refresh, wrefresh, wnoutrefresh, doupdate, redrawwin, wre-
drawln - refresh curses windows and lines
int wrefresh(WINDOW *win);
int wnoutrefresh(WINDOW *win);
int redrawwin(WINDOW *win);
int wredrawln(WINDOW *win, int beg_line, int num_lines);
The refresh and wrefresh routines (or wnoutrefresh and
doupdate) must be called to get actual output to the ter-
minal, as other routines merely manipulate data struc-
tures. The routine wrefresh copies the named window to
the physical terminal screen, taking into account what is
already there in order to do optimizations. The refresh
routine is the same, using stdscr as the default window.
Unless leaveok has been enabled, the physical cursor of
the terminal is left at the location of the cursor for
The wnoutrefresh and doupdate routines allow multiple
updates with more efficiency than wrefresh alone. In
addition to all the window structures, curses keeps two
data structures representing the terminal screen: a physi-
cal screen, describing what is actually on the screen, and
a virtual screen, describing what the programmer wants to
have on the screen.
The routine wrefresh works by first calling wnoutrefresh,
which copies the named window to the virtual screen, and
then calling doupdate, which compares the virtual screen
to the physical screen and does the actual update. If the
programmer wishes to output several windows at once, a
series of calls to wrefresh results in alternating calls
to wnoutrefresh and doupdate, causing several bursts of
output to the screen. By first calling wnoutrefresh for
each window, it is then possible to call doupdate once,
resulting in only one burst of output, with fewer total
characters transmitted and less CPU time used. If the win
argument to wrefresh is the global variable curscr, the
screen is immediately cleared and repainted from scratch.
The phrase "copies the named window to the virtual screen"
above is ambiguous. What actually happens is that all
touched (changed) lines in the window are copied to the
virtual screen. This affects programs that use overlap-
ping windows; it means that if two windows overlap, you
see the section on PORTABILITY below for a warning about
exploiting this behavior.)
The wredrawln routine indicates to curses that some screen
lines are corrupted and should be thrown away before any-
thing is written over them it touches the indicated lines
(marking them changed) then does a refresh of the window.
The routine redrawwin() touches the entire window and then
Routines that return an integer return ERR upon failure,
and OK (SVr4 only specifies "an integer value other than
ERR") upon successful completion.
Note that refresh and redrawwin may be macros.
The XSI Curses standard, Issue 4 describes these func-
Whether wnoutrefresh() copies to the virtual screen the
entire contents of a window or just its changed portions
has never been well-documented in historic curses versions
(including SVr4). It might be unwise to rely on either
behavior in programs that might have to be linked with
other curses implementations. Instead, you can do an
explicit touchwin() before the wnoutrefresh() call to
guarantee an entire-contents copy anywhere.