Structure Type Properties provides more information on structure type properties.
The procedure for a prop:custom-write value takes three arguments: the structure to be printed, the target port, and a boolean that is #t for write mode and #f for display mode. The procedure should print the value to the given port using write, display, fprintf, write-special, etc.
The write handler, display handler, and print handler are specially configured for a port given to a custom-write procedure. Printing to the port through display, write, or print prints a value recursively with sharing annotations. To avoid a recursive print (i.e., to print without regard to sharing with a value currently being printed), print instead to a string or pipe and transfer the result to the target port using write-string and write-special. To recursively print but to a port other than the one given to the custom-write procedure, copy the given port’s write handler, display handler, and print handler to the other port.
The port given to a custom-write handler is not necessarily the actual target port. In particular, to detect cycles and sharing, the printer invokes a custom-write procedure with a port that records recursive prints, and does not retain any other output.
Recursive print operations may trigger an escape from the call to the custom-write procedure (e.g., for pretty-printing where a tentative print attempt overflows the line, or for printing error output of a limited width).
The following example definition of a tuple type includes custom-write procedures that print the tuple’s list content using angle brackets in write mode and no brackets in display mode. Elements of the tuple are printed recursively, so that graph and cycle structure can be represented.
|> (display (make-tuple #(1 2 "a")))|
1, 2, a
#0=<#0#, 2, "a">