  of message ranges are allowed with user-defined sequences.
       The specification "name:n" may be used, and it  designates  up  to  the
       first  `n'  messages (or last `n' messages for `-n') which are elements
       of the user-defined sequence `name'.

       The specifications "name:next" and "name:prev" may also  be  used,  and
       they  designate  the  next or previous message (relative to the current
       message) which is an element of the user-defined sequence `name'.   The
       specifications  "name:first" and "name:last" are equivalent to "name:1"
       and "name:-1",  respectively.   The  specification  "name:cur"  is  not
       allowed  (use  just  "cur" instead).  The syntax of these message range
       specifications is subject to change in the future.

       User-defined sequence names are specific  to  each  folder.   They  are
       defined using the pick and mark commands.

   Public and Private User-Defined Sequences
       There  are two varieties of user-defined sequences: public and private.
       Public sequences of a folder are accessible to any nmh  user  that  can
       read  that folder.  They are kept in each folder in the file determined
       by  the  "mh-sequences"  profile  entry  (default  is   .mh_sequences).
       Private  sequences  are  accessible  only  to the nmh user that defined
       those sequences and are kept in the user's nmh context file.

       In general, the commands that create sequences (such as pick and  mark)
       will  create public sequences if the folder for which the sequences are
       being defined is writable by the nmh user.  For most commands, this can
       be  overridden  by using the switches -public and -private.  But if the
       folder is read-only, or if the "mh-sequences" profile entry is  defined
       but empty, then private sequences will be created instead.

   Sequence Negation
       Nmh provides the ability to select all messages not elements of a user-
       defined sequence.  To  do  this,  the  user  should  define  the  entry
       "Sequence-Negation"  in  the  nmh  profile  file;  its value may be any
       string.  This string is then used to preface an  existing  user-defined
       sequence  name.   This  specification then refers to those messages not
       elements of the specified sequence name.  For example, if  the  profile
       entry is:

            Sequence-Negation: not

       then  anytime  an  nmh  command  is given "notfoo" as a `msg' or `msgs'
       argument, it would substitute all messages that are not elements of the
       sequence "foo".

       Obviously, the user should beware of defining sequences with names that
       begin with the value of the "Sequence-Negation" profile entry.

   The Previous Sequence
       Nmh provides the ability to remember the `msgs' or `msg' argument  last
       given  to  an  nmh  command.   The  entry "Previous-Sequence" should be
       defined in the nmh profile; its value should  be  a  sequence  name  or
       multiple sequence names separated by spaces.  If this entry is defined,
       when when an nmh command finishes, it will define the sequence(s) named
       in  the value of this entry to be those messages that were specified to
       the command.  Hence, a profile entry of

            Previous-Sequence: pseq

       directs any nmh command that accepts a  `msg'  or  `msgs'  argument  to
       define the sequence "pseq" as those messages when it finishes.

       Note:   there   can   be   a   performance   penalty   in   using   the
       "Previous-Sequence" facility.  If it is used, all nmh programs have  to
       write the sequence information to the .mh_sequences file for the folder
       each time they run.  If the "Previous-Sequence" profile  entry  is  not
       included, only pick and mark will write to the .mh_sequences file.

   The Unseen Sequence
       Finally,  many  users  like  to  indicate  which messages have not been
       previously seen by them.  The commands inc, rcvstore, show, mhshow, and
       flist  honor  the  profile  entry  "Unseen-Sequence"  to  support  this
       activity.  This entry in the .mh_profile should be defined  as  one  or
       more  sequence  names  separated  by  spaces.   If there is a value for
       "Unseen-Sequence" in the profile, then whenever new messages are placed
       in  a  folder  (using  inc  or rcvstore), the new messages will also be
       added to all the sequences named in this profile entry.  For example, a
       profile entry of

            Unseen-Sequence: unseen

       directs  inc  to add new messages to the sequence "unseen".  Unlike the
       behavior of the "Previous-Sequence" entry in the profile, however,  the
       sequence(s) will not be zeroed by inc.

       Similarly,  whenever  show,  mhshow,  next, or prev displays a message,
       that  message  will  be  removed  from  any  sequences  named  by   the
       "Unseen-Sequence" entry in the profile.

FILES

       $HOME/.mh_profile          The user profile
       <mh-dir>/context           The user context
       <folder>/.mh_sequences     File for public sequences

PROFILE COMPONENTS

       mh-sequences:        Name of file to store public sequences
       Sequence-Negation:   To designate messages not in a sequence
       Previous-Sequence:   The last message specification given
       Unseen-Sequence:     Those messages not yet seen by the user

SEE ALSO

       flist(1), mark(1), pick(1), mh-profile(5)

DEFAULTS

       None