If you want to highlight long lines you can use whitespace-mode:

    (setq whitespace-style '(lines))
    (setq whitespace-line-column 78)
    (global-whitespace-mode 1)

whitespace-mode can also highlight other nasty things:

    (setq whitespace-style '(tabs trailing lines tab-mark))

Or you can write some elisp code:

        1 font-lock-warning-face prepend)))

The first parameter indicates the major mode in which this setting should be enabled. You can use ‘c-mode’, ‘java-mode’, etc.

The first part of the RegularExpression, "^[^\n]\\{80\\}", matches any 80 non-newline characters at the beginning of a line. The first group in parentheses matches the 81st character and all remaining characters. The digit 1 tells font-lock to fontify the first group. ‘font-lock-warning-face’ is the Face to use. The ‘prepend’ parameter tells font-lock to use this as the most important rule. Therefore even lines that are highlighted as comments will have the warning face on every character after the 81st.

Note that this will not take the width of TAB characters into account. (See EightyColumnRule for a way to do that)

Here’s what I did:

(defvar bline-minor-mode-font-lock-keywords
  ;; cf. `whitespace-color-on'
    (let ((line-column (or whitespace-line-column fill-column)))
       (1- whitespace-tab-width)
       (/ line-column whitespace-tab-width)
       (let ((rem (% line-column whitespace-tab-width)))
         (if (zerop rem)
           (format ".\\{%d\\}" rem)))))
    (if t   ; was: (memq 'lines whitespace-active-style)
        0   ; whole line
      2)    ; line tail
    whitespace-line t)))

(define-minor-mode bline-minor-mode "Overlong lines can make you blined."
  nil nil nil
  (if bline-minor-mode
      (font-lock-add-keywords nil bline-minor-mode-font-lock-keywords t)
    (font-lock-remove-keywords nil bline-minor-mode-font-lock-keywords))
  (font-lock-mode 1))

(defun bline-minor-mode--insin ()
  (add-hook 'after-change-functions 'bline-minor-mode--uate nil t))

(defun bline-minor-mode--uate (&rest ignore)
  (bline-minor-mode 1)
  (remove-hook 'after-change-functions 'bline-minor-mode--uate t))

(add-hook 'prog-mode-hook 'bline-minor-mode--insin)

(Some commentary for those so inclined: I like the way ‘whitespace-mode’ highlights long lines (i.e., I like it much better than the various column marker solutions, because sometimes the column is off the screen etc., in short I want the whole line highlighted), but I like to keep that mode for more heavy-weight whitespace checks and cleanup, so I don’t want to mess with ‘whitespace-style’ settings. So I just took the appropriate font-lock definition and put it into a standalone minor mode, and with some hookery made it so that the mode is only auto-activated when I actually edit the buffer, so it doesn’t bother me when inspecting some UGLY CODE WRITTEN BY PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW THAT EXCEEDING 80 COLUMNS WILL MAKE THEM BLINED!

Foam-at-mouthy yours, Štěpán

Oh, and the (font-lock-mode 1) is there because otherwise the ‘font-lock-keywords’ changes wouldn’t take effect. That’s the one thing I’d be interested in hearing better solutions for. Major headache, this ‘font-lock-mode’.)

See also MarginMode, ColumnMarker, EightyColumnRule

CategoryDotEmacs CategoryFilling